From 24 to 30 October 2019 the “Training Course: creation of Youth Exchanges on sustainability, applying theatre and music as a tool” was held at the Ecohousing of Valdepielagos, for the writing and management of Erasmus + Youth Exchanges (YE).

The Training was designed and realized by Manuela di Folco, Alejandro Guidotti and Maria Luisa Garachana and hosted by Asociaciòn Teatro Sol y Tierra, involving also local artists.

The project gathered a colorful group from Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Denmark, Greece, Portugal, Serbia, Finland, Ukraine and Netherlands. Right from the start we were welcomed in a friendly and warm way by the locals: the Ecohousing of Valdepielagos is in fact an ecological district, for ethics and bioconstruction, consisting of 30 houses in which our rooms were divided.

The activities took place mostly in a common area, in the house of Victor and Mar, marionette artists who founded the Teatro Sol y Tierra, now helped by their son, also called Victor, who made his artistic and creative contribution in the last days of our stay, letting us explore the potential of the theater as a tool for expression and representation of a common message.

In the first three intense days we made a full immersion in the world of Erasmus + and approached, some for the first time, its platforms, its technical terms, its bureaucracy… A lot of notions to learn! But thanks to Manuela, Maria Luisa and Alejandro, it was simple.

Alternating energetic and dynamic activities with study sessions, we never lost focus.The most important phase was certainly the one that helped us  move from “Dream to Reality”, making us recognize the possibility of writing a YE project on topics that are close to our hearts, allowing other young people to live educational and training experiences oriented to a more sustainable lifestyle. 

In the drafting of our project we have gone through the various stages of creation, from the imagination to the practical part, working first as individuals, presenting our dream with a small performance, then in groups, enhancing the cooperation and the common vision, but also the particularities of each dream through, for example, the division of tasks and roles.

There were also artistic activities such as the evening with MusìLabUs (Roberto and Raquel), with their highly original project “Positive Conspiracy”, where each of us could experiment in rotation in different artistic disciplines arranged in specific areas of the room, called “petals”, such as Creative Writing, Painting, Movement, Disguise, Music;or the ambitious creation of a two-hour play, brilliantly orchestrated by Victor, in which our most absurd talents and ideas have come together to create an instructive and surreal show!

With this creative and proactive energy, supported by our trainers, we have spent the last few days working in teams on our future Youth Exchanges, juggling brainstorming, notes and the (no longer so) fearsome Erasmus+ guide!

We discovered how to finance important projects like this, find partners – and new friends – with whom to collaborate in practice without ever stopping to dream, we lived in community, sharing common spaces and times, and we fed on the magic that only an environment full of trust and laughter can generate!

Now we are able to continue to work with this group at a distance (they have also instructed us on this!) and we opened even more our horizon of work opportunities, knowledge and friendships throughout Europe! Doing this training has made us more aware of the tools and impact that, as individuals and communities, we can have to make this world a better place.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt-SRwjhz1E&w=560&h=315]