Volunteering for AFS is a rich and challenging experience that requires the development of a diverse set of skills. For local leadership positions, the list is bigger. From coordinating volunteers to planning goals and solving day-to-day conflicts it can be tricky to manage a local unit.

Without a focus on leadership development, local chapters can’t properly do their main tasks, and volunteers miss on the opportunity to expand their knowledge and grow their skills. Regular training opportunities have a direct impact on volunteer engagement and lead to more prepared and happier volunteers.

Last November, AFS Colombia, a VES Pilot Partner, organized its “Local Chapter Presidents Gathering”.  For two days they participated in workshops to increase local leadership and motivate volunteers to collaborate among local chapters.

Throughout 4 sessions they discussed, with internal and external speakers, key topics for volunteer development and program growth:

  • Communication: How to use communication tools to expand the AFS effect.
  • Program Promotion: Update on AFS programs available in Colombia and how to better promote them at a local level.
  • Team Management and Leadership: Strategic planning, goal setting and tips for team development.

They finished the weekend with their “Volunteer of the Year Awards” and a cooking competition: “Intercultural Master Chef”. Making staff and volunteers cook together was a great teamwork lesson and an even better way to close the event!

Volunteers of AFS Colombia with coloful aprons during the leadership development gathering.

For more information on the gathering and the content of the sessions, you can access the agenda here or get in contact with Ana María Camargo.