Name of the organization: YMCA Bitola
Brief description of the organization
The YMCA Bitola’s mission is to empower young people and develop the inherent potential they have by providing them with the skills and knowledge necessary to become active leaders in their communities. This is realized through experiential education that celebrates diversity, builds academic and social competencies.
Problem addressed by the good practice
The good practice addresses the transfer of knowledge for non-formal education in an outdoor setting.
The main target groups are high school and university students.
Summary of the good practice
The Volunteer Know-How concept is carried out by running two national outdoor summer camps. This lasts since 2002.
Through the partnership between YMCA Bitola and the Peace Corps, the camps are run. Every year, in an open call, young people can apply Peace Corps volunteers who are designated in different parts of North Macedonia and working with different schools, NGOs and municipalities and are free during the summer period. These volunteers have been raised in the US, a country with a strong camp culture and by default are skilled. YMCA Bitola mirrors them with locally recruited volunteers to work together. In the beginning, the program started with 100% volunteers from partner countries. Currently, the local and foreign volunteers are equal numbers. Over time, the goal is to raise more local volunteers so the program can run completely independently. In the beginning, YMCA Bitola was financed by grants, but in the last 5 years for this program, the team introduced corporate fundraising model (75%), crowdfunding (10%) and participant fees (15%) as a way of financing it.
The volunteers themselves evaluate the initiative. They report what they have learned, and the returning rate of volunteers raises.
Since the Peace Corps is the only one in the developing countries, this can be considered to be done with other group volunteers schemes.
Videos of the training sessions of Volunteer Know-How are available on YouTube.