By Ana Lukic (YES 2018-2019, Bosnia and Herzegovina, hosted by World Link in Fountain, CO)
The official Virtual Alumni Leaders Training (VALT) took place from March 30 to April 10. The workshop was comprised of two YES alumni from each YES country. Asja Alispahic (YES 2017-2018, Bosnia and Herzegovina, hosted by AFS in Warren, NJ) and I got the opportunity to attend this year’s VALT. To best utilize our time and learn as much as possible we attended different seminar sessions and roundtable discussions. At the various sessions we learned and discussed many topics, such as leadership skills and how to improve them, project planning and management, brainstorming, creative thinking, and fundraising. Those two weeks were really remarkable! Spending time with people from all around the world online and exchanging ideas with them was inspiring. The VALT sessions helped us keep our mind away from the daily quarantine routine of overthinking and worrying. It also made us think about possible projects to implement through online platforms to respect local restrictions. The workshop created a comfortable environment for all, helping attendees be more communicative and open-minded, which fueled discussion.
As a result of our VALT experience, we were inspired to implement a “mini” version of VALT in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for our fellow YES alumni. We felt that right now is the ideal time to organize an online interactive workshop because everyone is at home and has free time to attend. We took certain aspects from VALT for our training, but kept it primarily as a roundtable discussion with topics applicable to our surroundings, to get as many ideas within our YES community as possible. We were joined by our alumni coordinator Merima Muhic (YES 2015-2016, Bosnia and Herzegovina, hosted by ACES in Apex, NC), and Amela Nevaljalovic (YES 2016-2017, Bosnia and Herzegovina, hosted by CIEE in Sterling, CO), Dajan Brnada (YES 2019-2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina, hosted by PAX in Olympia, WA), and Monia Djudaric (YES 2019-2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina, hosted by World Link in Hanford, CA), as well as American Councils staff members, Nikolina Garaca (YES Programs Local Coordinator) and Elma Beslic (Finance and Administrative Officer/Program Coordinator). We had a really nice time talking about our YES community and what steps we can take to improve it. This event was truly inspiring and encouraged everyone in attendance to take a lead in local programming. Moving forward we want to implement another version of the training, but this time it will be in-person and will cover more topics with the newest generation of alumni as a part of the second re-entry event. We are very excited about it and cannot wait to meet and welcome them!