Yes to Sustainability – Creating youth exchanges
20th-27th SEPTEMBER 2023
We are a group of young people from various countries: France, Slovenia, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Romania, Italy & Germany. Unfortunately, we did not manage to welcome participants from Serbia, Armenia, Russia, and Poland this time. All aged between 23 and 48 years old, brought together by the ‘Yes to Sustainability’ network through the Erasmus+ KA153 programme, to learn how to create Youth Exchange programs in the beautiful eco-initiative community of Grain&Sens (applicant and host organisation) in France, located in the plateau of Ardeche, surrounded by a chestnut forest with a stunning view of the Alps.
From the beginning, this training’s main goal was to facilitate the formation of groups in which participants collaborate to create their own Youth Exchange projects.
The first day was dedicated to settling into the space and creating a safe environment to build group dynamics. We began with a general overview of the program, including discussions on institutions, Erasmus+ goals, priorities, initiatives, and the ‘Yes to Sustainability’ project.
Afterwards, we opened the floor to dream about our projects. Step by step, as participants connected with their inner project ideas, common concepts began to emerge. We had the opportunity to explore specific ideas in detail, creating shared spaces such as ‘Walk & Talk,’ ‘Open Spaces,’ and ‘Storytelling.’
Ultimately, we formed 5 common groups with shared objectives. As we got deeper into the theoretical aspects of project development needed for the applications, we clarified our needs, objectives, target audience, learning outcomes, and impact.
Throughout the entire project, we had the support of facilitators who provided tips and answered our questions.
We also had time for networking, social interactions, celebration, and cultural discoveries, including a pizza night with a concert, a bonfire, storytelling sessions about alternative forms of living, a no-talent show, and more.
HERE’S SOME TESTIMONIALS FROM THE PARTICIPANTS:
« I did not fully know what would happen in the YE creation training. I just knew I was meant to be there. Now, I’m just amazed by all the projects, by the beautiful people that gathered, by all the initiatives that have sprouted and come to fruition. In just 6 days, connections emerged, partnerships and friendships, all going in one direction: contributing from our heart.»MARION
«When I first arrived at this training, I had no specific expectations about what I would encounter. However, as I’ve placed my trust in the process, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover something new every day. It feels like I’m steadily progressing towards my ultimate goal, and the transformative power of Erasmus+ is already beginning to unfold.»MARIA CHIARA
« After an interesting local bus journey through the beautiful French mountains and plateaus, I arrived at a little magic place surrounded by green forests and an overwhelming view of the mountains. After 7 days of intensive and productive work, I feel proud about all the exchange of knowledge, culture and ideas in that cosy and centenarian stone house. Connections were made, and projects to build a better future were born 🙂 »PEDRO