Leading Summer School Organisers: Local of the Month – AEGEE-Sofia

This month the Local of the Month is to be found in Bulgaria. Organising the Leadership Summer School (LSS) was a challenge for AEGEE-Sofia but how they managed to execute it makes them the Local of the Month. The AEGEEan interviewed the board to hear about the event as well as the antenna.


Can you tell us a bit about AEGEE-Sofia?

AEGEE-Sofia was established in 1991 as a non-governmental voluntary organization. Since 1992 it has been a part of the Network of AEGEE-Europe. Amongst priority topics of AEGEE-Sofia are non-formal education, ecology, and intercultural dialogue.  The organisation is taking action to emphasise the differences and similarities of people from geographically and culturally remote regions in order to foster mutual understanding and respect amongst our members. AEGEE-Sofia has 50 members and half of them came because of the great Summer University Project. Around 10-14 people come to weekly meetings regularly and there are around 10 very active members.

What is special about AEGEE-Sofia?

In AEGEE-Sofia, we make mistakes. We get rejected. We get satisfaction. We celebrate others’ success. We take action. We are fast learners. We create stories. We live in the moment. We turn off the TV. We live out loud. We get results. We develop. We love each other. We have fun. We love AEGEE.

Why did you choose to organise Leadership Summer School (LSS)?

Leadership Summer School is important for AEGEE-Sofia because it was a challenge and a chance for improving the members’ organising and management skills. It was one step forward for our local. We, as AEGEE-Sofia team felt the opportunities for all people involved in LSS – participants, trainers and organisers to find new friends, future partners and new motivation. It is indeed one big jump in the name of future worldwide networking.  LSS is the best place where organisers and participants meet people ready to empower their knowledge, experience, to realise each others’ stability and prosperity, to build a bridge between youngsters and to make a change in society. We know that Leadership Summer School broadens your horizons and it awakes the leader inside you!

How was the experience of organising such a big event?

Organising this project was perfect – it sounds nice but it is just too good to be true. The Organising Committee (OC) faced many difficulties during preparation and implementation of Leadership Summer School Sofia 2013 (LSS 2013). But they managed to find good solutions. Everybody from OC had specific tasks but there were times when they needed to help each other in writing an article for a media, writing letters to externals, preparing welcome packages, etc. Sometimes the work was flexible.

During the training days (July 21-30, 2013) there were around 25 people who had different tasks. There was a main team of eight people who were working all the time and four volunteers who brought lots of energy and smiles! AEGEE-Sofia had sent a call for volunteers through Timeheroes.org (a Bulgarian platform for volunteering) and Facebook.

One of the amazing things of LSS 2013 was that people were always on time – they were not late for training,lunch, games or parties!

Organising LSS 2013 was fun but it was also a job – with tasks to be done, deadlines to be met and a lot of coordination between participants, trainers and organisers. It was an inspiring project – with many interesting people, conversations and dancing! The time was not enough to have enough conversations with everybody but this is just a beginning of new friendships and new projects.

In your antenna you also have quite a few active European level members.
How do you promote the European level to your members?

In AEGEE-Sofia people believe that AEGEE gives many possibilities for development of new skills both on local and international level. So we have made many workshops about goals and activities of Working Groups, Commissions, Project Teams and other bodies of AEGEE-Europe during Local Training Courses organized in the last four years.

Moreover, the board of AEGEE-Sofia is regularly looking for information from lists and news from AEGEE-Europe about initiatives and projects on European level. We forward this information to the members’ mailing list and Facebook group. If some people show interest, they can either join a team working on the European level or they can organise activity of a European project on the local level. The last example of that is “Europe on Track – Capture the Future of Europe: Non-Formal Education” which took place on 17th December 2012.

What lies in the future of AEGEE-Sofia?

In terms of activities we are planning, there will be a team-building weekend in autumn. We are thinking of making an exchange with another AEGEE local soon. We are also looking for calls for partnerships in projects funded by Youth in Action for the next deadline – 3rd October.

Then there will be a local Agora for election of a new board in December.

Written by Patricia Anthony, AEGEE-Koebenhavn