Before the Beginning: How Preparation Days Went

On Friday, 13 facilitators arrived from across Europe in the picturesque mountain town of Imst, excited to prepare for the arrival of 46 participants. Over the three days that followed, we worked hard on developing the program and setting up and decorating the campus. This year’s Short Course is hosted at the Landwirtschaftliche Landeslehranstalt, an agricultural boarding school.

Most importantly, we got to know each other better and, with the help of some fun games, we strengthened the team dynamic. We also spent some time outside and explored Imst where we also tried some local Austrian dishes.

By Sunday evening, all preparations were completed and all that was missing were the 46 participants. We spent this last evening before the start of the jam-packed two weeks relaxing while watching the final of the men’s football World Cup.


Finally the day was upon us. From near and far, from early morning until late at night, our 46 participants started to arrive. After settling in, discovering who their roommates are and getting a name tag, our participants started to get to know each other and the team.

We played name games and did some icebreakers such as the Rubber Chicken and Hooowaahhh! By lunchtime there were still many people missing but the dining room was already filled with laughter and chatter.

In the evening, Umbrella groups made up of two facilitators and six to seven participants got together for the first time. The groups meet every night and provide an anchor and a safe space to reflect on all the new impressions and experiences.

" At the end of such a busy and exciting day, it was really special to be able to take the time to reflect and get to know a few participants on a more personal level. "

Helena Howen, Facilitator from Germany

After all the excitement of the day, most of the participants went to bed quite early while the facilitators got together to talk about the events of the first day.


The morning of Tuesday found us all having breakfast together, excited and curious for what was to come. The day started with Morning Assembly, where Lea and Jaafar introduced the program and the team.

The afternoon brought us the outdoor challenge. Participants were divided into groups of ten and were asked to walk around Imst, completing various challenges at stations where facilitators were waiting for them. The tasks included solving some riddles, creating an outfit out of rubbish and other team building games. Unfortunately, the activity was cut short by a torrential downpour, however, we were able to finish it back at the LLA building.

By the time we went to the opening ceremony, the sun had reappeared. The ceremony took place at …… and guests included….. After an official welcome and some speeches, guests, participants and facilitators had time to mingle and enjoy the food in the evening sun.

This evening, participants had the chance to further get to know each other and spend a full evening together. Fortunately, the building of the LLA is quite big and provides enough space to hang out and talk while not keeping other people from going to bed and getting some much needed sleep.

Of course we still met in our Umbrella Groups to reflect on the day and truly be ourselves. Also, the many questions concerning the next day’s departure for the 3-day Native Spirit outdoor adventure were answered, leaving the participants still a little nervous but also excited for what was to come.