Keeping the flame burning – new perspectives for Yes to Sustainability

Last week, the Yes to Sustainability project team met in Arterra Bizimodu for mentor training in the frame of the ongoing Yes to Sustainability Partnership co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the EU.

The goal of the training was to empower youth workers within the project team to support and mentor young people who engage as organisers of youth exchanges, integrating the evaluation of previous mentoring activities and the sharing of good practices of mentoring with elements of network support and community building.

The facilitator used storytelling and the model of the Hero’s Journey to define what is a mentor in a broader sense and differentiate this role from the teacher and the facilitator. The participants shared good and bad experiences in our roles and mentors and mentees and we worked on motivation and empowerment for future mentors.

Clara Ruiz, one of the founders of the YTS network, came to visit from Lakabe, a neighbouring ecovillage, to share about the history of the origins of Yes to Sustainability and reconnect the young participants with the original intention and spark again the flame of a project that was born to create opportunities and make the ecovillages more accessible for young people.

The training focused also on advanced aspects of project design, preparation, implementation and evaluation for sustainability youth exchanges and the participants got the chance to explore their vision of the future of the network and to reflect creatively on what keeps them motivated and connected with its goals.

Finally, the participants harvested the results and shaped them in a proposal of a mentorship scheme to be offered to future sustainability youth exchanges organisers, with whom the participants will have the chance to put their skills into practice.

After the end of the training, a group of participants stayed in Arterra for a project meeting to work on several project management aspects and on the new structure that will serve the network in the future. They also took the first steps for the organisation of the last meeting of the partnership that will happen in the Netherlands in spring 2023.

This strategic partnership that comes closer to its end was a great boost for the YTS network to involve more young people in its structure and its decisions, to reach out a bigger number of youth exchange organisers and to empower them to organise sustainability youth exchanges. 

Next spring will surely turn a page in its history, but the Yes to Sustainability network will continue in its mission to create transformative learning opportunities for young people in ecovillages and sustainable initiatives, so keep an eye on yestosustainability.org for more news!

Photos by Marina Ristic

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