Setting the vision of the Malteser Youth International Network was one of the goals of the meeting in Bratislava. Five working groups, new plans and future projects are forming among the nine partner countries.
Starting the cooperation back in 2013 within the frames of the first international project, the participating countries formed the network officially during a meeting in Romania, in March 2015. Since then the network had the chance to meet again in Budapest last June and to start cooperating with Vision 2050, the international and borderless community of the Order of Malta led by the younger members and volunteers, which provides support and financial assistance for works of the young generation. Following this opportunity, in the end of last year a new 2-year-long project started to develop a strong youth network for a long term positive change in Central-Eastern Europe.
The objectives are to consolidate the network of the Order of Malta Youth structures, to build a network of competences among the members, to facilitate the exchange of good practices, to increase the local impact and to gain recognition of the Malteser youth network internationally.
The kick-off meeting of the new project took place in Bratislava in mid-February. The hosting country, Slovakia was one of the new partner countries (besides Germany and Poland) joining the network of the 6 founding countries (Albania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania, Ukraine) from this year.
After welcoming and getting to know the new representatives, each country had the chance for a short presentation of their Malteser Youth activities.
The following day after discussion rounds concentrating on key words and ideas, the final vision of the network was born: “Inspire youth work that matters.”
The next day started with an early morning mass: the network received the honour of the visit of Mons. Stanislav Zvolenský, Archbishop of Bratislava and President of the Slovak Bishops’ Conference, and Msgr. Tibor Hajdu, the chief chaplain of the Maltézska pomoc Slovensko, who greeted the participants from all the countries.
Afterwards, a group game followed, which was meant to foster the network cohesion and communication. The story brought the network back to the old imaginary times, when some sailors wanted to find a new land and settle down in Central-Eastern Europe after crossing the Pannonian Sea.
During their adventure they had to face some challenges which they could only solve as groups. After completing the tasks, a discussion round took place in the separate groups to have some feedback on the roles and the cooperation during the game.
After setting the mood for the team work, five working groups (programs, human resources, representation, administration and fundraising) were distinguished in order to share the tasks and responsibilities within the network. All participants had the opportunity to decide which group they would like to be part of during the next year. Working on the short term concrete plans, the groups identified the actions, the next steps and set the deadlines. In the end, the plans were brought together, and the members prepared a GANTT chart, adding up the Plan of Action of the network until the end of 2016.
After three days of working together, building important personal connections among the members and starting the process of the network development, the last morning finished with a revision and a feedback round about the last days. Being back to nine different countries, all around Europe, the network continues walking together on the road to inspire youth work that matters.