All about "Team trainings"
The „team trainings“ were addressed to youngsters, the indirect target group of the project. In the life circle of the project each partner organization arranged six team trainings with youngsters between 13 – 18 years in their respective country, each one lasted three days. These “team trainings” served as a field-test where the developed concept has been tested.
The main objective of the “team trainings” was to create an opportunity for youngsters to make sustainable experiences through adventure-based and cooperative elements. These experiences widened their individual capabilities to handle tension and conflicts non-violently and constructively. Violence as the result of a destructive conflict resolution was be prevented by providing youngsters with methods to handle frustrations and conflicts constructively during the “team trainings”. Furthermore the self-confidence and the self-esteem of the youngsters was strengthened by successful experiences in a team. During the second meeting the partners developed a working definition together, what the term "team training" meant within the framework of the project:
The starting point of a team training is to learn social competence, self-esteem and self- confidence. With the help of different methods, including cooperative, adventure based, non-verbal and communicative aspects, children and youngsters should be shown strategies for conflict resolution without physical and psychological violence. The objective is to give the individuum the possibility to form a group that pursues goals jointly.
The basic structure of our team trainings was the same you will find within the methods-chapter of this handbook. Starting with warm-ups for relaxing the atmosphere, ice-breakers afterwards are essential. It is the team leaders’ responsibility to initiate the participants’ getting to know each other and to ensure that a positive, trustful atmosphere is established. It is only with these basics that team work can be successful. After this methods for cooperation and communication and for conflict resolution can be practiced. Reflection and evaluation at the end of each method or training is highly relevant, as this can give long-term impulses for thinking about what happened within the group and how people chose to act – and if there are alternatives. It also gives the participants space and time for exchanging thoughts, for talking about their feelings and for having answered. We will say more about this in the beginning of the chapter with our chosen best practices.
In each of the partner organizations the settings for the team trainings were different. Where the Czech partners worked with only one group over the whole period of the team trainings, the organization from Germany worked with a different group each time, as the trainings were held with school classes. In Hungary some team trainings were held with the same group of participants, often the organization worked with foster children and their families. The French organization organized an exchange between youngsters from rural areas and from the next city, which they and the participants experienced as highly valuable. Youngsters taking part in the Lithuanian team trainings were given the chance to focus on wishes for their own future, acquiring specific competences which are necessary in certain occupational areas.
What can be said from our exchange of experience is that, considering the aim of achieving a long-term effect for the youngsters, working with only one group over a longer period of time has proven to be much more effective. It leaves more time for establishing a relationship between the group and the trainers, it gives the group more time for development and makes intensive work on specific topics possible.
A team training lasting 3 days, taking place only once, can be a good start off for positive changes within the group, but these have to be followed up by teachers, parents or the participants themselves. Also, the relatively short time hardly makes it possible to establish deep trust between the trainers and the participants, which can be a big disadvantage with challenging groups.