30. October 2018 Matyáš Jirát

Joys of giving back

This summer and start of school year, I have been learning about what it really means to give back. I had questions, is it enjoyable? Will it give me something? I have managed to answer them for myself and would like to guide you through my thoughts during my reflection.

I have been a long-time participant at English Camp led by ing. Pavel Trefný. Last year I have already gone as a leader but this year, I have had more responsibilities on my plate. There I had created friendships and relationships with other participants, staff and other leaders. One of the joys I found is in trying to give back better, than what you’ve received. And delivering. That’s not to say, what was before was bad, but moving the line further is fulfilling. Creating an even better experience for participants. I was in charge of games and interactions with the students, as well as translation. Always having a bunch of games in the back pocket is incredibly valuable I found out because at any point and anywhere you need to lead an activity having an appropriate game or icebreaker or energizer helps to appear professional as well as is great for community building.

Also, I’ve had the opportunity to explore that right after the camp, as I was one of the leaders of International Student Orientation at Bennington College. Having games prepared was great as if there is an unused space, I could implement an icebreaker activity and strengthen the incoming First Year community. Not always we get the immediate satisfaction of seeing work done but observing that they still keep sitting together at the table in the cafeteria gives me a sense of pride. One of the reasons I have decided to go through the application process for Orientation Leader and work my best to be selective among other people was that my Orientation Leader has been checking on me throughout the entire freshman year. It felt very welcoming and pleasant. I’ve wanted to give back similar feelings to the incoming year, that their transitions into a new country can be as smooth as possible. I’ve gone through it too and know how helpful a reaching out hand can be.

I believe the idea of giving back is prevalent in my life and I am glad I could reflect upon it. Already in high school in the Czech Republic with my class we were doing different events to give back, organize events, help out in school tournaments etc. I think each community we go to, the best we can do is when we leave it, that it is better off than prior us. I’ve read this in a book once and I liked it a lot. I want to live by it.

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