Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Friday, 18 July to Sunday, 27 July 2008 / Olympos Karpathos / Greece

Summer volunteer program 2008 in Northern Karpathos & Saria Island.

Following the volunteer program in 2007, MEDITERRANEAN SOS Network (info: ) renewed the cooperation with the Management Agency of Karpathos & Saria* for the 2nd summer program.

For 8 day in total, two groups of volunteers [A΄ group (18/7/08 – 24/7/08): Victoria, Lia, Rika & Katerina / B΄ group (22/7/08 - 27/7/07): Theofilos (group leader), Valia, Chryssoula, Maria, Alkistis, Nikolaos, Klairi & Maria] worked in the pathways, cleaned beaches and organized on their own games in the afternoon for the children in the Management Agency Office in Diafani. The C΄ group has now taken over.

The A΄group had the chance to participate in the local fair of Saint Elias (20/7), with acknowledgements to Mr. George Zografidis, responsible for the small church on the top of Profitis Elias Mountain (719 m).

Both groups participated in the 1st workshop “The development prospects of the protected area of Karpathos – Saria and the significance of the Management Agency” (23/7), where MEDITERRANEAN SOS Network was invited to present last year’s volunteer work program.

I must thank the - partly new - human chain responsible for the protection of the area Eirini – Sisi – Thodoris & George – Ntinos – Manolis. People in Diafani were again more that great to us! Girls where dressed in traditional costumes with the precious help of Mrs Anna Nioti. Many thanks to Yiannis V. Hatzivassilis ( for giving us the opportunity to learn more about Olympos tradition through his freshly opened museum. This year’s program was the reason I was looking for to go back…
What’s next?

* (Management Agency of the Northern Karpathos, Saria and the surrounding marine area / NATURA 2000 Network – code GR4210003)

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Friday, 11 July 2008 & Saturday, 12 July 2008

MedSOS ( volunteer & group leaders’ seminar – summer volunteer programmes 2008

Seven (7) group leaders and six (6) volunteers gathered on Friday 11th afternoon at MedSOS office. Eirini, Anni and Nikos (the president) from MedSOS welcomed all of us making short remarks about the reasons in implementing the program as well as the expected outcomes. Following, an exercise named “What will I put inside my backpack” started in order for the participants to reveal what they plan to carry along. After filling a list, they were asked to join in groups according to the programme they will attend and proceed in comparing and maybe end up in sharing some items from their list. Information regarding the transportation mean, hour of departure and other info were also gathered in order for the group leaders to coordinate their group by best means. At the end a small white paper was given to everyone to write down, in anonymity, something that he/she would like or he/she is afraid of facing during the programme or whatever else he/she would like to say but not out loud! The papers were gathered, put in envelopes separately and were kept for Saturday’s seminar. The next thing to speak about was what MedSOS is? Participants expressed right and false ideas regarding MedSOS giving us the opportunity to explain thoroughly, among others, what is the relation between the volunteer of MedSOS and MedSOS itself.


Seven (7) group leaders attended Saturday 12th morning the outdoor seminar. A quick name and ice-breaking game (stand in line according to the alphabetic order of names, height, experience in non-formal education, shoe size) and an energizer (mission impossible) was chosen for the start.

After that a line with a YES and a NO at each end was formed on the ground. The following questions were addressed and participants were asked to move on either side.
a) Everyone can be a good leader
b) The group leader should help volunteers reach the conclusion he/she wants to
c) The group leader should leave his/her personal values at home
d) Practise is the best school
e) The seminar has as a scope to transfer (and) knowledge
f) In a seminar there should be recipes given to leaders

The answers were as follows, giving us the opportunity to debate on the different opinions expressed regarding the role of a group leader.
a) 4 YES – 3 NO
b) 0 YES – 7 NO
c) 0 YES – 7 NO
d) 7 YES – 0 NO
e) 5 YES – 2 NO
f) 0 YES – 7 NO

Furthermore we discussed: Who is the best group leader? What is the role of the group leader? (friend, teacher, trainer, colleague, organizer, supervisor…why?) Does my answer suites my shelf? Why I filled up the application?

Next thing to do was to speak about the “best volunteer”. In a big carton, the group leaders were asked to write down the characteristics - according to their view – of the best volunteer. At the end, one by one, gave a short description of the best volunteer.

A team building activity, well known as “Sinking sand” was the next thing to do. Although participants didn’t obey fully the rules and weren’t quiet as they were passing the sinking sand they did a good job.

Each leader got by e-mail the previous week a hypothetical exercise that included a short note about the program, a question regarding possible misunderstandings and 2 or 3 risk management cases (all of them have happened in the past in similar experiences). After finishing “Sinking sand” each leader expressed what would be his/her reaction to the risks given and debate started. Two more possible risks were given and each group leader was asked to make a draft program taking into consideration all the above as well as the notes the volunteers made the previous day. Two people referred to the privilege a group leader has to set out of the group a volunteer...

At the end a small talk was made regarding the value of … evaluating a program not only to MedSOS but for ourselves primarily. Maybe at the end of the summer an evaluation of all the summer volunteer programmes would be a nice idea…

I hope this short seminar provided experience hints and most of all … precious time for the group leaders to prepare for the summer volunteer programme they were chosen for.

I would like to thank Pepi & Sofia, Fania & John, Mariantina & Konstantinos and Theofilos for attending the seminar.