Networking event: Estonian National Youth Council (ENL) midnight Coloured Glasses workshop

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A Coloured Glasses (CG) workshop was held in Nelijärve, Estonia for 65 participants with the aim of reaching out to different youth organisations and introducing them to the CG concept. The aim of the workshop was to familiarize the participants to the concept of culture and adaptation and to spread the methods of the CG through networking with the participants throughout the session.

For the CG workshop to introduce the participants to differences among cultures, the SWITCH activity (from the new CG manual) was chosen. Since the theme of the workshop was Europe’s future in a multicultural world, we as facilitators felt that this was a topic very much related to global citizenship and found that using SWITCH was the best way of doing it for such a large group.

We started out by familiarising them with the context, how they fit in in this world, how do they feel, are they safe, and so on, by asking them 10 yes or no questions.
As they were more motivated to go on with the session, we let them make a line by using the “Alphabet jungle” from the “games” section in the CG manual. We then let them divide into 10 groups (by counting to 10). With these 10 groups we then started the SWITCH. This was an emotional game for the participants – confusion, frustration, laughter was seen everywhere. As the winners of each table moved, the emotions of the people that moved and those who stayed put was seen and heard, eg. a person moved from a table with normal playing cards to a table with miniature playing cards and this change made that person laugh so loud and contagiously, that the rest of the table followed his lead and started laughing as well.

We did four rounds of moving around and then split the ten groups into two – making around 30 people for each group. With these larger groups we started a discussion to talk about what happened using the 4Fs – findings, facts, feelings, future.

During the discussion, as a facilitator, I could really sense that the majority understood the aim of this session and participants started making connections to their own experiences. There was one person who found it difficult to understand that cultures can mix and thus during the discussion it was important to address his confusion and to not leave him frustrated by his questions. During the discussion it was good to see that the participants truly wanted to express their feelings and this showed that the exercise chosen for this group of participants was beneficial and helpful towards themselves as well.

At the end of the discussion to wrap up the session we explained to the participants how they can have more CG sessions for their organisations since the participants were representatives of their organisations and explained that acceptance of different cultures is good for teamwork.

Written by: Laura Nõlvak, YFU Estonia CG trainer