The second phase has just started, and everyone is so excited about it. The first few days have been spent on introductory activities and the goal of the project, as well as on getting to know each other. Although most of the volunteers were part of the first phase, they took time to welcome the new members and make sure they are comfortable, and they are feeling part of the team. Besides, during those days, rules and requirements were set among the volunteers for them to live and work in harmony. For example, different tasks and chores around the house were split between the volunteers and they also have shared their needs amongst them. Apart from that, the different activity teams were formed where the volunteers will be involved, to accomplish the goal of the project.

During the week, the volunteers were taking part in different activities to improve and develop the confidence both between the team and individually. As part of that, the team had the opportunity to form workshops between themselves and share their knowledge within the group. In that way, they not only transmit their know-how, but they also help the rest of the team to enhance their skills. Hence, at the end of the week, four workshops were held by the group. There were various topics, each one with its character and significance. The participants had the responsibility to organise their workshops and thus these had created a challenging atmosphere in terms of having the confidence and leadership skills to run the workshops. In the end, all the volunteers have managed to conduct their workshops with excellence and the rest of the team were pleased with the outcome and the new skills they earned.

Furthermore, during the mornings of last week, the volunteers were mostly working on their different activity teams that are divided into (activities, art, outdoor, and social media team) while they were getting prepared according to the week’s plan and goals. Additionally, during the afternoons, after planning the activities, the teams were meeting with the kids at the different places that the ELF is working with. To close the week, all the participants of the ELF project attended a local event at the Oituz area, organised by the ‘Kolping educational centre’. This event aims at celebrating the 1st of June that is the International Day of Children. Here in Romania, that day has been established as a Bank Holiday, and so the kids were free to come and enjoy the event. Elf volunteers were there to support the event and assist with everything that was needed. This part of the week was a bit tricky as the team was not familiar with Kolping’s volunteers and they needed some time to get along and work as a group. Finally, everything runs smoothly and both the volunteers as well as the kids had an amazing time and enjoyed their Sunday afternoon together.

Overall, it was a bit challenging at the beginning of the second phase until we form the teams with the tasks of cleaning, cooking, scheduling etc. Also, another challenging part was during the conducting of the activity teams the first few days until the volunteers manage to connect and find their place within the group.

Some of the plans for the coming week are to keep up on celebrating the International day of Children and helping at the Oituz area with the events of ‘Kolping’. Also, the preparation of the plans for the activities is about to continue, and a mural painting at the nuns’ place is going to be painted by the art team. In addition, an excursion to a monument near the Oituz area is planned by the Kolping volunteers and the ELF volunteers are invited to join.

All in all, the second phase started in a nice and dynamic environment, the atmosphere between the volunteers is great and everyone is hoping to be an extraordinary and remarkable experience.