Train the Trainers: Outdoors as a Tool relation

Below, you can read the account of the course through the eyes of Adam, one of the participants.

“The second part of the Train the Trainers: Outdoors as a Tool course was held in Poland, in Sobotnia Wielka in the Beskid Żywiecki mountains from the 15th to the 21st of February 2022. This time it wasn’t new to me, I was aware of who I would meet and what I could expect roughly. Did it make it less exciting? Absolutely not!

Earlier in Latvia we had learnt from the trainers that the Polish part was going to focus on the trainer’s perspective to a greater extent. We were also told we would work on our workshop and scientific as well as theoretical aspects of outdoor education. It gave as a general outlook of the forthcoming week, the details remaining yet unknown…

The journey to the Beskid Żywiecki mountains gave me plenty of time to think about what was going to happen, what kind of attractions the trainers would prepare for us and what things I would be able to learn. I knew that a lot of winter activities were planned, however, gloomy views from the windows and no snow whatsoever for a few hours of journey didn’t put me in an enthusiastic mood. Fortunately, real winter welcomed me in Sobotnia!

It was an unforgettable experience to meet the whole group again after over five months. Initial talks, jokes and seeing familiar faces made me feel at home. The bonds we had made during the first week of the course that had taken place in Latvia made me sure I was going to spend a great time in a good company no matter what would happen J. 

Most importantly, the second part of the course maintained the high level already started in Latvia. It convinced me ultimately that nothing in the programme was coincidental, everything was well considered; the programme met the needs of the whole group fully and the trainers were extremely devoted to the course. 

The first part of the week was decidedly more focused on conveying all the concrete information and skills necessary for trainers. We were working on three main areas:

  • program designing, that is how to plan and design our activities with a group
  • debriefing, that is in what ways we can evaluate our programmes
  • intervention, that is what we as trainers can do during group activities to influence the group and activity dynamics in an appropriate way.

They are incredibly interesting and wide concepts and we devoted a lot of time to them. Therefore, not only were we able to learn about most commonly used schemes, but also the experiences of our trainers and other participants, and the best solutions figured out by them.

The second part was mostly focused on doing, making and creating, in other words – putting theory into practice. For a few days we were faced with two big challenges.

The first one consisted of conducting classes in groups of two or three for the remaining participants. The form and the content was up to us, most importantly we were to apply the knowledge we had acquired.  It was really thought-provoking to observe other groups and the ways in which they approached the task. Besides from various ways of working with a group, we also had a chance to gain very interesting knowledge of miscellaneous subjects, e.g. we had a valuable workshop on the psychological aspects of first aid and the ways of dealing with a person going through post-accident shock.

The second one of ‘big challenges’ was a surprise prepared by the trainers. They had organized a meeting with a group of scouts for who we were supposed to prepare outdoor classes. The scouts were children and young people – an age group I rarely work with – and this fact, together with time pressure to prepare a programme rose to quite a challenge. Fortunately, working with Julianna and Annija on the programme for our group of scouts went very smoothly and worked out pretty well, to my mind. Altogether, our TTT group conducted classes for several dozen children.

On the occasion of the workshop, we were invited by Odlewnia Kultury ( It made it possible to gather a few scouts interested in meeting us. Ewa, who is the owner, runs this outstanding place located in the place of an old cast iron foundry. Not only is she involved in building a local community, but also makes sure the history and cultural heritage of Węgierska Górka aren’t consigned to oblivion and continue to inspire next generations. It is an exceptional place I thoroughly recommend to visit if you ever come by the Beskid Żywiecki mountains!

It should be noted, especially because it’s an outdoor education course, that we spent a tremendous amount of time outside of the place we stayed in. A big part of classes took place in nature, there was a really big snowball fight and we had a whole-day trekking trip during which we reached Rysianka (1322 MAMSL). It turned out to be a very good idea in the middle of the course. We had great sunny weather on this day. Adam, an accompanying mountain guide, shared his knowledge of the area and our trails with us. It was a fantastic occasion to get to know the area and understand it better.

It was a really successful and valuable week during which there were both, a lot of fun and intensive intellectual work. The challenges were varied and the knowledge we had gained – quite vast. For me, the experience was well-rounded. I hope it will not be the end of the adventure, the acquaintances made will stand the test of time and continue developing.

Indeed, this is my greatest hope – to be able to meet again for it was a team of absolutely extraordinary people ”

Wrote by Adam Sobkowiak, translated by Beata Wysocka