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LOCAL PILOT WORKSHOP HUMOR /TEAM BUILDING WORKSHOP FOR SENIOR VOLUNTEERS Budapest, 9th November2015, led by Borbála Hadrévy and Andrea Bagi Follow up – local pilot activity Working in the National Volunteer Center for 10 years I learnt the impact volunteers have on our society. As I have learnt the humor technics and the therapeutic effect of it I immediately decided that this has to be shared and thought to as many volunteers as possible as they get into contact with plenty of different citizens. As a start we thought it would be interesting to share the technics in the frame of a workshop. This gives an idea about the interests of the Hungarian civil society in the topic. With Andrea we agreed to start with a group of senior volunteers who are active anyway. The target group is about 40-50 senior volunteers (55+) regularly meeting in the frame of a senior volunteer club. All of them are active in different areas of volunteering. New volunteering opportunities, their experiences, difficulties and successes are the main topics of the club. ÖKA has implemented a Grundtvig senior exchange program and as a result of the project a group of enthusiastic senior set up the club mainly for promotion of senior volunteering. Since the beginnings there are 40-50 members with a constantly growing number. Once a month they meet to exchange experiences and discuss future possibilities. We announced the workshop for the members of the club as follows: “Rendezvény: TESZÜNK Tettrekész Emberek Senior Önkéntes Klubja (az ÖKA szenior önkéntes klubjának) klubtalálkozója – workshop Téma: Humor stratégiák alkalmazási lehetőségei a segítő foglalkozásokban (EU-s projekt keretében tanult technikák megismertetése az önkéntesekkel, akik segítőként


tevékenykednek, hogyan lehet a civil és egyéb területeken használni/alkalmazni a humort.) A workshopot tartja: Hadrévy Borbála (ÖKA) és Bagi Andrea (The training is part of the project: "The artist within – Applied eMOTION Dance and art expression in formal and non-formal education for developing entrepreneur skills – best practice sharing between sectors and methods" that was won by IKTE (Integrált Kifejezés- és Táncterápiás Egyesület, Hungarian Association for Expressive Arts and Dance Therapy),, Partners: IKTE – ARM-BG – CRN Berlin – EURO-NET – SAN – Theater Vision Agreement number: 14/KA2AE/SZ/2263)

Célcsoport: 50 év feletti szenior önkéntesek Résztvevők várható létszáma: 15-25 fő “

The participation was voluntary 16 senior volunteers took the chance to learn about humour. The pilot workshop took place at Európa Pont, 1024Budapest, Lövőház u. 35. in the organisation of National Volunteer Centre 

Name and contact of the person/organisation

Hadrevy Borbala Cecília, Önkentes Kozpont Alapítvany (ÖKA) /National Volunteer Centre/, Andrea Bagi, Expressive Art and Dance Therapist, ICF qualified Coach, Email:, 

Aim of the activity

Volunteers being helpers of others are rather open to new experiences. These volunteers work at many different organisations, institutions thus getting in touch with many different human needs, situations and attitudes. Sometimes volunteers are needed at difficult, heavy circumstances that they have to be able to deal with immediately there and then. Usually volunteers start with their willingness to help, to support and idea or a group of people without prior knowledge of the area. At some organisations volunteers are trained before the volunteer activity but rarely are they given concrete tools for dealing with unexpected, uneasy or awkward situations. The humour technics we have learnt in Leipzig are really filling that gap of skills. The other aim of the workshop is to enhance the sense of belonging, build trust in the group as sometimes they can get discouraged and feel lonely. It is important to give them positive feedback and offer them a group of people with similar interests to be connected to. Not only ÖKA but many other civil organisations have enjoyed the services of these volunteers. Therefore ÖKA wants to give back something to them, offer them the feeling of being looked after not left alone. Basically the workshop has two targets: one is to offer concrete technics for the volunteers to deal with uneasy situations the other is to strengthen the group spirit. 

Description of the activity


This workshop was a pilot section in order to find out the approach and attitude of the senior volunteers towards a topic of humour. With Andrea we met to lay down the main guidelines of the workshop and a second time to plan the concrete activities, games keeping in mind the specifics of the target group. We had to be very careful bearing in mind not only the physical condition of the seniors but also that seniors are not as flexible as younger people. We divided the workshop into three parts: first hour will be exercises and then we planned theory explaining the humour technics and their applicability. Finally we planned to divide the group into two subgroups and work out a difficult situation that they had to perform. We wanted to find humorous solutions on those situations together. Before the workshop took place we arranged the room, organised the chairs in a circle. Participants started to arrive in different moods but all curios about the workshop. We introduced ourselves, Andrea made the introduction of the project and the we discussed the frames of the two hour workshop underlying that everybody has to take care of their own limits, when they need to sit they are free to do so, there is water to drink, secrets, no good or bad solution, etc. First exercise was to stand in a nice circle and say your name and give a sound that expresses your present feeling. Öther repeat it 3 times. As a warm up we remained standing in a circle started to chew an imaginary chewing gum, move our face muscles and then imagining ourselves in a phone box and placing a pen onto our head, knees, ears writing our names all over the phone box. Next exercise was intending to get into touch with our feelings. Walking in the room participants had to try to express 4 types of feelings in 3 different stages. First they have the feeling but only they know about it, it is not visible for others. Second stage was to express the feeling in a way that other can also see it. Third stage is letting go of limits – express the feeling without limits, it breaks out of you, you cannot control it any more.


Following task was performed in two groups. Members were given different objects that had to be given different meanings given around in a small circle. Öne of our favourite exercise was the enlargement of emotions, movements in a circle. People had to enhance the emotion that was shown to him by the one standing next to him in the circle. We built in the next task to learn the beauty of failing and technic of word games. Standing in a circle someone starts saying sarga bogre gorbe bogre to the right other have to give it to the next person without laughing. Direction can be changed any time by saying mit sutsz kis szucs to the left direction. In a group of three we played the robot game with them. Öne is human, others are robots, moving without human feelings constantly as directed by the human. Everybody had the chance to try all roles. After these exercises we sat in a circle – which was just in time – and started to explain the concrete technics – finding the connection to the exercises done in the first part of the workshop. It seemed that explanations and talks was very much needed. Finally we divided the participants into two groups. Each group had to find a difficult situation and perform it to the others. The aim was to find a better solution of the situation with the performed humour technics. It seemed that this exercise was a bit misunderstood as the group performed also the solution first. They repeated the performance without solution to give a chance for the other to think of possible solutions. Same happened with the other group.


Seniors were unexpectedly shy and unwilling to perform thinking they have to prepare a perfect performance in 8 minutes. Not only in this case but other expressions reflect the difficulty of performing feelings in a visible way. We had a great discussion about the learnt limits and hindering inner boundaries that cause us to act in a controlled way without expressing out true feelings. Being aware that suppressed feelings can lead to somatic symptoms. Another thread of the conversation was about the therapeutic effects of humour in different areas of life. 


At the end of the workshop we made a closing circle in order to find out the positive and negative aspects of the workshop and the possible applications of the learnt exercises. Volunteers stated that this workshop strengthened them in the importance of applying humour with sensitivity not only in their volunteer activities but also in their daily lives especially when working with children. One of them realised that she already uses these technics instinctively and during the workshop she learnt the terminology for those activities. Another lady was really surprised about herself as usually she is very negative even during the performance she acted a negative figure and to her surprise she opened up, cheered up due to a humorous act of a fellow performer. Others would be interested in a regular humour club. During the discussions very important outcomes emerged such as how important it is to find our childlike side, putting down our expectations, daring to show our true feelings, less behaving more natural being. It was also mentioned that stereotypes have to be overwritten such as Hungarian society is rather of sad nature therefore it will be difficult and hard to cause changes. However we need to start with ourselves – the change starts from within. Being flexible is also a healthy attitude to keep finding humour in life. 5

Pros and contras concerning the used methodology

We had 10 days to learn and experience humour technics in Leipzig. There were so many different and useful exercises the we wanted to show but we really had to be mindful what to squeeze into this two hours. It was evident that to take people to their inner child, to this vulnerable state there is much more time needed. Not only the lack of time but also special exercises adjusted to this particular target group is necessary. Due to the above mentioned reasons participants could not go very deep in expressing their feelings and it also blocks their creativity. However this workshop was giving them a taste of the deepness and converting therapeutic effects of humour.

Copyright Recipients are free to use all or parts of this document for personal use however are requested to inform the author. Recipients are requested to acknowledge The artist within – Applied eMOTION consortium and the author in any reference to the content of this document. In the event of any further queries please consult the author. Acknowledgements This project was possible with the financial support from the Erasmus+ program. The methodological resources and inspiration came from the The artist within – Applied eMOTION long-term adult education project ( The generosity from the fund and these organisations is much appreciated. 6

local pilot activity the inner clown hadrévy borbala andrea bagi hu  
local pilot activity the inner clown hadrévy borbala andrea bagi hu  

local pilot activity in the frame of the european strategic partnership "the artist within" in Budapest, hungary