So today my ‘Team v’ program started officially and I can’t wait to share what happened! Firstly, I would like to say I will use this blog (my personal blog) to share my Team v journey with you all, from the beginning (September 2014) to the end (May 2015). Stay tuned!
To begin with, I suppose that many of you wonder what does ‘Team v’ mean, don’t you? I better explain it! ‘Team v’ is a leadership program ran by the British charity ‘Vinspired’, through which young volunteers are able to carry out a social action campaigns/projects in their communities, with the help of mentors and coordinators. As a Team v Leader, you get:
- The skills and confidence to design, lead and deliver social action projects
- To develop your ability to engage, educate and support local communities
- To reach your leadership potential
- Support to develop a network of peers and professionals, as well as gain essential skills for work
- The chance to develop your confidence, leaving you ready to tackle your next challenge – whatever that may be
- Training, residentials, campaign budgets and expenses paid for
I applied to become a ‘Team v’ leader in the summer, after reading various tweets about the ‘Team v’ program and checking a few videos about it. I thought that it would be a great way of learning to be a leader within group, since I have always been a follower. Moreover, I believed that my confidence would be enhanced because of the program, as well as my personal and professional skills. And lastly, the main reason why I wanted to be a ‘Team v’ leader is because I like to be involved within a community and make a difference. I have volunteered quite a lot of times, I like to be involved in social action projects to help others and I’m very devoted to activist/philanthropic topics (something noticeable by one of my other blogs, Chronicles of a Rhacei Soul). I believe in a better world and I think that you need to move and act in order to achieve improvement withing society. And ‘Team v’ looked like a great opportunity to do all this!
As you can imagine, my application was successful and so was my interview. I was BUZZING when I received this email (I have to admit that I was terrified too, because I realised I was part of a very big project and its success would rely a lot on me!)
Apart from getting an email confirming my successful interview, I also got a email about attending a ‘Warm Up’ day, which is what happened today, 13th of September!
I woke up quite early in the morning and I got on a train towards London from the town near where I live. During the journey, I was feeling very restless and thrilled about what was going to happen in the following hours (I have issues sleeping whenever I’m starting a new adventure, I don’t know why). Travelling to and moving around London was easier than I thought and I arrived to the place much earlier than planned (I could have slept for more minutes, but oh well. Better early than late!). I found the venue for the ‘Warm Up’ day quite easily, it was just within a few meters of the tube station exit!
When I entered the building of the venue, I was directed to a ground floor, in which, after being introduced to my coordinator and receiving a goodies bag, I socialised with another ‘Team v’ leaders through a bingo styled game. I didn’t manage to complete it, but it was fun and interesting talking to others and knowing more about the people who would share the same journey as me during the following months (and that was the aim of the game, so actually, I kinda did complete it)!
After some minutes of chatting, we were all guided into a big room in which we were shown a presentation about what is the ‘Team v’ program, who were going to be our coordinators and mentors, and another useful information related to the project. The mentors and coordinators managed to make the presentation easygoing, amusing and enlightening, something that made me feel comfortable and less anxious. In contrary, my excitement grew as I heard about the mentors stories and about the program itself (below you can find a picture of the mentors while they were answering our queries about the program; hopefully, after seeing it, you understand why I felt less tense).
After the presentation, it was lunch time. The food in the venue was so nice! Just have a look at these delicious pictures…
(My lunch: I tried a bit of different things because everything looked so tasty, I couldn’t decide a single dinner!)
(My dessert! The taste was as good as it actually looks!)
I must point that the ‘Warm Up’ venue was very cozy, elegant and beautiful, with a state-of-art touch. I didn’t expect such a superb building to be honest: the place seemed of very good quality and it did have a very good service. I liked it a lot and I couldn’t stop taking pictures (here are some shots).
In spite of the amazingly furbished dinner place, my favourite aspect of the venue was actually the toilets (yes, you read well!), because of THIS!:
For some weird reason, these mirrors typical of artists’s dressing room amazed and captivated me! I obviously tried to take a few ‘Beyonce-type’ selfies, but it didn’t worked out that well… I mean…
(Probably because I’m not Beyonce)
Anyway, let’s go back to the important aspects of ‘Warm Up’ day! After lunch, ‘Team v’ leaders we were divided in groups (depending on the place of England in which we lived eg. Midlands, North London, The East…) and we had two training sessions with our designated youth network coordinators: a public narrative session and a volunteering recruitment session. Both of them were very useful and informative.
Personally, I enjoyed the public narrative training the most because I’m a person who struggles and hates talking in front of people, but at the same time, has a lot of things to say and a wide range of opinions to be heard. Therefore, the public narrative session not only gave me some guidance on how to speak to others and engage them in my stories: it also gave me confidence and a sense of security to talk in front of an audience and getting my ideas across. Now, I just need to try out doing this.
On the other hand, I also liked the volunteering recruitment training session, because it gave me some advice and ideas about how to recruit my own group of volunteers to deliver campaigns in my community,something I will do later on this year. I think that recruiting and leading volunteers are going to be the hardest parts of the whole ‘Team V’ program, due to my confidence issues and my lack of experience leading and managing others. However, I can’t just step back and give up: I have to try and do my best. If not, I will never overcome my confidence issues and I will never get experience leading and managing others.
I will begin recruiting volunteers in my social circles through Facebook. If that doesn’t work, I will have to promote the project in my college and in other suitable places of my area that may be visited and used frequently by young people. Anyway, there is a wide range of ways of doing it, so I should be fine.
The ‘Warm Up’ day concluded after these two training sessions, with a brief goodbye talk from ‘Team v’s’ staff members! At the end of the whole day, I did no longer feel scared about the program, because I had received a bit of guidance on how to do it and I knew I wouldn’t be left on my own. However, I still felt excited. Now I’m anxious about the first residential on October, in which I will receive more training before delivering the first campaign of the year! I can’t wait to meet other Team v leaders again and to know the campaigns I will be running. By the moment, I have to focus on recruiting volunteers and mapping my area, two things I will be doing in the following weeks. Don’t worry, I will keep you updated of all my steps through this blog, so keep and eye if you want to know more (add this site to your bookmarks or/and follow me in twitter, @BitxiBitxina,for live updates of my progress).
On conclusion, this is the beginning of an exciting journey and I can’t wait for more! Meeting new people, learning new skills, strengthening my networks, delivering campaigns, making a change in my community… So many things are happening in the following months. It is going to require a lot of enthusiasm and hard work from my part, but I’m ready to take this challenge. The only thing certain right now is that I won’t be the same person (intellectually, socially and emotionally wise) when I finish the Team v program. And that is scary risk… but a intriguing challenge.
Hugs and love,
Emilie H. Featherington 🙂 ❤