“As a group, we have discussed how fantastic the workshops and group work was to be a part of.
Learning about the different countries and cultures and how individuals view diversity and democracy. The country presentations where very eye opening and gave everyone a broader idea of each countries stance alongside the individual ideas. For example Britain spoke about the different political party’s that we have and what difficulties they face day to day, whereas the Ukraine are still at conflict and certain areas are like war zones. This made everyone see their own countries in different lights. The work we did as mixed groups where very beneficial – getting to know people from different countries on a personal level and making great friendships was one of the main things I will be taking away with me.
One particular part of the trip our group thoroughly enjoyed was the trip to the European Parliament. We all found it very insightful and interesting to learn about the process of European law and how it affects members of the European Union. It certainly raised our interest in European politics and inspired us to take interest in active involvement within this.
The official opening of the exhibition was wonderful. It was amazing to see everyone’s hard work and efforts come together. It was also really interesting to see the images each nation had chosen to represent their countries democracy and diversity, which meant each participant was awarded and insight in to the lives of others.
Finally, I believe it is important to consider the overall effect the project had on our group. Every single member was affected in an extremely positive way and we all learnt a lot in regards to democracy and diversity across Europe. Furthermore, a large portion of our group admitted the trip broadened their perceptions of the work the YMCA does massively, leading to some members hoping for more involvement in future activities at both a global and national level. Overall, it was an absolutely fantastic opportunity for each and every one of us. it enabled us to learn a lot, create fantastic relationships with people from all across Europe and really feel part of the YMCA family. Although, one of the best ways in which the trip has affected our group has to be the sense of empowerment our team felt, it really was a life changing trip! “
Lucy and Beth, 22, YMCA Bolton
My Name is Ben and I am 22 years old and
have been unemployed since leaving school
and have not been able to gain employment.
I am currently staying in accommodation at the
YMCA in Accrington and have been there now for
just over a Year.
I recently found out about Bolton YMCA through a partnership organisation who told me about international work experience abroad going ahead with Bolton YMCA. I took part in the opportunity I found it really rewarding and wanted to get involved in more opportunities and one of the workers told me about a project coming up called The Learning Cafe and how this could also lead to another opportunity internationally.
I signed up for The Learning Cafe as I through it would be good for me to improve my confident, have the chance to go on another trip and improve on my leadership skills. I also hope for it to help me look into trying to gain employment working as a youth worker as this is a job I am particular interested in.
I attended The Learning Cafe where I worked on the skills and was able to take part in a trip to Bulgaria completing work experience. I also created my CV through a CV Sessions, took part in team building exercises and learned interview techniques and now I feel more comfortable applying for jobs/training opportunities.
This work experience abroad allowed me to gain more confidence, skills and knowledge. I was able to improve on my team work and leadership skills and now have experience working with Young People and it should stand me in good stead for a future in Youth Work.
I now feel I have a better my chances of finding employment. I would recommend The Learning Cafe and the international volunteering. I have now enrolled on another “Talent Match” which is being run through Bolton YMCA and now been completing job applications and hope you gain employment soon.
I am Liam and I am 22 years old and want to change
the world, I have never worked and want to do
positive things with my time to make a difference.
I have been involved in the YMCA through the Talent Match programme since June and this has given me opportunities to volunteer within the YMCA and take part in a international project to Romania which build up my confidence and allowed me to achieve. From being a part of the YMCA a found out about the learning cafe and wanted to attend.
My time on the learning cafe I learnt to be part of a team and I’ve also learnt:
-team building skills
-problem solving skills
I think that I’m more than ever ready to volunteer and im in a better place now having completed the learning cafe.
The learning cafe gave me another opportunity to go abroad to Bulgaria. I believe that the skills I have possessed from my first project and the learning cafe has helped me complete the Bulgaria project.
I have gained more confidence in changing the world and will carry on volunteering and will not stop until it has changed.
Chris Kent: A Thank You Message to Bolton YMCA
I want to say a massive ‘thank you’ for the past five years to all the staff, volunteers and members at Bolton YMCA, especially Chris Bailey, Kim and Michael. The time I have spent at the YMCA has really helped me develop as a person, and I believe that the support and encouragement I have been given has meant that I have matured and grown up in time for life at University.
The advice and opportunities that I was given helped me to focus on my ambitions and made me believe that I could achieve my ambitions. Now I am in Cambridge I have been going to the local YMCA as a volunteer to try and pay back some of the debt that I owe you all, and when I’m back in Bolton in the foreseeable future, I will make sure that I come and put in time as a volunteer to try and inspire other young people who might be facing the same issues that I faced as a teenager.
I have really missed you guys, and have found it pretty difficult to get out of the routine of going down to the youth club on a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights. The Basement was like a second home to me and I always found a welcome and someone to talk to.
Thank you all, again, so much. I’ll definitely be back in as soon as possible … and then you’ll be stuck with me all summer !
You’ve helped me become who I am today.