Basically, if I recollect the training ”How to Organize a Group?” on June 17-18, 2016 I can say that quite a lot of things were centered around food – in spite of the title. To resolve the promiscuous tension straight away, our first task was to tell the group the name we preferred to be called by the others together with our favorite food. According to the rules of the game, everyone had to repeat all the previous information before adding their own introduction. The circle was started and also finished by our trainer Tessza Udvarhelyi, who repeated the full list. She was rehearsing the names and favorites of the group of nineteen people from layered potatoes to apricot, from potatoes sprinkled with fresh parsley through vegetable marrow with dill to Mushroom Paprikash. ”Hedda burek, Kata raspberry, Juli falafel, István Hungarian poppyseed bread&butter pudding”- I was also trying to whisper and memorize, but I got wrong Szarka’s bread roll with butter. It was not a problem as we were always helped out if we got stuck.
The second activity was an introductory one too, but it served also as a preparation for our topic. Bernadett Sebály, our other trainer put a large orange into the middle of the room. Our task was to divide it between two kids in the most possible number of ways. We did not deal with the orange anymore, but spent more time on our next – also eatable – demonstration tool, the onion.
We skinned it a lot, because we always brought it as an example when we studied the structure of a group. We also systematized the groups by considering if they are informal (e.g.: a group of friends who regularly meet) or formal ones. The formal groups can have a lot of different forms: e.g.: self-help, community building, study, charity or advocacy groups. Almost all the participants represented different kinds of groups. Some of them were already experienced leaders or team members, while others are about to establish a group right now. We discussed the difference between the labels ”leader” and ”responsible”. The example of the onion was also useful to discuss the relationship between the core, active member, sympathizer and the mass base within an organization. I also got to know what is called the structure and culture of the group.
All the members of our spontaneously gathered group were very active during the two days. This short period of time was not enough for everything, and as we closed the training, it turned out – just to continue with meals –, that we are still starving for a training on strategic planning. I hope this is also going to be on our table soon.