The First YES Centre Training Workshop

With the aim to demonstrate the Award’s value and allow all young people in the age group of 14-25 years, the Youth Engaging Society (YES) Centres were set up. YES Centres take active engagement in communities to the much more involved level as everyone in the society around the Centre can participate to do the Award Programme. This article shares progress from the first YES Centre Training Workshop held from 3-4 August 2010 in New Delhi. Contributions by Anez Katre and Parul Vij.

The first YES Training Workshop kick started YES Centres in The Doon School, The Assam Valley School, Daly College and Indus International School; institutions representing Northern, Eastern, Western and Southern India respectively. Since its inception in 1962, the Award in India was available in Schools alone and offered to the 14 – 18 age groups. YES Centres allow young people in the 14-25 age categories to participate in the Award without being restricted by boundaries of an Award unit.

Building from the first YES Workshop, The Doon School hosted an engaging session for 23 participants from various schools and non profit organisations on 28th October 2010 followed by a subsequent day long Workshop at the Hopetown School on the 29th November 2010 in Dehradun. Young people today live for the moment and their basic goal is to have ‘FUN’. The session started with a brief introduction to the Award Programme, followed by the role of the Award Leader and how the Award can be promoted in and around Dehradun, which is a hub of education institutions.

The ice-breaking session allowed all attendees to share their expectations from the Workshops. Some wanted to know more about delivering the Award Programme to all young people especially in the 18-25 age category, others wanted to understand the YES approach of making the Award Programme available to all young people in society and finally to learn how to become a member of a cohesive team to engage youth in society. The session successfully allowed clarity of some misconceptions with emphasis on the fact that this is a self-development programme; without sharp deadlines or competition, except with oneself and with the desire for continuous improvement.

Participants were briefed about the service, skill, physical recreation, adventurous journey and residential project section respectively and then divided into three groups to map their own journeys section by section. This session proved to be an invaluable one as all participants got to use their experiences, imaginations and share best practices to chart the Award Journeys. Through group activity, the participants came up with many innovative ideas and felt strongly about ‘inclusive participation’, based on the service projects already being conducted in various schools.

They learnt to appreciate that the Award Programme is not about competition and striving to maximize self-improvement is key to development and that they should encourage Award participants to pick activities that aren't too similar to the chosen Service/Skill/Physical Recreation sections. Through this exercise the difference between exploration, expedition and other adventurous journey was also highlighted. In addition, the importance of planning a residential project with the Award Leader for maximum risk evaluation and aversion was reflected through real-life experience sharing by Bivujit Mukhoty-Programme Manager.

The Workshop concluded with sharing the YES Project Plan to "Equip for Life" and an introduction to Award India Branding and licensing to grow through partnerships. Special appreciation to Dr. Peter McLaughlin-Headmaster, The Doon School; Mrs. Maya Norula-Principal, Hopetown School; Skand Bali- YES Centre Manager (The Doon School) and Ms. Parul Vij- YES Centre Manager (Hopetown) for their support in organising two very successful events.

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