July is a season of rains accompanied by landslides and roadblocks made worse by the road widening works going on. However, this did not deter the Youth Center Division, Department of Youth & Sports or the youth leaders/volunteers from the 9 Youth Centers from traveling to Chumey, Bumthang to participate in the 2nd National Youth Volunteers Exchange Program from July 8-10, 2018 at Sonam Kuenphen Higher Secondary School, Chumey, Bumthang.
The exchange program for the youth volunteers who are also leaders of the Youth Centers, in total 13 today was started from 2017 and this was continued this year too owing to the benefit that it has given to the youth participating in the program.
This year volunteers from 9 Youth Centers participated in the program viz Trashigang Youth Center, Mongar Youth Center, Zhemgang Youth Center, Phuentsholing Youth Center, Paro Youth Center, Khasadrapchu Youth Center, Changjiji Youth Center and Harmony Youth Center with a total of 88 youth (40 male, 48 female). These youth all belonging to the above Youth Centers have formed a youth volunteer group each and support the respective Youth Centers in raising the visibility of the Youth Centers as well as in organizing activities for other youth through the Youth Centers. Each year, elections are also held amongst them to elect office bearers viz President, Vice President, Treasurer & Member Secretary.
The main reason for organizing such a program is to offer a platform for the youth volunteers to come together, present to each other the activities that they conducted and in so doing, talk of their achievements as well as challenges faced as volunteers. This year too, the youth volunteer groups made power point presentations, competed with each other on having the best displays and developed action plans to implement for another year. Good practices from each other were also noted to take back home. Sessions on values and value clarifications were held to make the youth understand and identify values which are integral to their development as a good and happy human being. Further, the local health officials were invited to give basic information on First Aid and skills to the youth to enable them to help themselves as well as others.
These sessions were interspersed with energizers which gave the youth a platform to conquer their shyness and gain confidence. The opportunity to present and answer questions allowed the youth to be mentally challenged and develop intellectually.
In the mornings, the young people participated in physical exercises which were intended to teach them about being physically active and healthy. The evenings were occupied with cultural competitions and showcasing talent. A trip to the famous Kurje Lhakhang and Jambay Lhakhang was also included, without which coming to Bumthang would be incomplete!! The youth were provided with a history of the two famous monasteries to enable them to have a better meaning and respect for the historical & spiritual heritages.
Hence, even though the program was aimed at bringing the volunteers together, it had an amalgamation of capacity development of the youth, new friendships forged with a lot of fun thrown in!
This was possible with support from UNICEF.
Organized by the Youth Center Division, Department of Youth & Sports, Ministry of Education in coordination with respective Local Governments