The coordinators form the skeleton of the competition. They are the team leaders, communicate regularly with the organizers and are representatives of the competition at their schools. Their responsibilities ensure the smooth running of the competition and greatly simplify the work of all people involved in the project. The following paragraphs explain their work, their course and their duties.
This text is written by a former coordinator.
When I got this question, I was quite surprised. Nevertheless, I have been a coordinator for two years and the amount of information, experience and stories is impossible to summarize into a text, all this can only be kept in the head and heart. I will try to tell you as much as possible about who a coordinator is. A coordinator- not as a status, but as a person.
One can not be born a coordinator but become one. You'll become a coordinator the moment you sing up for it, it does not matter whether you will or won't be selected. This determination to apply for a project makes every person a person who could at any time become a coordinator. Why? Because from the thousands of students who got to Create&Control it was just tens of those who decided to take up this position.
And who a coordinator is? It is a unique position. All the former coordinators had different opinions, attitudes, and manners, but they all had one mutual role - to take care of their "colleagues". They only needed to stick to these three simple things:
1. Be a friend, not a boss. Everybody in your team are your peers, people under 19 years. We are looking for friendships, not bosses, we listen to friends, not teachers, we talk to friends, not bosses. Does it make sense? It only made sense to me when I made a few mistakes, you now have a unique opportunity to do so without any mistakes.
2. Be a role model. After reading this, you may think about how someone of the same age could be a role model to us. We are going to be coordinators of teams, not going to save our planet. It is about providing all available energy, being in charge of the activities and never seeing defeat, but only room for improvement. Sometimes it can be harder, but believe me, your team will always appreciate it and you will become a better person.
3. Be yourself. These all are, of course, just my advice, you do not have to take it seriously, you might find them very obvious, but not to mention them would be very bad. As a coordinator you have access to more information, you have more opportunities to participate than other members of the team and many decisions lie in your hands. This can make every one a different person. Overly self-confident, unbelievably important, highly arrogant. Avoiding this is easy when you know what to avoid.
The journey of coordinator
A year-long journey of the coordinator begins at the end of the previous school year or during the summer holidays. If one decides to become a coordinator they fill in the application form on which base will be selected 20 students who will experience one year full of new experiences, fun but also responsibility and effort.
The application form is designed to capture as many aspects of the candidate as possible for the following reasons:
1. We all are unique. We do have our interests, opinions, qualities and ideas. We believe that there is a space in the form for you to express yourself the most, and so leave the best impression.
2. Coordinators are people who will be in contact not only with the organizational team but also with the members of their team, jurors and time to time also with teachers or school management. For the organizational team is great to know, at least through the form, how well a person will cooperate with them.
3. Create & Control is a competition that runs almost all year. These months are full of new friendships, diaries full of new contacts and so on. After that year, it will be fascinating for most of you to see yourself from less than a year ago. We try to capture it, after all, in today's world, stories sell the best and we want your story to be the best.
After the selection procedure, there will remain 20 people from all over Slovakia, who have a simple task - to build a team. These teams are to consist of 5 to 10 students from the same school as the coordinator. Regardless of age, which means that 8 year- high schools can choose also from their first classes.
Many of us are former coordinators but we are not able to provide you with a uniform guideline on how to create the team. Some of us chose people we knew, others favoured the selection procedure, some asked the school management or civic education teachers to recommend pupils to whom the competition might be suitable. Those different approaches provided us with different teams but all the results depended on the team effort. So it does not matter whether you choose friends, professionals or total strangers, it depends on the effort the people will put into it.
The selection process is just the first step. The second is the division of competences and functions. We can guarantee that teams without any distribution of functions (they did everything together) came to hardships much more likely to those where were specific main people responsible for various tasks and others could comment. Therefore we summarized 7 core features that each team should be able to cover. It is important to underline that one person can have more main responsibilities, but more than three are not recommended, respectively, each area should have its person, who would be primarily responsible for it.
5. Problem Solver
All these team components are better described in the Team Members section which is primarily intended to members.
The process of team creation can be really hard sometimes, but we believe that our advice and ideas from this section could be very helpful for coordinators as well as specific members during their function selection.
As every year on a cold and rainy October weekend, 20 coordinators will meet in the mythical city of Žilina to gather all the information and learn the things necessary to be a successful coordinator. Coordinators' meeting covers a friendly and not very accumulated agenda because it is all about getting to know each other first. Organizers, coordinators, rules and organizational instructions.
It can be called a turning point. The coordinator will pick a state by drawing lots, which he will manage, improve, bend over the coming months, all with the help of a team. At the same time, it will be a unique opportunity to meet with the creators of the states and to discuss possible issues with them.
After coordinators' meeting
Here comes the part that is fully in the hands of the coordinators. They can participate in all or no activities, they can only be coordinators, but it would be an incredible discarding of the potential of membership.
The primary task of the coordinator, which of course depends on the team structure, will be to communicate with the team and motivate them to be active, to communicate with organizers, to cooperate, to navigate them and to present them information discussed on coordinators' meeting, but also their own gained knowledge and advice. A very important task is for sure also to be in cooperation with the vice coordinator and to adhere to deadlines. The competition can be sometimes difficult, sometimes the opposite, what can cause the change in your activity but these delays are strictly punished, and although we are sorry to punish it, it is necessary.
After the 3rd Žilina summit and the final investments in ministries, awaits all the competitors a ceremony, which usually takes place in Bratislava with the participation of all - jurors, organizers and you - competitors. There are given special attention and thanks to coordinators on the evaluation.
By this evaluation, obviously, the whole competition ends. The ending of the project is accompanied by various activities, such as feedback, discussion and QnA sessions. Thanks to you the competition can be improved and can keep moving forward.
After three years of the project we decided to look back and see what made a coordinator a coordinator, what responsibilities and duties they were supposed to work on and which mistakes were slowing them down. We have compiled these findings into 10 points, which should represent what makes a coordinator the right person.
The icing on the cake
You've come all the way through all the interesting and less interesting things you've read above. This serves as a warning since we believe it is important to inform about it.
1. Coordinator carries a whole other type of responsibility as other members of the team. They are responsible both to the team and more intensively to the organizers. Their biggest responsibility lies in the successful completion of the competition.
2. A paper. Besides that ruins our planet, it is the most universal way to storage the official information. A coordinator is supposed to own and carry these official papers in a larger amount for the whole duration of the project. Signatures, consents, inside information, GDPR sensitive documents. It's not terrible, it's not nice, but it's definitely manageable.
3. Anyone who gets to this point may be afraid of another deterrent point. I can ensure you that it is not like that. This point is a supporting message from former coordinators to all those who are currently deciding on whether or not to become one. To be a coordinator is a wonderful experience full of new know-how, networking, stories and successes. At the same time it is the most appreciated role in the eyes of all jurors, organizers and most cases also team members. And we have to promise you all that Create & Control will be something unforgettable only in a positive sense.