CGC Training Program - Wennappuwa

The Orientation and Training programme for the Don Bosco Counseling & Career Guidance Services (Bosco Disha) was held from the 5th of March to the 9th of March at the Holy Family Convent in Wennapuwa, Sri Lanka.

14 Counselors from the 7 Don Bosco centers where the program is held were invited to attend. These counselors were appointed after a thorough recruitment and selection process. The attendees all went through the registration process and were shown to their accommodation by 5:00 pm.

The Orientation and Training programme was commenced with an opening prayer, a welcome by the Program Coordinator and the traditional lighting of the oil lamp.

The evening of the 5th was dedicated to ice breakers, games and team building activities coordinated by the Don Bosco Youth Ministry Team. 

Day 2 of the program coincided with Ash Wednesday. All those interested were invited to attend Mass held by Fr. Chalana. After breakfast the counselors were given training on their roles as counselors. Fr. Suresh Jefferson led workshops on the process of counseling, practical and soft skills of a counselor and also on interpersonal relationships. The resulting workshops were a masterclass in counseling. The counselors found Fr. Jefferson’s expertise invaluable. Following the workshops- all participants were asked to prepare a lesson plan (to present to schoolchildren) on relationship skills. The Youth Ministry team was always on hand to give respite to the herculean task of an entire day of uninterrupted and intensive learning. They organized games and activities to supplement the lectures.

Day 3 of the program was dedicated to Career Guidance. The workshops were led by Mr. Robin Raj- a youth worker who focuses on career guidance. These sessions focused on the existing state of career guidance in Sri Lanka in various contexts, the goals of career guidance and the expected capacity of career guidance counselors. Mr. Raj’s workshops were followed by Ms. Kim Ha, who led a workshop on Career Goals and Skills for the 21st century. During Day 3- students were fortunate enough to gain invaluable practical experience in counseling. At the beginning of the day, the counselors were able to visit with retired Sisters of the Holy Family and listen to them and counsel them. In the afternoon- the counselors were able to demonstrate their lesson plan in Relationship skills and deliver a motivational counseling session to a group of Year 9 & 10 boarding girls from the Holy Family Convent School in Wennapuwa.

During the evening all the counselors were taken out for ice cream and to see Wennapuwa at night.

Day 4 of the program was also focused on the practical aspects of counseling and the development of more lesson plans. The counselors were asked to design lesson plans on drug awareness and also career guidance. 

Fr. Stan Pieris started the day off with a workshop on Common Behavioral Problems among children and Identification of symptoms of ‘addiction’. He then went on to describe in detail the desirable soft skills of a counselor. Fr. Thommai also led a workshop on “Dealing with Drug Abuse”. The counselors were all then asked to dedicate more time to develop these 3 major lesson plans.

On the evening of day 4- all the counselors were taken on a trip to the beach. There were many games that were played, a lot of fun that was had and a lot of memories that were made.

Day 5 was a day of reflection. It included watching a thematic movie on the topic of counseling and dealing with challenging cases. 

Following lunch on day 5, the counselors were all dismissed and returned home to conclude a highly successful and productive training workshop. They report to work the following Monday.