In 2012, the Ivanaj Foundation of Tirana was invited by the Outdoor Ambassadors to become their local implementing partner in their Annual Youth Leadership Training Conference. The Conference was held on February 10th-12th in the city of Elbasan. The training brought together 40 students from across the country to participate in a 3-day conference to network with environmental experts and community leaders and participate in a project design and management workshop. Our development manager, Ida Shehu who was also invited to speak at the conference, discussed what leadership meant to her, how she became a leader in her community while living in the United States and answered many questions that students had about the challenges and adversities faced by immigrants.

Participatory sessions were led by PCVs, representatives from local government as well as environmental experts. Upon learning about the environmental challenges facing Albania, participants were challenged to identify the most pressing concerns in their community and to design projects that addressed these concerns. At the conclusion of the training, each club had a project proposal outlined, with written goals and objectives, generated timelines and identified avenues for building community support for projects they will subsequently implement in their own communities.