Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Concordia host the Alliance General Assembly

After lots of planning, discussions, and organising The Concordia team set off with excitement on 1st November 2011 to host the General Assemble (GA) and staff training at the YMCA Fairthorne Manor in Botley, Southampton.

Concordia is part of the Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organisations which organises a three day GA every year, held the first week of November. The purpose of this meeting is for all partner organisations to share ideas, vote on new policies and procedures and discuss the future developments of the Alliance.

With 76 people arriving from 24 different countries on the 1st to attend a staff training we were straight into the madness of collecting people from the train station and organising the week ahead of us.

The two day staff training allowed new and experience staff to update skills and develop ideas and strategies for engaging and motivating volunteers within their organisations. The GA officially started on Friday 4th November – though it didn’t start the way we expected - waking up to find that the main room where the assembly was being held looked more like an indoor swimming pool than a conference because of a huge storm. This meant that all hands were on deck hoovering, mopping and bucketing up all the water so that the anticipated GA could start :)

Once the madness of the morning was over – everyone was settled and had voting cards at the ready to agree and discuss new ideas and polices for 2012. We elected a new President, Additional member, Vice President of external relations and Treasurer to the Alliance External Committee and welcomed 5 new organisations to be part of the family that is the Alliance.

Of course no conference would be complete without a little fun and it was a great chance to make new friends from around the world and catch up with old ones, enjoy some local beer at a traditional English pub, celebrate 5th November with a big bonfire and toasted marshmellows and have a chance to taste some exotic and interesting food and drink from around the world.

This year was also a time to celebrate as 2011 is the European year of volunteering and the International year of the volunteer+10. The Alliance ran a very inspiring and successful campaign to raise awareness of volunteering with a flag travelling around the world visiting 22 Countries and 25 organisations. The story finished with Thomas from Germany cycling over 1000KM from Berlin to Southampton cycling with the flag for sustainable volunteering. The whole tour flag depicted the motivation, inspiration, and passion that the whole Alliance have towards volunteering, and although being many miles away from each other it was something that underlined the fact that having a common goal can mean you can achieve something great!

Being only my second GA and being part of hosting this week long event – nothing could have prepared me for this exhilarating, exhausting, fun and productive experience. I found the whole experience such an inspiring and fulfilling week and a great way to end the busy year of voluntary service.


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