Published: 06.02.2020

The National DofE Centre hosted the third International DofE Leaders Exchange in December. Leaders from Bulgaria, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic took part. The four-day training focused on building confidence and well-being in the role of a leader.

The project is called "Non-formal learning in the Formal Education" and is supported by the Erasmus+ programme.

Most DofE leaders are volunteers - they look after the participants in their own time, and so can easily find themselves in a situation where they have no energy left to lead the DofE. How to be a good leader? This is the question that 14 DofE leaders from 4 different countries tried to answer in December. Over four days, they progressively focused on different aspects of their experience so that they could become more confident leaders through training.

The whole exchange began with a mutual introduction. The staff of the Czech National Centre presented how the programme works in our country and then we had the opportunity to compare with others how we are similar and how we differ. In the afternoon we focused on tools for better stress management. Leaders learned how to choose priorities and how to calm down in stressful situations.

The second day we went "into the field" and spent it at the Jan Kepler Gymnasium. We first met the leaders and participants from the gymnasium, who introduced the school to us so that we could understand the context in which the DofE operates. We then had the opportunity to share together experiences of similar situations. The second part of the day was devoted to solving specific problems that leaders encounter when running a DofE programme. How to motivate participants to complete the programme? Where to find expedition assessors? How to get the support of parents? These were the questions we answered together.

On the last day of the exchange we were preparing for the change we wanted to make when we returned home. Everyone had time to think about what to do with the new information and tools. The goal was to plan what ways of working we would use in our new job as leaders.

In addition to all-day training, the participants also had the opportunity to get to know a bit of pre-Christmas Prague. Together we went through a tour both classic and unusual. One evening, thanks to the Pragulic organization, a homeless guide guided us through the center of Prague and showed it to us through his eyes.

The exchange was an inspiration for everyone to see how the DofE works in other cities and countries. It also taught us how to deal with stress, how to reflect on ourselves and our work and how to be healthily motivated. You can enjoy the experiences of each leader in the video that was produced during the exchange.

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