Good evening and thanks to Fishbowl Youth Group for the invitation to be here this evening to mark 15 years of youth work by Fishbowl. On behalf of the Limerick & Clare Education and Training Board I am delighted to be here to acknowledge 15 years of amazing creativity, imagination and openness that has underpinned youth work of the highest quality. I would like to particularly thank an exceptional group of adults who have helped to create something quite, quite fantastic in this corner of rural east Clare. I say helped to create because they could not have done it without the amazing energy, curiosity, cooperation and support of the young people that became involved.
In many ways 15 years is not a terribly long time. In other ways a lot can change in 15 years – the smartphone was not widely available in the year 2000, now they are ubiquitous. Listening to the news programmes on Wednesday as the results of the American presidential election became clear, I was struck by lines from a song by The Waterboys;
“we’re living in a strange time, sailing in a strange boat, following a strange star”.
And indeed we are living in strange times and sometimes it is difficult to make sense of all the changes these times bring and the speed at which they happen.
In just three years we will mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. While change is part of the human condition those 30 years have been marked by enormous and sometimes very disruptive changes that have had a huge impact on people, communities and states. To give one example the rapid growth of global capitalism has changed the nature of work in the early 21st century compared to 1989. Work has traditionally been an important component of individual identity. As outside forces change the nature of work then the concept of identity will also be challenged. Similarly many of the institutions that people trusted and placed their faith in have been shown to have flaws and have lost the moral authority which helped to bind communities together. Writing in yesterday’s Irish Times, Pat Leahy noted that;
“any society depends on a shared moral framework that embeds ways of behaving towards your fellow citizens”.
Where the shared moral framework becomes shaky or no longer provides credible answers, confusion, uncertainty, and ultimately fear can take root. In 1950 the English philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote:
“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity towards those who are not regarded as members of the herd”.
In an environment of collective fear or where many feel they are being ignored or forgotten, unscrupulous characters who present or perceive themselves as strong leaders, can appear to provide answers and leadership that will restore order and make things great again. These people are prepared to point at others as the cause of the ills that may befall a society. They will, directly or indirectly, imply that the “other” is directly responsible for the unhappy lot that has befallen a society. They will point at those who are obviously different by virtue of skin colour, at those who are numerically weaker, or who are newly arrived in a country and imply “it’s all their fault”. This is a phenomenon that we are seeing across Europe and America and there is considerable concern that it is a growing and a frightening phenomenon.
Addressing such problems is a complicated and multi-stranded task that requires focused and collective action on the part of the community and the state. A key element in this task has to be education and here is where youth work has an important role to play. Under Irish law youth work is defined as:
“a planned programme of education designed for the purpose of aiding and enhancing the personal and social development of young persons through their voluntary participation, and which is—
(a) complementary to their formal, academic or vocational education and training; and
(b) provided primarily by voluntary youth work organisations.
Youth workers are educators who engage with young people who wish to be part of a process that helps them to grow and develop. This is what Fishbowl do. In the way they practice youth work here in East Clare they are challenging fear – the fear of the other, the fear of difference. The group welcomes diversity as something that makes all of our lives richer. Openness to ideas and a willingness to challenge and be challenged are characteristic of the group. They recognise the humanity of everybody – young people are welcomed and accepted for who they are. This is simply the Fishbowl way and this ethos permeates how they do youth work. In this environment young people are learning that they don’t have to fear difference or to fear being different. If a youth group in East Clare can create such an ethos and environment then it should not be beyond the ingenuity of humans to replicate a similar culture in a broader social context. The habits and customs learned here can contribute to creating a better society. The invitation for this evening’s event included a quote from Howard Zinn, the American historian and social activist. The quote reads;
“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
I would add to that quote another from Margaret Mead the cultural anthropologist, also American, who said:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”
I congratulate Fishbowl on 15 years of contributing to the making of a better world. What you do is important. The work you do here matters. Long may you continue to carry on changing the world and making it a better place. Thank you.
(Seamus Bane, Youth Officer, LCETB, Clare)
Safe Space – Fishbowl’s Impact
What a fantastic testament to Fishbowl Youth ! Thank you everyone for contributing, even those who didn’t make the cut due to technical issues and a massive thank you to Joske Slabbers for the many many hours put into editing and creating such a lovely movie
09 to 14 December 2016
This training course provided opportunities for youth organisations to explore deeper the participation of LGBT* young people in their projects, communities and wider Europe.
The participants explored the challenges and obstacles for LGBT* young people and planned concrete actions to help overcome these obstacles. This international training course explored these challenges in more detail thereby allowing youth organisations to have the space to learn more about the issues of the LGBT* community while simultaneously providing a space for partner finding and develop projects together.
We hosted 27 participants from 16 projects and from 12 different countries – Ireland, Italy, Estonia, Netherlands, Romania, Armenia, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Greece, Belarus and Albania
The activities included team building, creative ways of exploring the challenges faced by LGBT* young people using ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’, World café, partnership building activities and Erasmus+ workshops.
The methodologies used were creative, inclusive and participatory.
During the training course some of the participants and one of the organisers/trainers were interviewed by Dermot Hayes from Raidió Corca Baiscinn, here is the link:
Two participants from Estonia gave this interview on return home:
“Be yourself, Pride for Youth” Training Course – INTERVIEW WITH TURAL ABDULLA AND LIIS RANDMÄE
09 – 14 May 2016, Balbriggan, Ireland.
This Training course was supported by the Léargas Irish National Agency for Youth in Action, together with the National Agencies of: Finland, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands and Spain.
Key Action 1 (KA1) of the Erasmus+ Youth programme focuses on the learning mobility of individuals, both young people and youth workers/leaders. Young people have the opportunity to participate in youth-exchanges or to volunteer for a period up to one year in another country. Youth workers can take part in training and networking activities abroad or spend some time in a youth organisation abroad for a job shadowing or an observation.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this international training course was to explore pathways for strategic progression of projects through the range of mobility activities available in KA1.
Other areas covered were:
Space was given to allow participants to develop links and share good practice with organisations present
Profile of participants:
Participants were expected to:
THE TEAM AND ORGANISERS OF THE SEMINAR
The seminar team was composed of two trainers/facilitators, one logistics person.
Bob McDougall is a British trainer and project manager living in Leeds, England, UK. He works on the NA training pool in the UK and has devised and delivered many courses internationally on a variety of subjects relating to youth. He is passionate about non-formal learning and is an expert in European Voluntary Service, specifically with an emphasis on inclusion, having coordinated hundreds of volunteers with high support needs. Bob is also a key trainer for the full EVS training cycle in England.
Mieke McMahon is Dutch, living in Clare, Ireland for the last 25 years. She is a free-lance trainer working for Léargas, the Irish NA, and for SALTO’s implementing training on specific Youth in Action topics and EVS trainings. She is active in the youth field within a small youth organisation, Fishbowl Youth, in the west of Ireland. She works together with young people; she supports and coaches them towards setting up their own projects and activities.
Alan McMahon is Irish and living in Co. Clare for the last 35 years and originally from Dublin. He works as a Housing Manager within the Social and Voluntary housing sector for the last 10 years. Alan has worked on a voluntary basis for several organizations over the years. He is a youth leader with Fishbowl and has been involved with Fishbowl Youth for many years.
Slideshow of the training course:
INTERNATIONAL YOUTH WORK TRAINERS BREAK NEW GROUND IN EAST CLARE
15 to 20 April – East Clare Golf Village
Youth work trainers from across Europe and beyond, from twenty two different countries, arrived in East Clare to make the next step in their journey towards increased international cooperation.
The group originally met in Ireland in 2014 with the intention of establishing a guild (association) to represent their interests, improve quality and provide development opportunities. Now, two years on and after meetings in Budapest (Hungary) and Blackpool (UK) last year, they are about to launch a membership scheme inviting international colleagues to join them.
During the week the International Youth Work Trainer Guild (IYWT Guild) piloted a technique of reflection and development as part of their process to ensure quality. This process is called a 360 appraisal in which trainers assess their own practice, while simultaneously being assessed by colleagues, participants and employers, all with the aim of identifying areas for development and honing their skills.
Also during their time here the Guild continued to work on the launch of their membership package, setting priorities for the next twelve months and looking at ways in which they can advocate for the trainer profession at a national and international level.
The meeting was funded under by the EU’s Erasmus+ Programme through Léargas, the Irish National Agency, and was hosted by FishBowl Youth.
FishBowl Youth was founded in 2002 and works locally, nationally and has an established reputation for it’s international work.
Jonathan Bowyer, facilitator of the seminar, said: “The work that the International Youth Work Trainers (IYWT) Guild has been doing over the past two years is vital to ensure that the voices of trainers are heard at an international level and that professional standards are collectively developed to ensure quality.”
“The process that we went through during the week is one that will help the trainers to think about their own competences and identify areas of development for themselves with the help of their peers.”
Mieke McMahon, member of the IYWT steering group and of FishBowl Youth, added: “We were really pleased to be hosting he IYWT Guild team in Ireland once again for the next stage of the journey to form the Guild. The group have taken a needs-led approach and have themselves identified the priorities for their profession and, more importantly, how the Guild can be a way to achieve what is needed.”
“Not only was this meeting another milestone in the journey of the Guild, but it is fantastic that it happend here in East Clare and something that as a country we should be proud to be hosting.”
For more information about the International Youth Work Trainers guild visit: www.iywt.org
For more information about facilitator Jonathan Bowyer visit www.viewfromhere.co.uk
3. Day by day report: https://iywtgroup.wordpress.com/category/ireland-2016/]]>
On April the 3rd 2016 a group of 25 international youth workers and volunteer youth leaders met in the East Clare Golf village to partake in ReEnact, an EU; Erasmus + Youth in Action funded training course.
ReEnact was the second series of this unique training that focused on using nature based tools, authentic communication and theatre to empower the young people to develop their skills in enhanced communication, conflict resolution techniques, entrepreneurial thinking and active participation.
These topics were tackled and new methods were shared and learned over the short but intense 5-day we spent together as a multinational group from across Europe with participants travelling from Portugal, Armenia, Georgia, Lebanon, Estonia, Hungary, Turkey, Morocco, Italy, Czeck Republic, UK and Ireland.
The programme was divided up into different focus areas:
a UK trainer took responsibility to facilitate the participants through a journey where they could reconnect with nature using varies tools such as the Threshold walk and the Mirror of Nature. Participants shared in their evaluation how powerful it was to just take the time to be alone in nature, an experience they will encourage their young people to share in.
Zita Szalai a competent trainer in supporting Authentic Communication guided the participants to understanding how to effectively encourage non-violent communication techniques.
Sophie Breuker a trainer based in Galway Ireland engaged participants with the tools and games of Theatre of the Oppressed, firstly image theatre and finally forum theatre. These methods flowed into detailed discussion of “how to empower young people in our local communities”.
A participant reflected: “I could not have wished for better company. I loved the setting that we had our individual houses with lots of space to invite each other over and take the most out of our short time together… the people were so open and colourful.
Watch the movie: To find out more about how this training reached a successful conclusion by clicking on this link http://bit.ly/29IOpiB it really starts to get interesting from min 12. We were very happy to have our local TV programme Clare Matters come out to interview some of the participants, trainers and organisers in order to find out how we got on.
Check out our Non-Violent Communication Session: NVC Activity
Some more snapshots:]]>
Training course in how to deal with conflict situations during the EVS project cycle
The aim of the training course is to develop and enhance the ability of organisations to recognize and deal with conflict situations that can arise during the life cycle of European Voluntary Service (EVS).
The training course is for EVS coordinators, mentors, and/or project workers.
The experience of the participants will be the starting point of the activities and we will explore potential conflict situations through theatre, discussions, group work and creative methods.
The training will be very practical and will support organisation to put a structure in place to prevent conflict in EVS.
Fishbowl Youth has many years of experience sending EVS volunteers and supporting other oganisations in implementing EVS projects.
The trainers have vast knowledge of all aspects of the EVS process from accrediting of projects to being an EVS volunteer and delivering On-Arrival and Mid-way training for EVS volunteers.
This project was born out of a common passion for using dance and movement as a tool to work with young people which was identified during a Partnership Building Activity: “Building a Network of European Youth Trainers” in Ireland.
After our Finnish partner shared a video about dancing in the streets, we decided as a group that this would make a great theme for an exchange. While working on the project more people got involved and the group grew into the 4 partners that we now have.
This project seeks to meet the need to allow young people to find out who they are and how they fit in society. It was felt that through the overuse of technology many young people have lost the connection between themselves and their bodies and as youth workers and young leaders, we have seen how this has negatively impacted on young people’s body image and self esteem.
The Aim of the project: To explore and gain a greater understanding of ‘identity’ and ‘self’ through cultural collaboration in dance and movement.
Objectives: Explore and share how we understand who we are, along with the influences that shape our identity Experience and understand cultural differences and similarities through dance Gain a greater understanding of the importance of movement in the modern world and the messages these relay.
Partners from: Finland, Netherlands, UK and Ireland.
Each partner except Ireland sent 5 young people and 2 youth leaders – one of these youth leaders will be specialised in dance. Ireland sent 8 young people, 2 youth leaders and 2 support staff. The profile of the participants was truly mixed. The Finnish and the Irish group are from a very rural area, with no or very few facilities. The groups from the Netherlands and the UK are from small cities – participants had very mixed abilities in the area of dance, but also came from diverse social and economic backgrounds.
The programme incorporated non-formal workshops, discussions, individual work, movement and dance, peer reflection and support, with a final performance in the streets of Galway city.
The programme was intense, with many workshops. The workshops were movement/dance based, but also incorporated non-formal aspects.
The movement were used as a method to explore who we are, how we deal with things (life) and how we express ourselves.]]>
23-28 March 2015 | Balbriggan, Co Dublin, Ireland
What are ‘mobility’ projects?
Key Action 1 (KA1) of the Erasmus+ Youth programme focuses on learning mobility of individuals, both young people and youth workers/leaders. Young people have the opportunity to participate in youth-exchanges or to volunteer for a period up to one year in another country. Youth workers can take part in training and networking activities abroad or spend some time in a youth organisation abroad for a job shadowing or an observation.
What is the aim of the ‘Moving through Mobility’ training course?
The aim of this international training course is to explore pathways for strategic progression of projects through the range of mobility activities available in KA1.
The training will
• Help organisations to discover the developmental opportunities for their young people, by using one activity within the action in order to prepare for the next.
• Facilitate organisations to realise the potential for developing their international capacity by linking activities in Key Action 1.
Other areas to be covered are as follows:
• Linking organisational objectives with local and national policies and the priorities of Erasmus+ as the basis for future projects
• Highlighting the importance of strong international partnerships with an emphasis on the learning to be gained from such partnerships
• Supporting non-formal learning, including recognition of learning through Youthpass
• Space will be given to allow participants to develop links and share good practice with organisations present.
Profile of participants:
The programme is designed for (youth) workers who represent youth organisations, local authorities, or work in local governments or other public institutions that have experience of activities under Key Action 1 (or mobility activities under the previous Youth in Action programme).
Participants are expected to:
• Have experience of mobility projects as individuals and within their organisations
• Have interest and the possibility within their organisation/group to apply for mobility projects after the seminar
• Are able to communicate and work in English
• Are at least 18 years old
• Participants are expected to have experience of the Erasmus+ Youth programme and KA1 in particular
Training course in how to deal with conflict situations in youth exchanges
The training course is for youth workers/leaders who have implemented youth exchanges and feel the need to improve their understanding and ability to deal with potential conflict that can arise.
The aim of the training course is to develop and enhance the ability of youth workers/leaders to recognize and deal with conflict situations that can arise during the life cycle of youth exchanges
The experience of the participants will be the starting point of the activities and we will explore potential conflict situations through theatre, discussions, group work and creative methods.
The training will be very practical and one of the outcomes will be a publication on how to deal with conflict in the life cycle of youth exchanges
Fishbowl Youth has 10 years experience in organizing, implementing and participating in youth exchanges in and out of Europe.
We broad experience of all aspects and have over the years encountered various difficult and conflict situations. Experience has shown that dealing with these situations at an early stage can greatly improve the whole experience.
Some more photos:]]>