By David McAdam - YMCA Paisley, Scotland
Ok, where to start...when arriving in Budapest, I was both nervous and excited as to what was going to unfold over the week. At the start, we were all a bit shy in letting our true selves out but that didn't take long. In the space of a day, we were talking and laughing with each other like we'd known each other for ages. Regardless of our backgrounds, situations and experiences the thing that unites us is that we were all there for the same purpose – to empower young people and bring peace into the digital projects we do. From this, there was an underlying respect and love for one other of which makes me feel comfortable from the first few hours of meeting. This is a feeling I've yet to experience anywhere else.
Every session was informative to me in some degree in relating to projects through my local and national YMCA, and in picking up useful methods in how to promote these projects online to a wider audience. From the breakdown of branding from the Communications Branding Manager from YMCA England & Wales, the sharing of the project model at the start of the week delivered by Vardan, sharing of 'best practices' from other local and national YMCA's plus lots more.
With every day, there was chances to deliver feedback on the days activities and in work in small groups to discuss each other’s situations and the YMCA's of which they work in, hone in on delivering new projects and practicing what has been taught to us.
The thing that really hit home for me during the small groups was some of the harsh realities that other countries face of which their YMCA's abide in such as war, mass poverty, having no YMCA government backing etc. Apart from this being an opportunity to gain insight on how these YMCA's overcome these hurdles, it has humbled me in seeing how fortunate YMCA's within my country are in comparison to them.
From the week, I would say I have gained a better insight in how to market projects, further insight into the branding of them and taking tips from other YMCA's in the way they use social media, plan events and the sources they use in order to make it a success. I came into the week with no expectation but to gain a bit of insight, but i've returned home with so much more than that. From potential close friendships, best practices, new project ideas and inspiration...the list can go on.
This was a week that will be with me forever in more ways than one. Thank you everyone for making it the experience it was.