My experience with Edgeryders

Here is my summary of this Edgeryders journey I started in October.

Before the event
I started from the scratch(no community) and went straight into building community and organizing the workshop. Took me some time to figure out which medium to use to reach people. Facebook and personal approach were the ones I thought would work best and that’s what I did.
Have to say in my contract we agreed this was a part time job but it was far from that. I worked a lot. Serbian people are very very sceptic and when something new comes they instantly do not trust it nor like it. I guess that’s understandable considering what this people have been trough for the past 3 decades.
My idea was to reach only those I considered to be genuinely interested in this type of community. And to bring interesting people in workshop, especially when it comes to speakers because I needed those who people trust.
This is a completely new experience for me. I had never before organized an event or been in a community or been facilitator at the event.
Huge thanks goes to @Noemi and @jasen_lakic , cause I don’t know how would this be a thing without them. We had a month and a half to put it all together. It was intense.

The event

Around 25 people registered for the workshop and 17 actually came.
After short introduction Noemi came up with the idea how to “make” all participants relaxed and comfortable to speak. We played a game and I think that was the key for successful workshop.
Everyone had fun, everyone participated and talked. Atmosphere was friendly, as if everyone knew each other. It was easygoing and the energy was really good. Participants said it would be fine if it lasted for 2 days :slight_smile:
All of the participants were confused by the Edgeryders concept and had no idea what is going on. But they showed up anyways which is a great indicator that we need stuff like this here in Serbia.
The whole event was more like introducing Edgeryders and getting to know each other, there was not a specific topic that was mainly discussed, which is fine I think.

After the event

Feedback is positive. Everyone had a great time, we laughed, we discussed, we learned and all left facility feeling inspired. Workshop was different than those we are used to here. Everyone liked that it was interactive and that everyone participated. I feel as if people are sick of just listening to those who always speak and they sit and listen.
Participants were pretty heterogeneous and we all liked that. Tho it was a strong feeling that there is something we all have in common regardless to what we do and who we are.

How did i do
I am pretty satisfied. Considering it is my first job in this kinds of stuff. Still I have a lot to learn about building a community, organizing the events and get into peoples minds to optimize the effect and the results.
As a facilitator I was pretty shy and nervous :slight_smile:
I am happy with my communication abilities and how easy it is for me to make people trust me, I didn’t know that before.
The whole process and stepping into unknown was pretty stressful but I liked it. This is exactly what I wanted and needed.

What have I learned

-From Edgeryders- I learned that there are people who actually work on these topics and this area as a job. As I said earlier I didn’t have any contact with this before. I learned how much I have to learn about society and how to be useful. I met some very interesting people in this process and that is my goal. Creating my network of great people.
-At the workshop- Learned about technical stuff about workshop organizing. How to approach. what is important, how to relax people…
Plus I learned that there are people here who really care about themselves and their society, they are not those who are brainwashed and they have great ideas and great enthusiasm.

What I think our next steps should be

People are sick of listening to some whit great spirit and ideas talking to them and telling them how they should do something. If we want these people who showed interest to stay with us we need to give a few examples of how to do things, how to get in action. We are not used to this. We need examples. Telling them “Gather around something you consider important for you” will do nothing. We are society who is deeply depressed and we lack of enthusiasm and initiative.
We need at least 2 small events we will organize to give an example and make them open their minds and think what could they gather around by themselves.
Maybe exchange of books, or clothing(we have that going on every winter)… Anything to make them do not forget why we are here.
It’s even hard to get their stories on the platform, tho Jasen and I thought that’s gonna be easy.
They simply have to see things going on. Talking will get us nowhere.

I am pretty sure this report is not done. I will add things.
Thank you everyone!

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Thank you @TamaraVuk for this very reflective report :slight_smile: !

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Nice to meet you, @TamaraVuk! This is a very fresh, candid report. Thank you for that, really appreciated.

Interesting! Compared to what? Which societies, in your opinion, are not depressed? Can you explain what makes you think that?

Thank you very much @TamaraVuk for this report. It is very encouraging for those of us that face similar hurdles. So glad to hear that you are encouraged by your progress as well. Please keep up the good work and providing reports. This helps us all to feel there is hope in community.

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Question “What’s the meaning of life?” Is easier than this one!! :slight_smile:

I’ll give you na example- When people retire here, they are basically sitting on the couch and waiting for death to come pick them up. If someone is spending their last decades doing something or having hobbies- crazy peron alert!! That’s how others see that person. While having a hobby when you retire is a normal thing in Europe.

Those who act and show interest in making changes are considered idiots, idealists, unrealistic … so there is always that part “Is it ok if I join those who are actually taking action” in people. Even if they are sure that’s something for them.

Hope you understood. This was confusing even for me!

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Ok, @TamaraVuk, makes sense. I hope you are not idealizing European societies. :slight_smile:

Let me dream!! :slight_smile:
JK, my family live in Germany.

Not so easy to explain but she is right. Most common reaction I get from people i discuss things with is “so glad I met someone so positive and enthusiastic about change here” (even though I noticed @noemi sometimes laughs in surprise as well…must be the Balkans part of her haha).

In short: There was war, breaking up of the old system, international isolation, rise of criminal groups and corruption, then “democracy” hit and everyone was full of hope. It led to further destruction and theft of the country through shady privatization, more lies and empty talk…
Stories of success most people see are corrupt politicians and criminals, system of values is turned upside down.
After all that, it’s really hard to explain to people that they can still change things, make it better, that it’s possible to succeed if you invest in yourself, work hard and are armed with patience and determination.
We meet with a lot of doubt, skepticism and pessimism…some of the reasons I wrote above.
It didn’t come to be this way overnight so it won’t change overnight as well, I believe it is slowly changing though and every successful project we launch or help someone launch will contribute to that through solid examples nobody will be able to deny.

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Wow, @jasen_lakic. This is a very good explanation, actually. Thanks.

But I wonder: why does it not seem to apply to populist recipes? Populists promise change and sovereignty, and enough people find them credible to support them… what is their secret?

Wish I knew that :slight_smile:.

From talking to a lot of people around here, I can give you few of their answers and they are legit for me really:

  1. “Look at the opposition, some of the spokesmen have already proven they are useless, corrupt individuals”. Dragan Djilas, so called entrepreneur but in fact a guy who shames that profession for me and everyone else truly living it. I will not go into details about him, you could write a book about all the ways in which he wasted and stole public money.
  2. “He never clearly said what will he do, we are sick of talk”. Opposition often focuses on why leader is bad, not what good will they bring. For example when I followed Vuk Jeremic candidature two years back, I did it because some common friends we have told me he is a serious candidate and that I should pay attention. I watched few of his speeches and quickly decided he is not going to get anywhere simply because he kept trying to trash current government but I heard no solutions. I decided I wouldn’t support him either (I am not citizen of Serbia anyways but I wouldn’t support him through other means).
  3. Opposition fractured because some of it is fake (created for the purpose of taking votes from real opposition)
  4. “But things are happening, we are rebuilding”. That part is true and is visible around Serbia. The thing is, previous governments were often so bad that when you compare the current one with them-the current one wins. The bar is set very low.

Real opposition gets minimum media exposure and the small bits they get are often just to attempt to provoke them and not really let them speak about their program (very little freedom of media, people are bombarded with all the amazing stuff about their government every day and all the other manipulation strategies like playing the enemy card, from within or from outside of the country).
Also the current government stole so much money already and created such a system that they can buy 50% of the votes for sure, even without all the positive things people see in it or are manipulated into seeing.

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Thanks, @jasen_lakic! But I guess @TamaraVuk was talking about mobilizing people around something to do, not just voting.

(BTW: this is starting to look like a thread that might be moved to the public forum, as now we are discussing populism itself rather than the project. What do you think, @amelia?)

You asked that specifically in your previous reply :slight_smile:. Tried to find some meaningful reasons for that.

Considering the project:
Yes, I think too Tamara was talking about mobilizing people. It is very important especially since people lost faith and are very skeptical in general. That’s why I believe we need to start with something small and accomplish it, create a small victory for the people involved and people looking at us with skepticism. Sooner we do it, better it will be for all involved. Our goal, after all, is to kickstart projects which will improve the quality of life of community in question. Sooner we do something really useful, sooner we demonstrate with a solid example nobody can deny (I mentioned it in previous reply).

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Yes! Useful.

Actually, this workspace is already public. I just added the tag to it. Code away.

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