Leadership Seminar 2013

Leadership Seminar 2013

"Beyond Borders"

In Brief | Aims | Participants | Methods | Results | Program | Varna Conference

Welcome to Leadership Seminar

May 29-30, 2013 
Exchange of experiences and finding joint solutions for common problems
25 leaders from 14 PTPI chapters in 10 countries
Youth Centre Varna, Bulgaria


  • Enable active European PTPI chapter leaders to meet, get to know each other and exchange experiences
  • Introduce PTPI leaders to different methods of informal learning and team work, which they can use for their own projects, namely: Brainstorming Techniques and Peer Group Counseling
  • Name concrete issues or problems PTPI leaders are currently facing in their voluntary efforts, and find solutions as a team effort, using the method of Peer Group Counseling
  • Work with PTPI leaders on topics of interest, for example membership recruitment and the International Visitors Program, or else as proposed by participants

Group at Seminar

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 Map of Countries
Twenty-five leaders from the following 14 chapters in 10 different countries:
  • Berlin, Germany (Community Chapter)
  • Bern, Switzerland (Community Chapter)
  • Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria (University Chapter)
  • Brussels, Belgium (Community Chapter)
  • Interlaken, Switzerland (Community Chapter)
  • Greater Phoenix, Arizona, the US (Community Chapter)
  • Karlstad, Sweden (Community Chapter)
  • Katowice, Poland (Student Chapter)
  • Milano, Italy (Community Chapter)
  • Plovdiv, Bulgaria (Student Chapter)
  • Pravets, Bulgaria (Student Chapter)
  • Tallinn, Estonia (Community Chapter)
  • Varna, Bulgaria (Student Chapter)
  • Yerevan, Armenia (University Chapter)

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The following rules need to be respected for successful brainstorming: Any idea is welcome; ideas of others can be taken up for further development, no criticism, no depreciation, no prioritizing, no selection during the brainstorming phase and quantity exceeds quality.

During the Seminar, the following brainstorming methods were employed:Presenting Poster

  • Out of the Box: Encourage participants to think about more creative and innovative ways of solving problems. What are the limits of the box?

  • Upside Down: The exact opposite of the topic/question/case/problem is formulated, and the brainstorming process involves thinking about how to achieve this opposite. "How can we attract more members to our chapter?" The opposite of this would be: "How can we prevent people from wanting to join our chapter?" Once these negative ideas have been collected, they are turned upside down again, and transformed into positive actions items.

  • Actstorming: This is useful when suggestions for behavior are needed, or the phrasing for a particular conversation or exchange. Here, participants are encouraged to take on a particular role, and in this role, they formulate suggestions. For example by pretending to speak to a potential member about the benefits of joining PTPI.

Peer Group Counseling

Peer Group Counseling is a method to find solutions to problems, questions or challenges, which is mostly used in the fields of medicine, psychology, education and social work. It is a form of counseling among equals, unlike supervising (done by supervisors and superiors) or consulting and coaching (done by specialists/coaches/consultants).

The aim of Peer Group Counseling is to analyse challenges and problems, which the peer group is facing in their field of work, by using the cognitive and creative potential of the group. This should lead to the collection of a variety of approaches and solution strategies.

If you want to know more about the method, please contact PTPI's European Office.


The Leadership Seminar enabled active PTPI leaders to get to know each other, exchange experiences, find joint solutions for common problems, and learn about some methods which are useful in team work.

The following issues and their possible solutions were discussed:

Click here to download all workshop results

Finding time/balance between volunteering and other life priorities

  • Make time management realistic and plan and write down your schedulePoster
  • Share problem with others
  • Make fun volunteering
  • Delegate and share responsibility

Creating visibility and a positive image

  • Identify target group and find interesting projects for them
  • Organize meetings not only for members
  • Use public figures to advertise (involve VIPs in your projects)
  • Create a newsletter and good descriptions of your goals
  • Form a PR team
  • Create a Webpage.
  • Create popular events (festivals, etc.)

Transition from old to new chapter leaders

  • Establish a transition period
  • Organize teambuilding between former and current executive board
  • Create committees and include representatives from every committee in the executive board
  • Committees make suggestions, which need to be approved by the entire executive board
  • Create overlapping positions

Community needs vs. personal interests

  • Communication
    • Listen/talk with people from the community => "interpreter" needed
    • Find new unknown areas we have not explored so far
    • Increase our contacts => constant, permanent communication with people from the community
    • Partners
      • Inform people what you do => meet people; do chapter presentations and events
      • Be more social => attend not only one event, but as many as possible
  • Organization
    • Assess our own resources, so we know how to adapt them effectively to the community's needs
    • Specialization of work: ensuring people have specific roles – find out the "passions" of the volunteers / people
    • Organize well
      • Find out our strengths, where we are and how to connect everyone 
      • Who is Who doing What?
      • Hierarchy ~ Guidance

Facilitate participation of non-EU countries (challenging due to visa and funding)

  • PTPI needs a policy to support countries and people who cannot afford high participation fees or travel costs: scholarshipso
  • PTPI already issues invitation letters for special programs to facilitate visa application
  • Collect possibilities: get in contact with many chapters and also start exchange within region
  • Organize own events (on local level and/or invite members from abroad)
    Feedback from problem-presenter: (Which suggestions are most useful?)
  • Visa invitations issued by the chapters where you want to have a Homestay with (Lars already helped a lot.)
  • Scholarships and possibilities to participate: if one member can participate, he/she can multiply members in his/her country.
  • It is great that each country and chapter can organize events – the multiplying effect can help to get more members

    Discussing Issues

Membership recruitment

  • Make sure to integrate new members among the existing members as soon as possible
  • Address same age groups
  • Use extra funds for recruitment efforts
  • Try to create something catchy to advertise
  • Use your popular members
  • Show your attractive activities and programs such as:
    • Youth in Action Projects and funding through EU
    • International atmosphere and travel opportunities
    • Motivation to develop personal skills and connections

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Wednesday, May 29  

Worst Case Scenario

Name Game, Icebreaker and Welcome Bingo
Exchange of Expectations about the Seminar
Theater Workshop and Upside Down Brainstorming: Worst-Case
Scenario (What is the worst that could happen during the seminar?)
Program Presentation
13:00-14:00 Lunch
Word Associations and Out of the Box Brainstorming
Peer Group Counseling -
Presentation of Method and Practice Round in two groups
Thursday, May 30 
Peer Group Counseling in small groups
Workshops of Interest (discussion of special needs and wishes)