Evening programs of volunteer stories and exchanges of experiences, a barbecue in a boathouse, board game party, quiz night and team building games in the youth office. There was no shortage of community programs this month, while the volunteer psychologists, the tutors and the members of the Ócsa team enthusiastically dedicated themselves to their tasks.
The month began fabulously: in the 2nd week of April we held an event entitled Story evening. Encounters, tales, help and service in the past and present. Miklós Vecsei , the vice president of the Charity Service recounted to the Malteser Youth volunteers his experiences, and the youngsters shared their experiences thus far. In the evening, all could bring their story books hidden at the corners of the attic to offer to the children of the Ócsa living community.
On Saturday April 11, we organized for our volunteers a barbecue and a day full of outdoor activities. The whimsical April weather was in our favour: a few days earlier we were still wearing thick coats suffering from a cold spring, but by the weekend a bright sunshine greeted us in the Malteser Charity’s boathouse at Békásmegyer. Participants and organizers from a variety of volunteer programs were present. The paprikás krumpli (paprika potato – traditional Hungarian dish) preparation work and cooking left time for walks along the Danube river, group games and discussions.
The next week on Sunday we held for the second time a team building session at the Rákóczi street office. Having many years of experience in youth work, Yu-Yu and Balázs taught the Malteser Youth volunteers warm-up games, energizing and thinking games. The four hours of lengthy discussions served a dual purpose: on the one hand it brought the participants closer together, and on the other hand the games may be incorporated into programs later on in Ócsa and for other children and youngsters.
The Board Game Party series continued: on the evening of April 23rd, for the second time we organized the gathering in cooperation with the Játszóház. We tried out many new games over many hours: the winners of the more creative scribbling game Firkaland were those with good spatial vision, the team liberation from the temple was a great success as well. A new game became the favorite of the evening: the Avalon maffia board game wherein the innocent themes of persuasion, teamwork, falsehood lie at the focal point of the game. The next day on April 24, the Rákóczi street office hosted a quiz bowl, where Malteser Youth participated with two groups.
The joy of the game came from the volunteers going further and making sure the younger ones weren’t left out. With the exception of Easter Sunday, we went every weekend to visit the Ócsa children. This month, for the bigger kids, we focused on the theme of relationships through various means. In the second week of April we organized a film club: we watched Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, which recounts the adventures of two young children in love, with a backdrop of absurd scenes from a boy scouts camp. Two weeks later we continued with the boy-girl theme: with the help of story dices the aim was to tell stories to the kids (about love, if possible), and in an imaginary dating advertisement, they youngsters could introduce themselves and talk about what they expect from a boyfriend or girlfriend. Due to the good weather, we organized for the younger children activities outside. In the Ócsa playground the kids hunted for hidden sweets, and on the soccer field many could participate in various ball and team games.
We also continued our tutoring program this month. In the last one and a half months of hard work, the determined volunteers got to know the kids from difficult backgrounds even better. The tutors work with them on a weekly basis.
The volunteer psychologists increasingly got involved in the work they have been doing for more than 3 months now. After the interviews with the program’s main organizer and other leaders, we featured in our article series the side of the young volunteers. In April, the psychologists dealing with the younger children spoke about their experiences.
Paralelly with the volunteer and community programs, there are a number of other events and developments taking place. Now the volunteers will have a more uniform appearance at events, since after many months of planning, the Malteser Youth t-shirts are now ready! The “I don’t have a pen” statement may no longer be used as an excuse since at the start of the month we each received our own pens.
And now, a few interesting facts from our website traffic data. It shouldn’t be a big surprise that Hungary comprises the greatest number of our readers, but nevertheless the other spots on the top 10 list deserve acknowledgement: in second place stands the United States, followed by Germany and Romania, Great Britain, Indonesia, Japan, the Netherlands and China.
For the Germans’ runner-up performance the reason might be a certain visit. At the beginning of April, for three days, the leader and the speaker of the Malteser Jugend Deutschland were guests at the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta. The two German women met their Hungarian colleagues and were given a tour of the different bodies within the organization: they saw the playground, the temporary accommodation for the homeless, and they even made it to Tarnabod. The Malteser Youth also had an opportunity to meet for a group discussion at the youth office. The two experienced leaders gave insight into the workings of the German organizational system, they talked about their own projects, and suggestions for future cooperation opportunities were discussed.
Translated by: Tiffany Kovacs