Typically, there are a lot of mysteries that surround the Leaders of Change. How do you talk about something, you can’t really talk about, because it is all about the individual experience? What do you say? What is important to tell? 

In a way, the only mystery there is you. This training questions you. Your perceptions, your thought patterns, your habit to follow stereotypes. The very foundation of the way you think. Everything you will encounter during it, will have one aim: to test you and make you think and reflect. 

I entered this challenge, knowing that I absolutely love to do everything where I would have to look at myself internally, reflect, think, internalize. I do that all the time anyways, why not try it out in a group with other people? I had my share of worries: I consulted it quite a lot with my mentor Veronika, who organizes this whole event. It seemed like all my insecurities popped off at once. I was asking myself ten million questions. Would I fit in? Would I be able to talk to those people? Would I completely hide in my shell as always? Could I even think about leading a workcamp? Would I be a good leader? Do I have what it takes? Would I be able to connect with all those adults who are years older than me? (I was looking through the participants’ list and everybody seemed to be over 30 and only a few people were my age).

I did not have any expectations and yet it exceeded any I could have ever had. I came in thinking one thing about myself and I got out knowing that none of those things were actually ever true. It turned out that my biggest insecurity, being in a group of people, would actually be the biggest strength and beauty of this training. The thing about it is that all the activities, games, exercises will test you, will make you ask questions and cause emotions. The real value of this course is the self-reflection and self-awareness that you gain. The real value is your head full of thoughts, ideas, impulses, visions. The beauty of it is the connections you make in a group, meeting all those wonderful, different people. 

I didn’t recognize who I was by the end. I had so much appreciation for the person I became. All the activities that we did facilitated my change. In the space that we were in, I could have been someone else, in a new setting, in a new reality. It was a real success for me, not because the event itself was so successful, but because I put a lot of effort into what I did there. I asked questions, I stood up for myself, I did things that I was absolutely scared of normally, but I pushed through and did what I thought I should do, what would be the right thing for me to do. 

You will often hear the phrase “you are the creator of your own training”. And although humans do sometimes like to run away from responsibilities, you can’t run away from this truth. It would only be a success if you make it a success. If you do what you think you should do, if you follow the training as it is, if you let go of your inhibitions and your typical thinking. 

I changed a lot thanks to this. I’m now a new, completely different version of myself. I’m a better, more self-aware, more friendly, more cooperative and confident person. I am more of the person I always wanted to be. I wanted to be someone and I took action to be that person. 

I realized that I’m not absolutely terrible with other people. Actually, I’m pretty great. I can be funny, friendly, charming. I now understand teamwork more and I am a better team player. I learned how important it is to be considerate to my teammates, to actively listen and engage in activities together. I reflected a lot on why I think I wouldn’t fit in with other people. I always thought I was strange and a little weird because I actively sought to see that difference and use it to hide further in my shell. But I received an impulse to look for what connects us, not divides us. It’s how we learn, work, how we get things done. It’s how we are better volunteers. It’s how we are better youth leaders.

The truth is that you create your own results at this training. They are unique to every participant, and what I got from this, will not be what you get from it. This experience definitely matured me and made me more confident to lead my own life. I feel more confident to lead a workcamp, to engage in group activities, to be a more empathetic, friendly person. I feel more confident about my work, my role in volunteering, my values and drives. It made me question things I did and thought, and helped me see beyond my usual patterns. It gave me exactly what it needed to get at that time: to take away the shyness, the insecurity, the questioning of yourself, and allow yourself to let it go and flourish.

It’s those moments in free time playing guitar and singing Beatles songs. It’s those moments of telling people your most close moments and connecting with them. It’s those moments of walking around, talking, reflecting, dreaming, and being able to be free and authentic with yourself. 

I recommend this training to everyone who feels the need to look deeper inside themselves, to test themselves in new situations, to everyone who feels lost and needs to find a new direction. I recommend it to everyone who wants to experience a group setting, sense of community and understanding, feel what it’s like to let themselves go and be sincere and authentic. 

What training is Sofia talking about? Find out here: