BMCHK Volunteer Academy 2023

In the period September 4-10, the traditional for the Bulgarian Youth Red Cross - Summer Academy for volunteers took place. This year, more than 75 participants from all over the country took part in it, and the event was held in the village of Ravda, Burgas region.

The modules in which the volunteers could take part were "Leadership and teamwork", "Active inclusion in a social environment" and "Humanitarian education".

For the first time this year, the "Leadership and Teamwork" module had the task of preparing a handbook that would include topics related to the development of leadership qualities and skills within the organization and beyond. Some of the topics that will be included in the manual are related to recruiting and motivating volunteers, organizing and planning activities, working with partners and positioning, as well as those related to presentation skills and dealing with stress and conflicts. During the Academy, the volunteers had the opportunity to develop the topics together with Steli Jambazova - chairman of the BMCHK and Lora Fuchedzhieva - deputy-chairman of the BMCHK.

The other two modules were of an educational nature. In addition to the existing programs and topics included in the "Active inclusion in the social environment" handbook, this year for the first time two new and original programs for BMCHK - "Ecology and environmental protection" and "Critical thinking and digital and media" were presented literacy'. The volunteers had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with both topics and go in depth with the help of various games, case studies and discussions. During the sessions, the volunteers looked at the ethical boundaries of working with children, the various social services and gained experience in organizing training at the local level. The trainers were Tolga Mehmedov - a member of the Executive Board of the BMCHK, Todor Pantileev - a member of the BMCHK Executive Board, as well as Simeon Dimitrov - a long-time volunteer of the BMCHK.

Participants in the Humanities Education module had the opportunity to learn about some of the most pressing issues such as discrimination and violence, and learned about stereotypes and prejudice through various games, case studies and exercises . In some of the training sessions, the volunteers came up with new and innovative ways to convey the information to their peers. The training team was made up of Tatiana Valcheva - BMCHK Compliance Advisor, Anna Koleva - BMCHK-Ruse volunteer and Ralitsa Petkova - BMCHK-Sliven volunteer.

As in previous years, volunteers had the opportunity to participate in workshops on various topics. One of the workshops was led by Viktor Tsvetkov - metropolitan coordinator, Niya Gogusheva - regional coordinator of BMCHK-Blagoevgrad and Yana Ilarionova - regional coordinator of BMCHK-Ruse. The three volunteers took part in an International Friendship Camp organized by the Austrian Youth Red Cross in July and presented the topic of Mental Health to the volunteers of the BMCHK. The other workshop was led by Todor Pantileev and was related to fake news, how to recognize it and how to deal with disinformation.