Being a youth volunteer is not only about serving and helping others. You are a part of an organization, a culture, a group and among friends. In Red Cross, you will get the opportunity to both develop your personal and professional skills. You can get friendships for a lifetime. Last week Red Cross Youth Tanahun went for an exchange visit with about 10 youth volunteers to meet and exchange stories about their work with the neighbor district Kaski. I heard laughter and saw smiles in the faces of the volunteers. I saw the beginning of future friendship and collaboration.
Exchange visit to Kaski Red Cross; giving motivation and inspiration to youth volunteers
Over 10 youth volunteers from Tanahun District was traveling from Damauli in Tanahun to Pokhara in Kaski for an exchange visit. There is one saying: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together!” Collaboration between districts and exchange of knowledge and experiences can contribute getting youth volunteers to reach further. We can always learn from each other. By building a bridge between Kaski and Tanahun, our activities and ways of doing the voluntary work can develop. Not only does it develop the Red Cross District Chapter, it can contribute developing on a personal level within each of the youth volunteers. Inspiring and motivating volunteers is essential for making them feel that they are getting something back for being a volunteer. It can contribute to the choice of continuing to volunteer in the future.
Visit to a Youth Circle in Kaski and meeting with Kaski District Chapter
First stop was a youth circle in Kaski were both youth volunteers from Tanahun and Kaski told about their main activities and achievements. The focus was on how to create a sustainable Youth Circle and to learn from each other. Later on, we had a joint meeting together with staff from Kaski District, youth volunteers from both Tanahun and Kaski and staff from Tanahun District to share about possibilities for future collaboration. In both meetings two youth from Damauli showed courage and confident presenting activities conducted, models Red Cross Youth Tanahun is using in their work and about what kind of challenges they see among youth in Nepal. It opened up for discussion and conversations about how Red Cross can contribute on topics like early marriage, drug abuse and traffic safety.
Building friendship through social programme
I realized fast that this exchange was much more than just a collaboration between two districts. It was about a friendship, building relations, experiencing new places, getting motivated and getting inspired. While visiting the Youth Circle in Kaski some of the volunteers notices that a volunteer from Kaski was interested in music, so they requested him to sing. Suddenly the connection between us was different. The ice was broken. Smiles where seen upon people’s faces. People were cheering and clapping along while other was dancing and singing. After the visit, volunteers from Tanahun together with some of the volunteers from Kaski Youth Circle went for boating on Phewa Lake in Pokhara for a social interaction programme.
This was the end of the day, but definitely not the end of the friendships or the future collaboration.