Leadership Summer School – a possible recipe to change your life

Be aware! Leadership Summer School (LSS) may change your life! – and they are not even sorry…”–  says Helene Winnecke Jensen and this caught me on the hook. What is so unique about the LSS everybody is talking about? The AEGEEan is here to investigate for you.

Firstly I go to the website and find out that Leadership Summer School is an intensive learning and networking experience, aiming to increase quality and readiness of youth NGO leaders, sharing best practices and improving leadership skills among prominent members of each participating organisation. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

The enthusiastic OC

Second – it will take place from 21st until 30th of July and will be organised by AEGEE-Sofia together with Zero Generation. Sofia is a destination with many low-cost connectionS and there are more than 100 places, not only for AEGEE but for more than 25 students’ NGOs. Sounds really promising to me.

Third – I asked former participants what kind of experience it is. From David Čechlovský I hear ‘My past life (before LSS) was one huge grey color. But the LSS has influenced my perception and now I see colors everywhere! Love, passion, trust … everything seems so correct now!’, then Bogdan Burtescu is telling me ‘My world is a better place now’. Is this really happening? Is it really so cool? OK. Let’s check with the organisers: Herve Tunga from BEST, one of the establishers of LSS, currently member of the Supervisory Board and Trainer at the event and Cafer Saatchi from AEGEE-Sofia, Main Coordinator of LSS 2013. See what they told me…

The AEGEEan: Herve, what is your position towards LSS? You are part of the Supervisory board, trainer or a Main coordinator? Could you tell us more about this?

Inspiring trainers from LSS 2012, Budapest

Herve: When we were creating LSS, there was no position. I am working for the development of the project. Therefore I contribute on every level and as much as possible. I joined the project to develop the Training and Learning side. Then I continued to facilitate the organisation of LSS and to ensure it stays an event that delivers the best learning environment and experience  possible. Despite all the roles I use to take, I am fundamentally a Trainer at LSS.

And what is the role of the Supervisory board?

Herve: The role of Supervisory Board is to support the organisation of LSS, to monitor the progress of the team working on the LSS edition. The Supervisory Board is also expected to ensure that regular activity reports are produced and communicated to all stakeholders of the event (Zero Generation, partnering Organisations, Organisation Committee, Trainers, and Participants).

Cafer, why Leadership Summer School?

Cafer: We, in AEGEE-Sofia like to take up challenges. Such a challenge for us is to organise Leadership Summer School 2013. There were different reasons that led towards our decision. Among them was to provide the opportunity for 100 young people from all over the world, coming from more than 25 students’ organizations, to lead and learn from different trainings in a non-formal environment, shaping them to become the leaders of tomorrow. We are giving our best together with our partners from Zero Generation to organise one of the most significant annual trainings for the NGO world.

And why just not simple Summer University?

Cafer:I really appreciate what Summer Universities are providing to AEGEE and its members talking about cultural exchange and non-formal education. This is the reason this year AEGEE-Sofia is again taking part in the Summer University Project, organising “My AEGEE Balkan Beach Fairytale”. However, as I said earlier, we like to rise to challenges and we want to provide to AEGEE and the members of other NGOs a high-quality training.

What is an event without participants

Your antenna has organised SUs last three years. What is the difference in the organisation for the moment?

Cafer: There is a huge difference between organising a Leadership Summer School and a Summer University. The first is the size of the event. LSS will get together more than 100 people, which is three times bigger than any Summer University we organised so far, which means that we will need much more people involved in the organisation. Other difference is the concept of the event. The priorities of LSS are the trainings and the opportunity for exchanging ideas between the NGOs, compared with the Summer University where the social program is prior. Among our tasks is to provide the best training facilities for our participants.

Herve, How many Leadership Summer Schools have you organised so far?

Herve: Being present since the beginning, I can say I contributed to organise all  the LSS so far, which means 6.

What keeps motivating you?

Herve: LSS is an amazing concept. As a trainer, given opportunity to empower your participants, to facilitate their learning with innovative methods, to help creating a supportive environment is amazing. Being able to do that together with the most professional, skilled and caring trainers is a blessing. Sharing of best practices also contributes to each other’s development.

What could people expect this summer?

Herve: If we are able to improve the learning experience, to initiate and/or strengthen career paths and to empower every single LSS participants, then we all would have levelled up as group and as individuals.

Cafer, what is the biggest challenge for you?

Cafer and his devoted OC from AEGEE-Sofia

Cafer: To be honest, personally for me the biggest challenge is working and cooperating with partners from more than 25 students’ NGO at the same time. Though as part of AEGEE we have good experience and have been cooperating with different partners through the years. Therefore, I can say that I have a positive feeling towards the outcome of the event.

Tell us how is organised – you provide logistics, Supervisory Board provide content? How do you collaborate?

Cafer: The main task of AEGEE-Sofia is to provide logistics, good PR and FR of the event and the task of the Supervisory board is to help and lead us to the best outcome. The content part will be taken care of by the Trainers team and I can say that after really had selection (63 great applications) we will have the best possible trainers team this year. However, except the logistic part our local is engaging also a lot of emotions, sleepless nights and efforts to make this LSS the best so far.

Thank you, both I wish you success with this great event!

Keep in mind Application period will be open until 14th of April!  For more information visit us on: http://leadershipsummerschool.org/2013/03/apply-to-participate-in-lss2013/ and on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/leadershipsummerschool

Written by Liliya Buyukliyska, AEGEE-Sofia. Prepared in cooperation with Elena Antova, AEGEE-Sofia.