Inessa Volochko: “YMCA is just space!”

At work Inessa Volochko travels among the stars and is not afraid of stupid questions. She is a member of the council in YMCA Minsk and strives to hold the classes in scouting and tensing regular, while maintaining the “family” attractiveness of such meetings.

“I am not a star, I am the Sun!”

Inessa explains: “A few years ago I came to work in the Minsk Planetarium, located in the Gorky Park. On a large dome we show viewers the starry sky and films about the space. I talk in detail about the origin and development of the Universe, the movement of stars and planets, and much more. Frankly, my diploma of higher education indicates that I am a physicist and mathematician. I know astronomy quite well because future physics teachers also study it.

I like to work at the planetarium. I can watch movies about stars, tell people about them. And where else will you be allowed to read books and magazines about the space during working hours? And it’s good in the Gorky Park, especially in the warm season. Do I consider myself a star? Of course not. But friends sometimes call me the Sun.”

“I didn’t get to the Jamboree, but I found friends”

Inessa recalls: “I entered the YMCA orbit in the early 2000s. Then I studied in Vitebsk, and this city was one of the centers of origin of YMCA in Belarus. They came to our school and offered to do scouting and go camping. I joined, it was interesting. But then it turned out that my parents did not let me go to the Jamboree - a large international scout camp. I was upset and for some time "went underground." And then I became interested in tensing, began to participate in concerts, festivals.

Why are different people attracted by YMCA? Some like interesting activities. Others - the opportunity to participate in the international projects. Many make friends. So I have close people whom I met at YMCA events, and now we communicate a lot outside the organization.”

“The most perspective in Minsk is scouting and tensing”

Inessa explains: “I was in YMCA Vitebsk for several years, and when I moved to the capital, I moved to the Minsk branch of the organization. I was elected to the council, in which five people make decisions on the development of the department. I want the activities of YMCA Minsk and YMCA of Belarus to be

as open and transparent as possible, so that everyone has an equal access to the information and opportunities.

And in Minsk the guys and I are trying to develop scouting. There is a leader and participants in regular classes, as well as volunteers who are ready to help in holding such meetings and organizing campaigns. It would be great to revive tensing and take it to a new level. You can start with several-hour presentations, where participants are “immersed” in different directions of creativity.”

“I'm a cool teacher!”

Inessa said: “I think that thanks to the YMCA, I learned a lot. And I’m ready to share my experience. It seems to me that I am a cool “teacher”. I have a super ability: I can find a common language with different people easily. And I'm not afraid not to know anything. It is necessary to stir up people's interest in knowledge, even if sometimes they ask completely unexpected questions.

For example, some do not know that the sun is a star. Or they believe that the stars that we can see in the night sky reflect the light of the Sun. Probably, people see my openness, and are not afraid to ask me questions not only about the space and the stars, but also about life.”

"All people are good by default."

Inessa notes: “I have Armenian roots. But I spent the bulk of my life in Belarus. It seems to me that there are no a big difference between Armenians and Belarusians. I do not divide people by nationality, do not hang labels.

By default, all people are good to me. Someone is just good, someone is very good, but you just can’t talk to anyone.”

“The Swiss are our family”

Inessa says: “I am very glad to meet with our Swiss friends from CEVI (as YMCA is called in this country). They are open, friendly, active. I don’t know for sure: is this how the “family” traditions of the organization influence them, or is this characteristic of all Swiss people. Perhaps they are influenced by the wonderful nature of the country: large lakes, high mountains and picturesque alpine meadows. The Swiss from CEVI, as well as the participants in YMCA Minsk, are ready to spend hours and even days to meet foreign guests, sometimes even completely unfamiliar, to give them a tour, to help with any questions.

I would like to communicate more with the Swiss, to meet with them. We Belarusians need to learn English. Together we can develop various areas, share experience with each other. CEVI has a strong scouting tradition. It is possible that in the future not only leaders, but also delegations of participants in scout camps will come from Switzerland to participate in the YMCA project in Minsk.

Ruslan Ananyev
Translated by Galina Lushchyk

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© YMCA Minsk, 2015