This past weekend actually came with no threats of hurricanes or storms! Which meant 32 PeacePlayers could finally make their team building weekend in Carlingford Adventure Centre without having to postpone again and without being blown away! The group of junior Champions For Peace were joined by 6 of their senior counterparts as mentors alongside 3 staff members; Leif and Andrew, our new fellows, and Joanne, the lady who has been at the heart of PPI-NI for almost 10 years!
Developing the next generation of baggage-free leaders is something PPI-NI continually strives to do. It’s why we exist! This weekend was all about team-building; an important foundation for any group to build trust and friendships that make that group unshakable. And from the stories I’ve heard about the weekend, that’s exactly what happened! Friendships were strengthened and new friendships were formed. Seniors commented that they “loved getting to know the juniors” and they “learned a lot from those I had not had the chance to talk to before”. Friendships were also developed between participants and staff as both Leif and Andrew really enjoyed getting to know the group in a relaxed, fun environment. As a new face, the group “really loved getting to know Andrew more considering it was the first time we met”. And as a face who was returning to PPI-NI following his volunteer year with us, they were thrilled to “get to know Leif a bit better”.
Those strong friendships really came into play during the trip. The whole group was buzzing after taking part in the activities, like laser tag and zip lining, but the word “after” is important here, because not everyone was too keen on taking the leap of faith through the trees! However, in true PeacePlayers style, everyone was “helping each other get through it”. And even though most found the zip line daunting “we encouraged and reassured each other and ended up loving it!”. At the end of the activity, with a tear in her eye, the instructor from the Adventure Centre commented that in her 15 years of being in the job, she had never seen a group pull together she had just witnessed. And that to me is part of what being a PeacePlayer is all about!
Something else that I think sums up being a PeacePlayers is being proud. And there was a lot to be proud of this group for on the trip. Aside from helping each other pull through the challenges that come with a team-building weekend, they also felt proud of each other when someone stepped up. Everyone was talking about how proud they were of Eimear leading a game of mafia for all 32 people, which is no easy task for an experience coach let alone a young leader! But what also came across was that the group respected her and supported her by choosing to taking part and have fun.
Nora, a senior C4P, commented that this support was a running themse throughout the weekend, saying “I noticed a point when people were cheering others on regardless of if they were on the same team or not. At that point we didn’t care that it was a competition, we were all just having fun together”. And I think that’s a great line to leave this blog on, because it truly represents not only a great group of Champions for Peace, but PeacePlayers as a whole.