ESN Sweden held our second installment of our national training event called Motiv8 on 21-23 August, 2014. The event took place in Växjö, hosted by our section Växjö International Students.

We had big plans and big expectations for this event. Although the dates landed on arrival days for many of our sections in Sweden, we still managed to get representatives from 5 sections: BTH, Borås, Linköping, SU, and Växjö.

We started the first day in the afternoon after everyone arrived. We spent the first block getting to know each other and how our sections worked, bouncing ideas off one another. The second half of the day we spoke about promotion and how to manage your section’s image (whether you have no visibility, a negative image, a neutral image, or a positive image). The evening of course was enjoyed with fun bonding with a lasagna dinner and party at the apartment of two of Växjö’s local board members.

We had planned the second day and night to take place on an island in the north of Växjö called Musön. We got ready for it, drove up in our rented van, made the long hike and moving bridge with our heavy bags, set up our tents, and sat down for lunch. Then the sunny skies suddenly turned black and Växjö’s unexpected weather changes brought in the storm of the century. We tried to cover ourselves and our materials, but we found that the cheap tents we purchased were not entirely waterproof, and the paper grocery bags did not outlast the monsoon. When the rain subsided enough for us to assess the damage, we found that our sleeping gear was soaking wet, and there was no longer any dry wood to make a fire and cook our dinner. Needless to say, we returned to campus and lost over two hours of planned training time.

When we got back to campus we picked right back up where we left and finished the day discussing how to motivate your members and how to get sponsors. Some of us still wearing our wet clothes, we finished the day with a personal development exercise, opening up about identities and labels we assign ourselves and are assigned by others. Not to lose out on the “outdoor experience” we planned, we cooked dinner at a local barbeque pit that didn’t seem to have been affected by the rain.

The final day was spent learning about project management, and the different roles and steps required to plan a successful event. We did a quasi-role-play in which we were the organizing committee for our lunch after the training. Although we planned a real event, we had to make some allowances and exaggerations in order to relate it to planning a larger event in the sections. To no one’s surprise, we decided on pizza.

At the end of the tiring, wet, yet productive Motiv8, the representatives left inspired and ready to start the new semester. You can view some footage and testimonials in the video below: