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(Heart-) Warming LEAP Mid-Term Meeting in Catalonia

On 3 March 2018, 26 oikees came together from all over the world to meet in sunny Arenys de Mar, Spain for the second LEAP meeting. LEAP is a 9-month leadership program for a group of young participants, who had already met in Switzerland in October 2017 on their first meeting. Since then, the LEAP journey included many webinars, reflections, peer-to-peer calls and coaching sessions on personal development and responsible leadership.

Arriving to Arenys de Mar, we were amazed by the atmosphere of the grand villa which lay remotely at the end of a long path leading through wide meadows and a garden with orange and lemon trees. Between tall old pines, with a lovely ocean view lay the residence where we would be staying for the next three days. During the upcoming hours, LEAP participants arrived from a variety of countries, such as India, France, Georgia and Sweden. Already in the first couple of hours, the place was filled with welcoming hugs, laughter and great talks. After setting the agenda and exchanging our expectations for the meeting, we started reflecting on key moments of our past that made us who we are today. Throughout the meeting, delicious vegan meals were prepared by different peer groups. The first evening, a pirate themed dinner was on the menu: Chili sin carrrne.

Working on our purpose in life was a special experience throughout the time in Arenys de Mar. In order to get to know ourselves better, it was important to clarify our values and beliefs. Thus, we asked ourselves why we do certain things, how we do them and what helps us reach our purpose. Moreover, sharing stories with other participants gave us the chance to open our minds, understand our behavior and get relevant feedback.

Thanks to our dedicated coaches we were given presentations and workshops on topics such as non-violent communication, commitment and presentation techniques. To keep us energized throughout the days, we did exercises that made us move our bodies. One energizer was on body language and taught us how we could strengthen our self-awareness and self-esteem.

To sum up, we were not only inspired but also overwhelmed by all the wonderful experiences we made and the people we met. It was outstanding how much we learned from every human interaction. We believe that LEAP made us appreciate ourselves more, solve conflicts of the past, find ways to look forward and make friends for a lifetime. We would like to thank Adriana and our coaches Clementine, Tiphaine, Alexandra, Hannah, Pauline and Sarah for organizing this event and for committing to this program. As LEAP is not one meeting but a process, we are looking forward to the upcoming months and reflections. One last thank you goes to the sun for filling us up with very much needed vitamin D!

By Kathrin Zirn, Lisa Hellweger and Delia Ostach