I have just came home after two night stay in an institute which may possibly have changed my life, or at least my views on life.
The conference was held by “The Society of Saint Vincent De Paul” (Or just SSVP) and was aimed at us young folk who could be doing more to help the people most in need in our communities.
That’s basically what the Saint Vincent De Paul Society do, they do their best to make everyone feel wanted especially those who don’t have the chance to live life the fortunate way most of us do.
Over the course of the two days, we attended several seminars being taught about a wide variety of issues related to the work of the Society of Saint Vincent De Paul. There were also a few fun seminars using team building and using our own skills and talents.
But it was some of the things I heard, seen and learnt that really changed my views on my opinion and attitude towards life…
One of the most powerful teachings I listened to was about poverty. We all know what it is, or do we? Like the activities we were doing, think to yourself, what is poverty? Someone who can barely afford to live and doesn’t really get a chance to live? Or “a seventeen year old who cannot afford to go the disco…”? There’s no right answer because the only true answer is what you truly think. The seminar on poverty wasn’t very depressing however, as there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We can make a difference to the people living in poverty by just simply helping out the best we can in our community, letting them know that they should never, ever give up and to let them know that there is someone there for them. As well as this, we can spread this message of the way we can changed poverty as a young generation. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll be alive to see a world without poverty, IF we try our best and get off our backsides and do something.I was proud of the slogan thing I suggested for my group’s poster in the activity we were doing based on poverty. It read something like “You’re only learning about it now, but you could go through it yourself one day. So get up, and do something about poverty, to make your future bright”. I’ve never liked boasting, but I honestly did love that little phrase and I thought it was so true. So, if you’re young, middle-aged, or even old, do exactly that. Get off YOUR backside and make YOUR future bright as well as helping OTHERS in the hope that they will never have to experience living in poverty.
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Not all of the workshops or seminars were all about helping your community and learning about issues in the modern world. No. There were the occasional fun challenges or exercises that were just the best things ever, and really made us all think…
One of the exercises was all about listening. We don’t realise how important it is to listen, and even more importantly, to show that we are listening. The first exercise was simply just to talk to a partner about a favourite song, singer, band or musician. Simple. Then, after appointing each partner number one or two, number ones had to go out of the room and await instructions. I was number two. We were told that whatever number one was saying, we were to talk over them, and were instructed not to let them finish a sentence. I was ready, but first I had to talk to my partner about a favourite TV program, film or website just like the other number twos. I began… “Well I like a lot of TV programs, but I don’t really like any in par..tic…u…lar?” My partner wasn’t interested. He was staring out of the window and sighing and yawning and acted as if I had turned invisible. My minute was up. Time for me to do my work. I honestly couldn’t bring myself to do this though because before this exercise my partner had been really good to me and I to him but I had to do it. A little voice just starting to say… “Well, I kinda like a few progra…” And I got to work straight away. “WOW! LOOK AT THE COLOUR OF THIS CARPET, IT’S AMAZING, ISN’T IT!” He looks confused and almost angry and yet seeing right through me, and what I was trying to do. His minute was up…
Luckily, the whole thing was explained to is. The number ones had been told to completely ignore what number two was saying, and to show no interest whatsoever in what we were saying. And yes, there is a reason for all this. It proved that no one feels comfortable talking to someone who doesn’t at least try to show some interest. There was no point continuing if the person felt that uncomfortable, knowing that they were as well talk to a wall. So keep this in mind! Always pay attention to whoever is speaking to you, even if you have absolutely no interest in it, what so ever! Just at least make it look as if you are interested, as it will make the speaker more comfortable. So there. Yeah…
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Team building had to be one of my favourite activities. There’s no point telling you all about team building because I’m sure you already know of the importance and logic behind it. But I must tell you about our activity…
I was in a group with people I knew, from school. Good friends, and no better team in the world. This started to fade away a little when we were told our challenge. Using only index cards, scissors, and glue, we had to make a “Tennis Ball Tower”. Basically, as tall a paper tower as possible but still strong enough to hold a tennis ball at the very top, hence the name “Tennis Ball Tower”.
It was… fun. Yes, fun. We tried and tried to think and work together as a group but we all had our own thoughts and we were all over the place, trying to see if our own ideas would work. Cut up paper everywhere, and only minutes to go until our deadline, we decided just to stick everything together and create something. And that’s what the end result was. Something. It was a paper object of some sort, and was sticking together, and had the tennis ball taped to the top. It just needed a person or two to make it free standing…
But the team work part was just so fun for me. But I couldn’t help thinking that I should have went for another group. Not because I hate my friends, and to set the records straight, I couldn’t have any better friends, but I think being friends is the whole problem. We know each other too well, and we can’t help but have a laugh here and a giggle there but no matter how great the friendship, the team work is not really affected.
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So, it was a great two days and I wish it lasted longer. I met some of the most amazing people and I was sad to leave them so soon after only practically meeting them for the first time ever. I only hope our paths will cross again.
But take on board come of the stuff I have mentioned, because I think I now have a new attitude towards life! And I wish I could tell you about everything I done whilst at the conference, but I’m afraid by the end of typing it all up, I may never be able to type again, and my computer may be up in flames from the intense heat and enthusiasm from my fingertips.
Au Revior amigos.