Today was a special day because young people from Malta, Romania and Italy came together to kickstart the fourth part of OWLS project. 22 participants are sharing their experiences about their involvement in Catholic Action at the ZAK House premises Malta. After a short introduction led by one of the leaders, the participants got to know each other better through ice breakers. The morning workshop helped the participants understand the backgrounds and their roles within Catholic Action. After, the participants celebrated Mass together animated by the Italian group. After a delicious lunch, the group explored several concepts, represented in a wooden house, showing the participants’ experiences and ideas of the Catholic Action. Lastly, an International Evening with the typical food and traditions from each country was held.
The first thing of the morning was mass celebration. This was followed by energisers prepared by the Italian Group. After that, we had Rosanne Buhagiar, the ŻAK President, who delivered a workshop about children and young people stages of cognitive development to understand different young people behaviour at different ages which can help youth leaders, educators or animators in their journey with them. In the afternoon, a husband and a wife shared an emotional and inspiring experience of their child who has autism. They highlighted the challenges that they had which they converted them into opportunities to love her and each other more. We linked this aspect with the challenges we face when dealing with people that have different needs and abilities. A discussion was carried out to see ways to include and accept more everyone.
Day three started off with exploring success and failure from the Christian perspective. Fr Mark Ciantar was the main guest speaker. The delivery of the workshop was very informative and practical, and it appealed to our needs and interests as youth leaders within Catholic Action. Fr Mark helped us to question the concept of success and failure and showed us that the Bible is a great tool to use to change the world and to live a good life. He made us aware that the World needs trustworthy leaders and encouraged us to take this call. Some comments that we reflected on were:
- How someone can be happy because of someone else’s happiness How we should help our young people to discover God’s love
- The importance of being available and present for young people so that we can catch these moments where they need to be heard.
- How we as leaders need to contemplate and reflect
The afternoon continued the same concepts; our successes and failures. Marvic Debono and Joe Teuma were the speakers that helped us to acknowledge and reflect on our failures and wisdom. They encouraged us to not give up when we fail but to see what we can learn in order to move on and be of a good example for the young people in our groups.
This morning we had the last informative session by Professor Adrian Gellel. He explored the subject of acknowledging and validating non-formal and informal learning of youth leaders in the church.
We, as youth leaders, develop communities not social groups as we provide the space for an individual to grow and learn in this community. We discussed several theories that help us see the journey our members go through. The importance of developing these positive aspects of youth development:
5 Cs: Competence, Confidence, Character, Caring – Compassion, Connection which altogether lead to CONTRIBUTION in the community and society.
After lunch, we had a session about the evaluation of the programme where everyone expressed in writing his thoughts and feedback. We finished off by completing the Youthpass Certificate which recognises the learning outcomes from youth work and solidarity activities. OWLS is a project funded by Erasmus+