On March 26-27, Plast Poland held training sessions for potential new leaders and counselors for scouts and cub scouts who have arrived in Poland after fleeing Ukraine. Expert led discussions were held about various difficulties working in these conditions.

Today, we face a great challenge to bring hundreds of refugee children into our care. They have been forced to abandon their homeland, homes and happy space, where they had friends and families, to save their lives. These children don’t know when they will be able to return to their native land. They don’t know if their home, school or preschool still exists, or how their favorite stuffed animal is feeling. They need to urgently learn a new foreign language, a new way of life, and handle the barrage of recent emotions and traumas.

With this goal, we, as those who share their native language, culture, way of thinking and who importantly have already assimilated to life in Poland, wish to create safe spaces that allow these children to feel physically and mentally protected. This will help them accept their new circumstances and believe in a better future with the understanding that their Ukrainian world continues to exist. This environment will help facilitate understanding if any children require professional psychological assistance.

Topics of the modules:

  • Structure of work in Ukrainian centers
  • Creation of a safe environment
  • PTSD: descriptions, warning signs, possible consequences, triggers. Workings of the human brain during danger and stress
  • Theories of attachment and personal boundaries in the context of a sudden reset of life
  • Interaction with parents of children.
  • Plast as a means of helping refugees
  • The first contact:
  • How to talk to children about the war.
  • First psychological aid
  • Open space. Methodical developments.

We wish to express our gratitude to the instructors of our training session for sharing their time and expertise.

Oleksandra Prolyaka, Specialist in Methods in the Division of Scouting Programs from the Plast National Training Center in Bucha, Kyiv Region. Master of special pedagogy.

Zoreslava Gavrysh, practical psychologist, consultant in the field of Transactional Analysis, member of the International Psychological Association of Projective Methods, member of the Ukrainian Association of Transactional Analysis and the National Psychological Association. Pl. sen. of work, Cub Scout Coordinator, counselor of cub scouts and of scouts.

Ulyana Rad, Master of Psychology, psychologist at the day hospital program of the Psychiatric Department for Youth in Warsaw, Young Adult – Scout, counselor for cub scouts and preschool program.

Dr. Lydia Zhytka, psychologist and psychotherapist, doctor of humanities, master and specialist in clinical psychology in the field of mental disorders in adults.

Christina Chyr, trainer-moderator

Olena Bodnar-Potopnyk, Chairman of the National Plast Committee in Poland

There were 17 participants in the training session. However, more people can participate as we plan to continue working with our team in the future, providing both oversight and training. Our youngest members promise to continue to “keep trying to improve each day”, so we will follow their example!

Переклад: Marta Jakubowycz

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