Compass Youth Camp 2016
23 June – 1 July
What are the ingredients needed to make an inspiring camp that will empower all its participants to confidently weave sustainability into any projects that they may be involved with, as well as into their lives in general, and teach others how to do the same? Well, we attempted to build on the success of Compass Youth Camp (CYC) 2015 and make it even bigger and better for this year and we had great results! Here is our recipe:
Hand-pick four awesome youth facilitators and keep in a productive environment in the run up to your camp. They should come bursting with knowledge and enthusiasm but you might want to season with a little courage and second-hand experience before adding the rest of the ingredients.
Next, throw in a hardworking media intern, who will give the camp a fun and energising aftertaste, and gradually add eighteen campers with an interest in sustainability. For maximum flavour, find your campers from all across the globe.
Transfer to a beautiful campus and really get your ingredients mixing by throwing in four fun team building activities of varying difficulty. Add water to your team building activities if you like your camp to come tasting of laughter.
You’ll need to use your pre-made Accelerator Tools (see below) to get your camp to rise – ensuring that your ingredients grow into a filling end product. While your camp is rising, find a suitable rural community – one that has eight curious interviewees, a secluded riverside lodge and a local school full of excited children who love to play with visitors. Leave your camp in the community overnight and when you take it out the next day it will be shaking with all its newfound inspiration and ideas.
Turn back to your Accelerator Tools to turn those ideas into something digestible and serve them to the interviewees. Finally, leave your camp and your Accelerator Tools with a group of volunteer learners. If you’ve done it right, your campers will be able to teach the learners what they have just learned themselves.
Okay, so what are these Accelerator Tools? They are probably better-known as the Compass Tools although the Compass is actually only one portion of the full package. For a detailed description you should go to the About Us page on the Compass Education website but for brevity’s sake I will simply quote their opening sentence here:
Compass is a methodology for orienting people to sustainability.
Compass Education has chosen to host its annual camp at Traidhos for its opening two years. The camp teaches participants how to use the Compass and other simple yet highly effective tools that take you step-by-step from knowing nothing of an entity (a community, an organisation, a personal life, for example) to being able to identify areas that are vulnerable or secure in terms of sustainability. After the analysis, you are more able to take effective action to improve the sustainability of the entity without compromising other areas.
Using the Compass to guide your analysis enables you to see the entity as a whole – a system of interconnected components – and predict how changing one part of the system might affect other parts, even though there might not be an obvious causal relationship to the untrained eye.
Our camp participants learned on-the-job as they went to a highland village for the first time and built up an understanding of it by observation and by interacting with and interviewing locals. Once back on campus they came up with three different action plans that they proposed in person to representatives from the community, who were eager to hear their ideas.
The final day of the camp gave the participants the opportunity to test their mettle by teaching others how to use some of the tools that they had learned that week. Their audience was a mix of their fellow campers and volunteer learners from a local YMCA group, as well as one teacher who came to see how she can implement Compass learning in her school. Before the big day our participants were trained in basic facilitation techniques by the four youth facilitators that had done such a great job of guiding them through every step of the Compass process.
One of the great things about CYC2016 is that everyone involved had the chance to benefit from the experience meaningfully and long-term. Campers received a Level 2 Qualification from Compass Education’s Youth Empowerment Programme, meaning that they are eligible to train others if they seek prior support from the charity. Facilitators gained a Level 3 Qualification. The villagers at Ban Mae Mae – the community that we visited – heard some great ideas and were offered support from our campers in initiating those ideas. Our sixteen-year-old media intern gained valuable experience and is currently putting together a video to distribute to participants as well as writing articles for publication. And all that was achieved with the usual fun and lasting memories that any camp has!