Hidden in the Velebit mountain range, the Kuterevo Bear Refuge (Croatia) welcomed us – a group of 20 volunteers coming from different countries (Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, Greece, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Germany and France) – for the Kuterevo Camp Coordinator Training. Through this training, our awesome trainers Đurđica Valadžija and Nevena Sićević prepared us to coordinate international workcamps and get knowledge about volunteering, SCI (Service Civil International) and group leadership using many fun, participatory and active ways (energizers, role play, drawings, groups reflections, etc). More specifically, we discussed diverse essential topics such as concept and philosophy of volunteering, our motivation and expectations, group dynamics, concept of intercultural learning, the role of the leader and the different coordination styles, conflict management, peace message of the workcamps, and sustainability in the workcamp. But more than that, the training offered us the chance to create new friendships with people from different cultures and backgrounds, learn more about bear conservation issues, help the Kuterevo Bear Refuge in many ways, and, finally, take back home amazing memories from this unique place in the world. The eco-friendly accommodations (compost toilets, solar showers, vegetarian meals, etc.) showed us that such a sustainable way of life not only helps the environment, but it also brings a peaceful energy between people and Nature. One word to describe this experience: speechless.
Story written by Marilou Hircq, participant to the training in Kuterevo.
Want to have your own workcamp experience? There are plenty of short term voluntary projects you can still join, just check our workcamps database!