TC: Let’s be game changers!

Looking at the world we live in, our youth are faced with isolation from the world around them, whether we are talking about voluntary isolation, caused by the effect that technology and social networking has on them, or isolation spurred on by social discrimination towards them, based on criteria such as gender, ethnicity, religion and other factors that they cannot control. Based on the paper “Youth Social Exclusion and Lessons from Youth Work”,
published by the European Commission (goo.gl/N8KPMG) as well as the data published by Eurostat, an estimate of 29,8% of young people in the 18-24 age group were at risk of social exclusion in the EU in 2011 (goo.gl/OyXKlq), numbers that have grown in recent years. Almost one out of three young people within that age group is in jeopardy of being socially excluded. This is a need that resonates with all young people across Europe and immediate measures need to be taken to re mediate or reduce this number.
Our project “Let’s Be Game Changers” is a training course that brings together 16 youth workers from 7 different countries in Europe, for a period of 6 days of activity, days in which we tackle the issue of social discrimination, inclusion for minorities from our local communities and we will develop competences on using Live Action Role Play as a tool in our daily struggle to create a multi-cultural and inclusive community in Europe.
Through our project “Let’s Be Game Changers”, we focus on several important aspects for the participants in this project and the beneficiaries of our partner organizations:
– The transfer of knowledge on the topic of social inclusion;
– The transfer of knowledge regarding LARP as a non-formal education method;
– The planning of concrete steps towards raising awareness and taking action in our
local communities.
OBJECTIVES
The main objective of the project is to educate youth workers on the benefits and merits that Live Action Role Play can have as a tool for social inclusion. In order to obtain our main goal, we have set out a series of specific objectives that will better focus the work that we need to do in order to obtain our goal:
a) To create an environment to sustain healthy collaboration between the 16 participants
coming from 7 countries, for the duration of the project.
b) To develop the competences of the 16 youth workers on the topic of social inclusion among
youth
c) To capacitate 16 youth workers, social workers and volunteers to work with the LARP method
through a training of 6 days.
d) To promote the cultures and traditions through the 16 participants coming from the partner
countries during the implementation stage of the project.

Read more about method of LARP at http://imaginaryrealms.org/

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YE: Walk in your shoes- Change the frame to change the game

It took us a while to write a project we had envisioned for some time now. Why? Maybe because of the big wish to do it in a great way, to show the existing need of the world today and to be simple in our try. Living in the present of these days and months in Europe has filled our minds with all sorts of questions. What is happening? Are we slowly but surely reaching back to dark old times where fear triumphed over tolerance, where discrimination was necessary and where people were seen only through national, social, economical, racial prism? Are we slowly and voluntarily going back to the ages against which we have fought for decades? Can we have faith in troubled Europe? In the view of current European migration crisis, intolerance and racial discrimination in Europe has drastically increased. In Europe that is becoming overwhelmed with refugee crisis, in the world beaten and tired of wars, where it seems we don’t have strength to be tolerant and embracing, young people from all parts of Europe need to be reminded of a different perspective, and they will spread this perspective, that humanity in us will triumph, that by our
positive input we will fight discrimination, we will fight stereotypes and we will fight violence. The struggles faced by the population of Europe now, whether we are talking about the citizens of the European states or about the population of migrants that had to flee their home in search of a place to survive, show us that we need a solution, we
need one soon and we cannot have a solution by turning our backs towards other human beings. This project resonates with our most human of needs, the need for protection in the face of danger and without being united with other human beings, no matter what race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any other criteria that should not matter in the face of war and desolation. This exchange aims to identify the common causes of intolerance and analyze persisting cases of non-tolerance on the basis of culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation and race against various minorities, formulate good practices in order to reduce it, as well as strategies, which could help increase tolerance towards minorities in the participating countries and beyond. We bring together 36 young people from following countries: Turkey, Macedonia, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain and
Romania and work together with them on specially thought out activities tackling the problem of intolerance in modern world and triggering discussions about questions of religion, gender, sexual orientation and many more with one basic idea. We want participants to analyze and understand why migrations exist and that is not a new situation we should be afraid of. It intensify participant’s cultural awareness and made them take a more active role in society. We learned how easily we can become better people just by giving a little bit of ourselves. We wanted to show these young people that they can build the society they want to live in and not to have to live in society that is imposed on them. We did those using non formal education methods and by following a learning path through experience similar to the one refugee need to follow in search for a better life. Using this method we tackle racism and foster participant’s empathy and understanding. We want to help young people of Europe „go out to the balcony“ and clear their heads when it comes to intolerance and discrimination, we want to practice morality and kindness while fighting stereotypes and together with them, we want to walk, shoulder to shoulder towards one goal. Our main goal in this youth exchange is raising awareness on the importance of accepting multiculturalism and diversity in changing Europe.

 

Train the trainers „It’s up to me 4“ – Braunlage, Germany (30th March- 7th April 2017)

I started my road trip towards Germany without even thinking about the name: It’s up to me. What a simple and yet, what a complex concept: it’s up to me. Just when I look back I see, how many problems could have been solved so easily. All I know is that host organization is called Naturkultur and that participating countries are: Germany, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Turkey, Macedonia and Spain. We are catching a train from Dortmund and after couple of hours arriving to Braunlage, a village like those from Grimm brothers fairy tales. We don’t have internet and every night participants are cooking dinner for everyone. I am a little bit worried, but it turns out- that is also up to me. As Bosnian group had first night dinner, we were all a little bit worried; how are we going to prepare food for 40 people, what if the food isn’t good, what if no one likes our prepared program…But, it turns out, everyone loves the Bosnian food and Bosnian customs, so this gave a great example for all future groups who, by the end of the training, organized amazing nights and prepared amazing dinners.

The objectives of the training were:

Know-how – To provide the participants with information on how some things are done, why some things are done in particular way, what is behind the scenes of a good organized project, to peek into the decision making process, in the preparation
– Improve participant’s soft skills such as public speaking, presentation skills, self-expression skills listening skills etc
– Provide methods and tools for delivery of workshops – such as different types of simulations, team building games, brainstorming, creating learning environment, creative environment etc
– Provide hard copy materials (guidebooks and written materials)
– Some of the workshops included emotional self-discovery, listening to your body and emotions. Being on the stage/spotlight requires being aware of what is going on inside of you and being able to manage yourself
Provide feedback to the participants. It is really important to receive feedback and do it again, so we would see the growth of the participants during the project
– Show different styles of trainers. There were four trainers from different backgrounds and professions that have very different styles that helped the participants see different approaches and ways of working which lead to finding their own unique style in future
Coaching and mentoring– Apart from the mentoring and feedback during the project, for this edition we are introducing 6 months mentoring process for all participants after the project until their first/next training experience
Self-assessment- Sometimes young trainers are not aware of the qualities that they have and things that they know. Sometimes they think that they know everything and there is nothing new to learn. We will provide a self-assessment opportunity for the participants to evaluate which things they know well, which things they still need to learn.
– To offer opportunities for quality training experiences. Organizing joint projects, creating pool of trainers, getting shadow-trainer opportunities

First things I have learned:

  • having each night and dinner organized by participants is an amazing team building activity       ( national and international teams)
  • not having internet in the venue is the first step towards bonding of participants and being in a „middle of nowhere“ means participants are focused on each other and group dynamics
  • stop crossing your arms if you really want to accept knowledge

 

 

Through activities like competency model, public speaking, presentation skills, self expression skills and, for me, specially, listening skills, non verbal communication and movement we had the opportunity to observe each other and ourselves, to see where are our boundaries and as my very inspiring and creative friend Slobodan said: “Needless to mention, the most important is WHAT we say, but not less valuable is HOW we do it! Participants learned about the ATTITUDE – how a speaker should stand, where his/hers hands should be, what body language is (in) appropriate etc. BEHAVIOR – how a trainer should communicate verbally and non-verbally with the audience, when and how to use jokes, how to move on the stage and keep the attention etc. and the PRESENTATION itself – which methods are the best, what we should never use as a part of our visual assistance, how to structure the ideas and be as concrete as possible!”

Through approach of trainers and their activities, we had the opportunity to see that emotions are powerful tool when it comes to moving and shaking people up, that with emotional approach, we can defeat even the toughest walls.

What have I learned:

  • Filter your words before you say them
  • If you want to be a trainer, you have to be a human being: vulnerable, sensitive and emotional
  • Take a political stand and don’t be neutral
  • We are all made of all 4 elements: earth, fire, water and air, and everyone has to find the balance inside 
  • Trainer is NOT just a person who comes for a project, makes several workshops and goes. Trainer is much more than that – someone who takes care of the participants, who possesses great management skills and is able of great improvisation in crisis situations

Some of the workshops that I found very useful were creating our own activity and being evaluated by trainers, crisis managements ( what to do in case of…) and Q/A with each trainer individually. There, we got the opportunity to learn how would someone much experienced than us deal with a certain situation or behavior. Really good thing was that trainers were very different and had a different approach, so we got more options to choose from and to try and practice in our work.

What have I learned:

  • What techniques to use if participants are being late for activities
  • How to establish authority in the group
  • How to observe participants during activities
  • How to debreif activities
  • How to reflect and teach others how to reflect on the learning process
  • Dialog partner as a good tool for reflection

When I came back home I couldn’t stop talking about what the trainers said, I got lost in my notes, I realized that I even wrote down some small observations that I found useful and can’t wait to implement in my upcoming projects. I already told my colleagues about how I want to open the project, how I want to put the chairs, what kind of food we need to have, how we should create the rules, how to set goals and expectations and that we should never, ever say that we are tired. I also learned how important is to pay attention to happiness of your team, to pay attention on personal and emotional approach, to make participants feel like someone is really taking care of them. 

What have I learned:

  • Believe that people are rooting for you
  • You should pay attention on what food you will serve, to make it stronger, more sweet, to pay attention to details like tea with ginger and honey, big bowl of cocoa (specially if the group energy is falling)
  • „Grow a beard“ – a way of building authority and respect in the group
  • How to ground myself and pay attention to details in movement
  • It is important to have the room for activities neat and clean
  • Don’t just talk about changing the world, just go and change the world
  • Everyone has different style and speed of accepting the information

I ended my journey through Germany with a sense of initiative in a way that I want to make great projects and use the things I have learned. In a way that I want to make myself a better person and with that, a better trainer, someone who will shoot for the stars and make this world a better place, and change someones life, like the people I met in Germany changed mine.

I ended my journey through Germany with a sense that this is only the beginning. 

After all, it’s up to me and it’s up to you. It’s up to us.

Amila Haračić

 

Progress Generators – Seminar, Motycz Leśny n. Lublin (Poland), 04-08.06.2017

Association Evolution is part of the international partnership which builds together a seminar in frames of Key Action 1 of Erasmus+ program, sector ‘Youth’. Main idea of the seminar is to exchange as much knowledge as possible in frames of: structure of organization, dealing with bureaucracy, involving local society in interesting actions, building team of people working in organization, advertising actions, working on different fields. Members of our organization also have a lot of interesting experiences in local and international work, so we hope that this meeting can be useful for all of us.
Our organization will be represented by one person from board of Evolution and one active member.

Progress GeneratorsAssociation HEureka Generator will apply with this project for nearest
deadline, which is 02.02.2017 to Polish National Agency of Erasmus+ programme.

Title: ‘Progress Generators’
Host: HEureka Generator (Poland)
Place: Motycz Leśny n. Lublin (Poland)
Dates: 04-08.06.2017
Partner organizations: Co-efficient (Hungary), Association Evolution (Romania), Brno for you (Czech Republic), Marty for you (Slovakia), Youth Club Active (Estonia), Yellow Sheep Foundation (Poland).
Grant: Erasmus+ Youth, KA1 ‘Mobility of youth workers’

YE Santa Claus is coming to town, Lublin, Poland

The first Romanian Santa Claus in Poland

Seven Romanians from all over the country decided to go to Poland one day in search of Santa Claus! What better way to find him than to apply for the project called: “Santa Claus is coming to town!”?  After arriving in the small village called Motycz Leśny, they discovered Santa was actually with them all along and he was very happy to share his gifts with the children from the village.

“It’s my first time participating in this kind of projects and I was really happy to discover that such opportunities exist for the young people of the European Union. What I enjoyed during this project was having the possibility to go out of my comfort zone by interacting with people from different countries. I discovered we have a lot of things in common. “

Vlad, 19

“This is my 5th project, each of them was very different from the others, but I was happy to discover that I can still be surprised by how many new things I learn every time. I interacted a lot with different generations and I also enjoyed the Christmas party. I could see the joy in the children’s eyes, and even though I could not speak their language, I felt like they were very happy to interact with us. It really made me enjoy the Christmas spirit more.”

Alexandra, 26

“I have to confess that thanks to this project it was the first time leaving home for unknown lands. Upon arriving at the airport of Warsaw I was surprised to be welcomed so warmly by my Romanian team, whose members I had never met before. I know, Latin blood brings us all together, right? Well, it wasn’t just that. When we got to Motycz, a small village partially isolated and fully covered with snow, I recognized the same warmth from the airport, but this time it was coming from Poland and Hungary. Thus, I concluded that it doesn’t matter where you are or where you are coming from, if you are willing to open up and communicate with people, no matter what their nationalities might be, people will not ignore you, but instead will tightly hug you and consider you one of their own. This being said, in moments like this common values can be found between cultures that seemed to have nothing in common at the beginning. “

Samoilă Gabriela-Lorena, 21

“I worked with children before, so the Christmas party was the main reason I applied to this project. During the project I was surprised to discover the customs of other countries. I was happy that I had the opportunity to be Santa Claus for the first time. Even though I could not communicate directly with the children, I had help from the Polish group, one of them acting as a translator. It was a great experience I would never forget.”

Stefan, Romanian Santa Claus, 19

“I found out about the project 2 hours before the deadline and I had to decide whether I would take part in it or not. I didn’t miss this opportunity and now I’m happy I made this choice, even though the trip was very long and difficult. We traveled with the Hungarian team and we got along very well. Then we arrived in Poland and the Polish team was also very nice to us. I enjoyed all the activities and the games and also the free time. One of the days was dedicated to a trip to Zamosć and Lublin, beautiful Polish cities. “

Ramona, 19

Our advice to you is:

Take part in this kind of projects in the future, you will definitely love the experience!

YE: Happiness in the nature; Horni Bečva, Czech Republic

In the end of November, 5 volunteers from Association Evolution were participating in a youth exchange that was held in a beautiful mountain area of Czech Republic. This project was designed to raise awareness and promote different ways of protecting environment among 32 youngsters coming from bigger towns – in the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Macedonia – with the population more than 20 000 in interactive and modern way. How many youngsters are familiarized with the ecological problems? How many of them knows how to tackle them? Do youngsters from bigger towns still have connection with the nature? Everything begins from the nature. How we are behaving to the nature, it can reflect also behaving to each other. The tolerance, solidarity is missing in nowadays society. In the nature everybody has the same rights. The nature catastrophic does not choose if it will be targeted to the refugees, black, whites.
In the youth exchange “Happiness in the nature“ youngsters coming from bigger cities experienced something different. They spent more than one week with people from foreign countries without internet. Why? To connect the balance with the nature. To find out that the nature is the place, where we can be, where we can enjoy our time. The main objective of this project was that participants became aware, acquire knowledge about environmental problems and developed attitudes to behave environmental friendly to the Earth. They found out that the nature can bring us a lot of entertainment more than social network and what is the most important – we can find the moment of relaxing and peace there. During the project, the hosting organization organized beautiful public event, the carnival for the local children where they were painting, playing and doing different arts and crafts with the participants of the project.

YE: MUSICALL – Marmaris, Turkey

14102160_10154559361189078_512696741111593077_nMUSICALL is an Erasmus+ Youth Exchange that took place in Marmaris, Turkey. The project was scheduled on 10 days from 10th to 21st of October 2016 and it gathered 32 young people from Turkey, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Romania and Spain who are from 18 to 30 years old. Each country took part in the project with 5 participants + 1 group leader. Step by step we learned how to prepare public events and develop our skills in this area which we used practically during creating a final event together – 1 hour non-professional musical dance show and fun theatrical parts. We enjoyed intercultural learning and non-formal activities during intercultural evenings, visiting city, getting to know each other activities, team building, games, sharing experience sessions, discussions and secret missions throughout all the project.

The objectives of the project are:
× create friendly, inspirational, creative, safe space for sharing, learning and expanding comfort zone

× develop competences of participants in preparing and managing public events and use them directly during creating musical dance show including all its aspects with active support of youth leaders

× motivate and enable participants, youth leaders and youth organizers set and reach new individual learning goals and so improve their competences

× improving organizational and leadership skills of youth leaders and organizers involved in creating the project

× inform participants and local people about possibilities of Erasmus+ programme

METHODOLOGY

The idea of this project is to use creating musical show as frame for active involvement of participants in all stages. Everyday national groups prepared theoretical input with practical exercises where participants learn all necessary knowledge and skills for creating public events. During the project we focused on creating relaxed non-formal environment in which participants felt free to learn and share their experience and felt safe to come out of their comfort zone. The activities were based on non-formal education and focused on active participation, team work, stimulating creativity, taking new challenges and getting new knowledge and skills.