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“Yes to Sustainability-Creating Youth Exchanges”, Sieben Linden, 2-6 December 2018

 

To take part in a Youth Exchange is a great opportunity for people between 18 and 30. It’s simple: a group of young people meets to live together for a short period (usually 1 or 2 weeks) to actively experience topics related to culture, environment, society or any other topic of their choice. This happens under the supervision of the Youth Leaders, responsible for supporting the young people through the experience. The Youth Exchanges are funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the EU, whose aim is to equip the young people with knowledge and skills through non-formal education.

 

The training course that took place in the German ecovillage of Sieben Linden between the 2nd and the 6th of December was also part of the Erasmus+ programme and it had the purpose of preparing the youth workers that participated to design new Youth Exchanges in the frame of ecovillages and sustainability.

 

Thirty youth workers from Germany, Slovenia, Serbia, Finland, Turkey, Israel, Russia, Spain, Israel, Italy and the Netherlands followed a training to learn to design, submit, organise and report a Youth Exchange.

“I came because I wanted to learn how to write an application, to connect with like minded people and educate myself more about this network and the programme, ” Eva answered to the question, what her expectations are.

 

During the training the participants gained a lot of knowledge and insights from the experienced trainers Clara and Ulrike, who managed to pass on their experience in a very supportive way. Of course different challenges were faced in the process as well.

“I wanted to be so ambitious but I had to learn how to let go and let others be included. I learned to accept what comes and not to force it.” Ines explained and Simon added: “I realized how much work there actually is.”

 

The training was promoted by Yes to Sustainability, a project led by young people that met a couple of years ago in a similar training in Denmark about ecology and sustainability. That’s why most of the projects are focused on these topics, putting ecosystems and human beings on the foreground and promoting our awareness of the interaction between us and our environment.

 

The result is a stimulating and engaging learning experience and a circle of grateful, inspired and excited youth leaders, who are spread out and connected all over europe with the vision of growing together.

“We laid a strong foundation for future cooperations. We motivated people to contribute to eco village movement and thus to a better world.” Simon summarized the experience.

As a result, 9 real Youth Exchange projects were created. The projects generated from the partnerships that arose during the training, and independent working groups were created with the aim of submitting applications in February to be evaluated by the respective National Agencies. Hopefully this will lead to the multiplication of this experience, making it accessible to even more young people.

 

And what we take home from here:

“This feeling – Wow I can do it!” said with the words of Ines