A Youth Leaders in Action Project at a Glance
All Youth Leaders in Action projects include the following elements:
Volunteer orientation camp
At the very beginning of your program, you will meet with the other members of your Youth Leaders in Action team for an orientation session on CWY values and norms, the Youth Leaders in Action program, and the cultural aspects of your program. Fun activities to help you get to know members of your group and your project supervisors will also be included. You are often matched up with your counterpart, or your “program partner”, from the partner country during the volunteer orientation camp. This orientation session takes place outside of the host community.
Community orientation camp
After the volunteer orientation camp, you will begin the journey towards your host community! The community orientation camp is an orientation to your host community, your program, your volunteer work and community activities. You will also look at important program elements such as host family living, working with your counterpart, working together as a team and understanding your role as a CWY volunteer. There are, of course, more fun activities to help you get to know and bond with your team.
Living with a host family
Upon your arrival in the host community, you will be placed in your host family. Our alumni often refer to their host family experience as one of the most important and rewarding parts of their experience. Your evenings and weekends are often spent with your host family learning more about them, their skills and experience and all the great things taking place in the host community. Your host family provides you with a place to live and food to eat. They have been carefully selected because of what they will add to, and gain from, the CWY experience. Host families are amazing people who invest a lot in your experience!
Volunteer work placements
Once you have settled into your host family, you will begin your volunteer work. While in Canada, volunteers are placed with local organizations that provide a service to the community. In the overseas phase, you will more often volunteer to directly support a local development project run by CWY’s partner organization. Generally, you will volunteer between 21-28 hours per week, with some additional volunteer hours in the evenings or weekends to support community activities, create your own community activities, or to support an organization or initiative of your choice.
Educational activity days
Educational activity days are held once a week with your team. Youth volunteers take turn to present on a topic that complements the learning on the program. You will be asked to research your topic, create the outline for the day, facilitate the activities and run an awesome educational activity day! This is a great experience in planning and facilitation, as well as community-based research. In planning for your educational activity day, you will learn more about your topic of interest, your host community, the partner country and you will find excellent people and resources who can contribute to the success of your day.
Halfway through both phases of your program, you will take a few days as a team to evaluate your program to date, your team dynamics and your contributions to the host community and work projects. The mid-project evaluation generally takes place at a camp or other facility outside of the host community which gives you a chance to step back and look at everything you have achieved (and still want to accomplish) as a team.
At the end of each phase, you will have a debriefing session that allows you, as an individual and as a team, to evaluate your contributions to the host community, work projects and objectives of CWY and the partner organization. Debriefing is also meant to help you prepare for the next phase of the program, or to help you to break down and evaluate your learning at the end of the program. This is a great opportunity to see all that you have given and gained from your CWY experience.
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