It was the first morning at Marttinen youth center. First morning in a strange place was pretty challenging. Besides that we managed to pull through. Then we went to breakfast. It was quite fulfilling. After breakfast our first activity for that day was a tour around the premises and getting to know each other. Then we did an exercise where we took eye contact with each other and then formed pairs. That was done by playing a game. This really took many of us out our comfort zone, but by making us take eye contact with new partners, it fit really well with the theme of our project. Antti Korhonen, The coordinator of international youth work, showed us the different activity possibilities at Marttinen. There was for example table tennis, a pool table, basketball court, board games and lots of different more challenging activities.
The main activity of the day was the Bridge Swing. It was quite exciting and scary even. Although it was horrifying all the jumpers survived very well. For many of them it was a once in a lifetime experience. Many of us had taken the idea of jumping lightly before seeing the place. One of us was quick to take the opportunity to jump first. Seeing how one should climb over the rail protecting from the scary drop below made the others quickly realize that this was not a challenge to be taken lightly. After the climb one was required to take the jump out of their own volition. For many of us this would became a symbolic act of overcoming their fears. Seeing how much mental willpower this required while knowing its importance for the jumper made us want to encourage the jumper and see them succeed. To succeed was not important only for the jumper but for all of us.
There was also the possibility to climb down from the bridge – maybe a less dare-devilish act as the jump, but never the less – it takes a lot of courage to climb down!
Comments from the participants
- “The bridge swing was scary, but a very exciting once-in-a-lifetime experience. Being a part of the group was a wonderful feeling, we were all happy and having fun. I connected with a lot of people today – it was very nice to support other people and being supported in return. I learned that I am much more brave and capable than I gave myself credit for.”
- “The activities at the bridge were too scary for me, but I was happy to see other people be so brave. I felt connected to the group while talking to people. I feel like I’m more comfortable talking in English now, than I was at the start of the week.”
- “I learned how my body works in fight/freeze situations and how I react to my body’s signals, also how happy people felt after I faced my fear. I felt like being part of the group when I climbed up after jumping from the bridge. Many people were cheering for me. It made me feel valuable. I think one other participant had similar feelings after the jump, and it was nice to connect and have someone to relate to. I was so scared, and very tired afterwards. Glad I did it though!”
- “Before lunch I went to the “rock climbing room” bouldering? I have never tried it before, so it was a nice new experience. I ended up getting in the middle of the ceiling! The bridge swing was awesome!! Amazing experience when I faced my fears. I’m afraid of heights and to do the jump – took me some time! I felt connected to the group. We all cheered each other during activities and had fun. We hugged a lot when somebody got afraid, and when they accomplished something. I had lots of fun! I also learned, that you can face your fears, but backing off is also ok and allowed. Sometimes even going half-way is bravery!“