Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Group Coordinator's story: School and Eco Festival project - Ed Steele 2017

Ed with his first international volunteer group in Cornwall (Trythall School Project)
During this summer I co-ordinated 2 Concordia projects. These were small groups of around 7-8 volunteers from around the world, we lived and worked together for around 2 weeks. Bonding with a group of strangers who became friends and working together to do really valuable work for communities was a fantastic experience a one I cannot undersell, if you are at all curious about co-ordinating I highly recommend trying it.

The first was in Cornwall improving a school that prioritized outdoor education and creative learning. Discovering the beautiful countryside around Penzance including its coves, beaches and ancient Celtic standing stones was unforgettable. The work included building a rabbit proof fence to defend the school’s poly-tunnel, clearing out weeds and replanting some exotic plants. The school had a friendly collection of animals including Lambs, Hens and a somewhat disheveled cockerel. One of the highlights was appearing as a giant Kraken carnival float in the school’s end of year play, and enjoying a rural Fayre.    

The second project was working at an environmental festival in Worcestershire, mainly deconstructing the marquees that constituted the site. The festival itself was staffed by some dozens of young volunteers who (alongside the Concrodia volunteers) made the festival a really fun place. Before deconstruction we worked at a animal themed fancy dress wedding, and joined in the festivities along with a guests- a memorable experience for sure! Other highlights were the wonderful healthy organic (and often locally sourced) food, as well as the musical entertainments in the evenings and a lovely collaborative atmosphere on the camp.

Ed's second group at the eco-festival Green and Away

Aside from the work seeing different people all coming together to have fun and learn about each other’s culture is one of the best things about co-ordinating. This was a fantastic learning experience that can translate to so many other aspects of life. In addition seeing your own country through new eyes is a surprisingly interesting, as is learning about what people from other countries are really like. Without Concordia there are so many countries that I would know no-one from, and this bringing together of people is one of the most best things about Concordia.

Volunteers enjoying Green and Away eco-festival

(Ed Steele, Concordia Group Coordinator, Trythall School and Green and Away, Summer 2018)

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