This year the World at Play team consists of 7 members; Rena from China, Siobhan from Ireland, Beth from Wales, Nour from Isreal, Luuk from the Netherlands, Joe from Wales and Gard from Norway. Getting to know each other while playing different games throughout the training week was an amazing way to combine experiential learning with team building.
Mike, the founder of WAP came to Atlantic College and explained how the organisation started and what its goals were. Alongside Rich, one of the members of the very first World at P lay expeditions, Mike trained us to plan and effectively deliver sessions for a variety of different people. A personal highlight of training was learning to lead games using made up languages, to simulate communicating with non-english speakers. It was very eyeopening and allowed us to fully understand the difficulties but also the feasibility of nonverbal communication.
In addition to this, we were lucky enough to work with two partner organisations in Wales. Our first ever real session experience was with a youth group in Bridgend, which was a valuable learning opportunity for all of us. In the morning we planned the session but ended up adjusting the plan to best suit the young people we were working with. We started off with a few circle games such as “Wounded Soldier” and “Big Boss,” focusing on observation skills and reaction speed. Then we moved on to more movement-based games like Bench ball and Hockey. By the end of the session, both us and the children there were smiling and sweating, usually the sign of a good time spent being active. Afterwards, we had a review session with Rich. His insights into our strengths and weaknesses really allowed us to grow and improve as a team, and also taught us how to use reflective methods to evaluate our performance for future sessions.
The next day, we worked with a group of young people with disabilities in Cardiff. For many people in the group, it was the first time they had worked with disabled individuals. Luckily, due to our fantastic training from the World at Play facilitators and Simon from Disability Sport Wales, we went in and delivered a successful and fun session. It taught us to be flexible, enthusiastic, and how to adapt games to prevent exclusion.
Being able to play games all week, both new and old ones, made us feel like children again. Full of energy, excitement, and curiosity, we are ready to begin this 10-week adventure in the Balkans and meet amazing people along the way.