Once upon a time there was a project with its own characters, a complex plot, a couple of usual…or unusual setbacks and with a repeatedly happy ending. But the once upon a time story is in fact our now interesting present, and the action will begin this winter, at the Kingdom of GROW Academy 2k18. The preparations are underway: a piece of the fun&learning factor cake, a splash of self-confidence, multiculturalism confetti and a wide range of skills – all waiting in line for your #GROWexperience. In our modern fairytale, we have these wonderful ambassadors and LMPs who are ready to write it with you and since every story starts with a character (or more), it’s about time to start ours with Otilia, LPM in Brasov.

Otilia, Brasov 

How did it all start?

I found out about GROW when I was in 10th grade. I remember signing up to take my mind off some problems and I started enjoying it. After my second edition as a participant, I knew that I want to get involved more in the program that changed me for the better.

I remember telling myself “I have to be a part of this!”. The next edition I became an ambassador and I worked in my department, but nothing more.

When our LPM at the time gave us feedback, he told me that I did what I had to do, but I should have been eager to accomplish more than that. That’s what I did. The next edition I signed up to do things way out of my comfort zone and by the end of that edition I had worked in all the departments. I began to understand more and more about how the project works and how the things should be done so it was natural for me to want to become the next LPM and share the things I had learned with the next ambassadors.

GROW is…

GROW means people, opportunity, eye-opening.

I believe in GROW because GROW believes in us, the youth. It is one of the few programmes that thinks “You know what, this generation is not a failure, it is in fact amazing!” and strives to prepare us for the future. Moreover, they started putting the organisational work into the hands of teenagers, proving that they trust us and they see as capable of doing a great job.

Thanks to GROW, I met people that made me see the world from a new perspective, I met people from whom I learned a lot and when it comes to the internationals, I have gone through some serious cultural shocks that taught me a lot about how others see things.

The LPM role

As an LPM, I love the fact that I got the chance to put my own spin on the program in my city. I like the fact that I am in control and I can make sure we will deliver a great experience to the participants. And last, but not least, I can say that I am proudly representing a programme that I love, a programme in which I have encountered my own values and intentions.

I am obviously at the beginning of my journey, but one of the things that I accomplished so far is making the ambassadors feel like they are part of something big and that they are surrounded by amazing people. I think the ambassadors are not only the people who work hours and hours to make GROW possible for the participants but they are also here to grow themselves while doing that.

I have less time to get bored if any at all. I have discovered a part of myself I never knew before and I reevaluated the things that happened to me. I never knew I can be a leader before signing up to GROW. I still don’t know if I am a good one, but I have passion for what I do and I am sure I will be someone else by the end of this edition.

My favourite part of GROW

…is meeting and spending time with the international trainers. There is so much to learn from these people and I have even gone through cultural shocks, but from all of that I grew the most. My least favorite part is the paper work. But hey, we have to do that as well. Somebody has to keep the fun in check.

The ambassadors

There are teenagers in my team who have been ambassadors for more editions than I did. I think the biggest challenge is to get them out of the routine, motivate them and spark the fire that makes them want to put passion in their work. For that, I insist a lot on team-building activities, being open and upfront one to the other and solving our problems efficiently. The team has to work like a Swiss watch because there is no GROW without the team.

Some of my good friends are ambassadors and, to be honest, the GROW team is like my family. I organized a meeting last week that was called “GROW night without GROW”. We basically hung out and talked about everything but the work we had to do. It was such a breath of fresh air and I honestly feel like I got to know them better.