The third (and a half) edition of “Share the right story” (twitter, facebook page) has taken place in a beautiful October week in Ajdovščina (yes, I have to google it every time), in Slovenia. We were hosted by our friends of Društvo Center za pomoč mladim.
I mean, just check the video made by the amazing Morgan from Afocal:
Wonderful, no? Yes, it’s wonderful.
The course turned out to be somewhat darker than the previous ones – maybe because of the Halloween spirit? – but still a very powerful experience.
Want to know more? Keep on reading!
Share the Right Story is a very successful Erasmus+ training course, that my friends Mafalda, Michele & yours truly have been proudly bringing around Europe since 2015. The concept was born as a wide-spectrum training course for youth workers and trainers on everything storytelling, with a very strong emphasis on the experiential phase.
Emphasis on “emphasis”: we always include an outdoors session about personal challenges in which people can choose – if they want – to spend the night out, follow a journey of personal exploration, as away as possible from distractions and toxic elements from everyday life and work.
In addition, we include a big deal of personal development sessions, including using Way of the Council & Mirroring and exploring Origin Stories applied to personal and professional intentions. The idea is that in order to be a storyteller, one has first of all to find a powerful story to tell.
All of this means that the course can, sometimes, be very challenging.
Some people found the most challenging the elements of “storytelling” as such: understanding what is our story, first; and then practicing the different tools and techniques how to spread it to the world.
We explore a lot of different forms, from creative writing to oral storytelling, a bit of theater performance, drawing & comics (“the sequential art“),
with a growing space given to designing and playing games – because it’s a thing we like, and because games are excellent story generators.
Some people, instead, found it the hardest when they entered the experiential part of the course.
Challenges were given – but never imposed – such as public speaking to the whole group with little or no preparation, sharing a personal story by drawing, designing and realizing a personal ceremony and yes, outdoors “solo” time.
This bit in particular came unexpected for somebody (which means they don’t read my blog, how sad), but that is also fine. Because what else is it, if not a refusal of the call?
The course follows thoroughly the concept of the Monomyth or Hero’s Journey, and it’s a little game we play in the game, each day as if it were a stage of a transformative journey. Because that’s what learning is anyway, isn’t it?
Luckily, we were blessed by a week of fantastic weather, hosted in the youth hostel & center of Ajdovščina (this time it was enough to copy paste it from above), which provided us with excellent working spaces.
We were very happy to meet the group, which was – I will say it only once and with no irony at all – a very gifted and special combination of individuals. And this is what makes every experience completely different from the previous ones. We have been running this (almost) exact same program three times already, but this was unique, and sometimes took us by surprise. In general, the experience turned out to be a little darker than the previous ones.
I don’t mean it as a negative. Just somehow, the shadows we were facing this time were longer. I wonder if it has also something to do with the particular time of the year we were in: the last two editions took place in summer, while this time Autumn was on us, and we were heading towards Halloween. Who knows?
All in all, the program was very intense. I know I write this every single time, but in this case we even had one day shorter than in the Czech Republic, and this reflected in some compressed space for a few topics. We were very ready to change our plans according to the group’s profile and expectations, and when it became clear that a majority wanted to have more space for performing and creating, we were more than happy to change things that way.
Another challenge from the team’s point of view – I will say more later – is that in the past 2 years we have grown & learned so much, it is probably fair to say we are stretching the program a bit.
After all, I cannot wear the majority of my clothes from (six months) two years ago, so it’s only natural that the same should apply to learning, right?
We, simply, have so much more content to share now. Mafalda beautifully introduced sessions on intuition and poetry (including Haiku), while co-hosting with Špela a workshop on drawing;
Michele has so much insight to share on topics like comics, myths and hero’s journey;
I work more and more on public speaking and story structures,
and together we are developing better and better our workshops on games and gamification – and this is just to name the main examples.
Plus, we just find it very hard to exclude from the program things like movie endings to reflect on the course ending (because we are just nerds that way),
The Way of Council, mirroring & storytelling, Earth Walk,
Five Rhythm Dancing, space for participants’ workshops (some excellent work there) and more!
So in conclusion – how did it go? The course was good, I think. Very good.
And very intense – physically, mentally and emotionally – and as I mentioned earlier, with a “darker” tone that its predecessors. It was a bit like our “Empire Strikes Back” moment. There were deep emotional storms in the week, bigger than we anticipated. And we were also part of the process, since we don’t really remove ourselves from what happens. We are all part of the story, after all.
I hope we managed everything as best as we could, and if not, oh well. We were more like guardians of the threshold (or tricksters), holding the frame and trusting people to do their part.
But that’s how we work and that’s experiential learning. You can be a master storyteller and have perfect technique, but still “the story is king“, and that is always true. And what is story, if not something that happens to us?
The same applies to a learning experience. We can prepare ourselves, train, rehearse. But then we need to go out, and let something happen to us. Better if unexpected. That’s how we learn.
Is it really such a surprise if our little ship have come across some troubled waters? In retrospective, probably not. In all honesty, our approach is to choose vulnerability and authenticity, over performance and detachment. We as trainers consider ourselves completely part of the human and social process that is learning, as well as any other participant, because ultimately we all share the same journey.
And it is the journey that matters, not so much the destination.
And that is it! Thank you for reading this far! Do you want to read more stories like this? Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog here, and on its facebook page. And if you liked the post, “like” it and feel free to leave a comment!
And… if you want to be involved in a possible future edition of “Share the right story”, don’t be shy – answer your Call to Adventure and contact us! We will be more than happy to provide all the help we can.