All aboard the mentorship - TC in Prilep

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Three volunteers of the Green Sun Association of Kézdivásárhely (Targu Secuiesc), Henrietta Sebestyén, Emese Kis, and Erzsébet-Zsuzsanna Szabó, participated in a volunteer mentor training in North Macedonia between 16 - 22 August 2021, where they represented Romania among the twenty-six members of the six invited countries (Greece, Poland, Italy, Portugal, Romania, and North Macedonia). The Erasmus+ program "All aboard the mentorship" was organized by the European Commission and the Macedonian National Agency for the European Programme for Education and Mobility in Prilep. Photos of the event can be found on the association's Facebook page.

One of the main objectives of the training, as set by the organizers, was to provide central support and development, professional experience to the participants of the program, to enable them to effectively carry out mentoring and support work in their respective organizations in the future. The six days of training on mentoring, within the framework of the project, provided an opportunity to develop different skills and attitudes, to learn, and to enrich the methodological toolboxes of the young volunteers and their mentors present. The daily program course was based exclusively on learning objectives, guided by experienced trainers, where the participants acquired methods that will greatly contribute to the promotion of personal initiative, creativity, language, and self-awareness, which can have a direct impact on future youth activities, such as the organization of quality projects, and can also facilitate intercultural and non-formal learning experiences for young people. At the same time, the open-mindedness of the organizers deserves special mention, as they created the opportunity for an intercultural evening, where the participants from the six countries presented their countries and customs, which was followed by savoring unique snacks and drinks of the different nations.

All three participants came home with a wealth of experience, having also mastered the general objectives of the project, which included clarifying the role of the mentor, developing problem-solving skills, improving awareness of the learning process (involving volunteers and mentors), modernizing the various tools and methods for mentors, understanding their tasks and importance, and improving the motivation of volunteers. In addition, the activities provided space for sharing experiences and effective simulation practices, presentations, researches which were summarised and presented by the participants, as a final chord at the end of the day's activities, in six different ESC project ideas in a Mentor Guidebook for mentors created in an online space.

Those who were interested in the local specialties and the beauty of nature, took advantage of the early morning and late evening hours to visit one of Macedonia's most beautiful and important cultural and religious centers, the Monastery of St Michael the Archangel, built in the magnificent granite rock above Prilep, visit the city in the evening light and hike to the remains of King Marko's medieval fortress on Markov Kuli hill.

All in all, the guests enjoyed a wealth of experiences, recharging their batteries, but also a lot of professional experience and meaningful activities.

This time, the participants thank the Green Sun Association of Targu Secuiesc, the National Agency of the Macedonian European Education and Mobility Programme for the high level of organization, the warm hospitality, the instructors for the professional knowledge, experience, and patience shared, as well as for the opportunity to participate in the program. The project was co-funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ program.

Author: Szabó Zsuzsanna- Erzsébet