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5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Leaders Meetings This Programme Season
Leaders Meetings are an essential part of daily life at CISV programmes. They happen once a day and are a space where Leaders and staff (and JCs in Village) to evaluate the camp, share issues, receive updates, and follow up on camp development.
Leaders Meetings are a place where many decisions for the camp are made, where feelings and opinions are shared and where, together as a team, the Leadership Group evaluates, reviews, and implements strategies for the success of the camp. This is also meant to be a fun space, where Leaders and staff get the chance to bond, laugh, talk, and relax!
Here are 5 tips to get the best out of the Leaders Meeting in your camp:
- Open Communication
Create a space that is positive, empowering, and open for everyone to feel comfortable to share their opinions and feelings about the programme and their own personal development. CISV programmes have a special impact on people and that can bring up a lot of personal feelings that are often shared within this group. This space should be aimed to be positive and confidential. Sometimes you might tackle easy topics and sometimes you, as a group, will be faced with more challenging issues. By creating an environment of trust, openness, and support, the Leadership Group will be able to work together as a strong team and deal with the good and the bad in the most effective way.
- Use Time Wisely
During the programme, you will usually have around one hour a day specifically for a Leaders Meeting. There will be days that the whole hour will be used. There will be other days where the meeting will go faster than usual. It all depends on what is happening at that specific point of camp. It is important to give everyone a chance to share as much – or as little – as they want. A common practice to begin these meetings is the “Round of Feelings” where every person at the meeting shares how they are feeling that day, how their delegates are doing, any particular issues with the planning, good or bad, or anything else that needs to be shared. This is aimed to give a general idea of how the group is feeling and to be a space for updates on specific issues and the development of the camp and the participants. There will be days where many topics need to be talked about and a good way to use the time you have wisely is by creating a Topics List. This list should be available at the Leaders Room throughout the whole day, so anyone that has a specific topic that needs to be discussed can write it down and the meeting is lead by topics brought by the members of the Leadership Group. This not only makes it easier to lead the meeting but also empowers the members to discuss topics of interest. Don’t forget to prioritize. There might be days where the Topics List has more points that the ones you can achieve to discuss in an hour. Try to prioritize topics that are more urgent and schedule the rest for the next meeting.
- Embrace Differences and Benefit from Them
The Leadership Group is made out of people from all around the world with different backgrounds, professions, and experience in CISV. Take advantage of this. A lot of topics will be discussed during the meetings and having diverse perspectives is the best way to solve issues or implement new strategies. There might be a leader that is dealing with a complex issue in the delegation and they can ask for advice. Maybe an activity was too impactful for some participants and it needs to be discussed further. Maybe a staff, Leader or JC is going through a complicated time and needs support or advice from the group. This is where our differences shine and are essential. Bring different ideas, opinions, and perspectives together and use them to create a solution.
- Feedback and Feedforward
There is no such thing as a perfect programme. The Leadership Group will be faced daily with diverse challenges and will need to get together and figure out different ways to solve issues and conflicts that come up. Be enthusiastic about this. The camp is constantly developing, and all members of the camp are in a constant state of change and learning – always keep this in mind. During Leaders Meeting the development of camp (activities, schedule, excursions, logistics, problems, etc.) will be evaluated. It is essential to create a culture of Feedback and Feedforward. Take time to evaluate the activities of the day before and embrace feedback on them. Take time to evaluate the activities that will be done the day after and see if anyone has a specific idea to make it better. If there are concerns about the way an activity went, it is OK! Share them and brainstorm ideas together to make it better the next time. Giving feedback is as important as giving feedforward. We are constantly developing and learning. You need to evaluate what the group is doing, embrace what has been done right, and create new strategies to keep making it better.
- Celebrate Wins!
Acknowledgment is a powerful tool for teams. The Leadership Group will face many challenges during camp and will have to come up with many solutions to those challenges. Celebrate successes! If an activity, excursion, discussion, debriefing, simulation game, etc, went great – celebrate it! This not only keeps the group motivated but it also builds a sense of commitment to keep working hard towards a goal, face challenges, celebrated wins, and keep trying to make the best out of the programme.
On behalf of the Conflict and Resolution Annual Content Area Working Group,