Project number – 2017-1-EE01-KA105-034734

“EcoTrekking on the way to mindful lifestyle” was an international Youth exchange in which were involved 30 participants from Cyprus, Lithuania, Finland, Czech Republic, Germany and Estonia.

Dates: 08.09.2017 – 14.09.2017 (07.09. arrival day; 15.09. departure day)
Participants: 16-23 y.o. (group leader 18+)
Group per country: 4 + group leader
Venue: Suburban camp Vihasoo, Tammispea Village, Estonia (70km from Tallinn)
Applicant organization: NGO Youth Centre Vihasoo (Estonia)

How was born the project idea:
Estonian initiative group, which consisted of three people, wanted to raise awareness for the topics of environmental, healthy and mindful lifestyle among youngsters. The idea was to show through practical workshops what everybody can do to raise own awareness as well as sharing learned skills and knowledge back in the home countries. Initiative group was ready to share own experiences connected with hiking and environmental friendly lifestyle and choose also the project venue in purpose to show youngsters what it’s needed to protect.

Main aim:
To raise awareness among youngsters in age 16-23y.o. of environmental problems in partner countries and discuss solutions that can be implemented in our everyday lives

Objectives:
• Improve knowledge of environment protection methods across the countries
• Support passion for ecology and environment in youngsters
• Interaction between young people interested in green environment subject
• Motivate young people to do new initiatives (Erasmus +) to promote more ecological lifestyle
• Learn ecological actions and try them first-hand
• Get out of the comfort zone by participating in a two-day hike
• Get to know different cultures
• Non-formal learning experience through methods trekking, games, simulations, team working, sessions
• Foreign Language practice
• Self-reflection on each stage of the project for the learning recognition process

Day 1 – Introduction, getting to know each other, Teambuilding
After all groups arrived together in the evening to the Camp, the project started on the first day with introduction of the stuff, letting participants know about camp rules and first games to get to know each other, to avoid to call everybody “you” instead of using the actual name. With different teambuilding activities we started to break the ice and to interact with each other to achieve managing the tasks together. Of course, we were also talking about expectations, fears and possible contributions of participants to involve everybody as much as possible and making the organization team aware of ideas of participants. The first evening we spent with learning new things about Estonia, Cyprus and the Czech Republic and of course also enjoying the traditional food.

Day 2 – Workshops part 1
On the second day we already started with the workshops. To be more specific: the Czech group organised a world café on the project related topic and so participants went from station to station and wrote and draw down their opinions, ideas and solutions. In the afternoon Estonian group organised a practical workshop and taught how to make a fire and how to cook delicious pancakes on the fire.
After that interesting day we got ready for the second intercultural evening where Germany, Lithuania and Finland showed us what are the specialities of their countries.

Day 3 – Hiking experiences
This day was for some of us already a challenge, for others just a Sunday-afternoon-walk but still for everybody a unique experience. Out from the gates of the camp we started our hike to the half island of Käsmu. During our walk we had to manage some tasks like hiking in silence for one hour and talking with a partner about different questions two other group leaders prepared for us. All that we could enjoy with the beauty of Estonian nature around us.

Day 4 – Canoe trip
The fourth day offered something special for us and for some of us again something new: a Canoe trip. In pairs of two we took a canoe and faced new challenges on the water. Although the river wasn’t that wide, it still prepared a lot of obstacles for us. Stones under the water surface we didn’t see, trunks, which blocked our ways and small curves, which made it sometimes quite difficult to steer the canoe. But all the effort we had to show was worth it for the experience we got and the nature we saw. After that we came back to the camp and learned in the workshop organized by the Finnish group how to repair our clothes and how to make self-made bracelets.

Day 5 – Hiking part 2 and more workshops
On this day we did again a little hiking and had again some tasks on the way. The most difficult thing was to walk blind in groups of 5 people with just one or two people to guide the way, but the solution to guide our groupmates safely through the forest were pretty creative and nobody got harmed fortunately. At the end of our way there was waiting a viewing platform for us with an amazing view over the Baltic sea. Back to the camp in the afternoon we had the last workshops organized by Cyprus and Germany. We were debating about environmental problems and afterwards we did some meditation.

Day 6 – What is Erasmus+ and planning of dissemination process
Our time in the forest came slowly to an end but before we had to talk about our dissemination strategies, because after a project it is still an important thing to do to spread the outcomes of the project. Before we learned more about Erasmus+ to understand the structures and not everybody knew what the YouthPass is, we received later. In the national groups we discussed about possible dissemination activities and some groups had pretty nice ideas like, for example, a Zero Waste week.
Later on, after the evaluation, warm words for everybody and getting the YouthPass, we started a barbecue and campfire evening to celebrate our last hours in the camp. We enjoyed the atmosphere under the sky with stars, playing guitar, singing and talking with each other.

Day 7 – Saying goodbye to the camp and coming back to Tallinn
The morning we spend with cleaning the camp, packing our stuff and taking group pictures at the beach. After the lunch it was time to take our backpacks and suitcases and to go to the bus which took us back to the city. The international groups stayed for one more night in a hostel and used the free time in the afternoon to discover the city until they had to departure the next day.

 

Photos from the project

Dissemination process from Estonian team

Title: ” 3,2,1 Action for All”

Project number: 2016-2-EE01-KA105-017373

Dates: 5.11.2016-13.11.2016 (05.11 – arrival, 13.11 – departure)

Participants: 18+ (youth workers, teachers, all of the people who are connected with YOUTH)

Group per country: 3 participants per country, 4 from Cyprus and 5 from Estonia

Venue: Tallinn, Estonia

Countries: Cyprus, Romania, Turkey, Poland, Germany, Spain and Estonia

Applicant organization: NGO Youth Centre Vihasoo, organizing with help from NGO Youth Club Active (Estonia)

 

Objectives:

  1. To increase awareness on social inclusion and equity;
  2. To increase awareness on the importance of Theatre as a tool for enhancing social inclusion;
  3. To share and suggest successful practices using non formal methods for enhancing youth workers competences and competencies;
  4. To improve and develop basic key competences (social, creativity, languages, reflection) to Youth workers for their personal and

professional development;

  1. To train youth workers in the planning and implementing non formal learning through Theatre for empowering social inclusion;
  2. To create new future cooperation and increase the visibility of the results of Erasmus+;

 

 

Day 1: the introduction day.

We spent the morning learning more about each other. We saw a presentation about our staff and found out about their work and hobbies. We played some name games and ice-breaking activities, also we had Team-building exercises. The highlight of this part was the golf game, involving all members as a big nice team.
After lunch break, we pinpointed our expectations and fears about the course, also sharing what we can contribute to the process. We learned about the objectives of the course (raising awareness of social inclusion, theatre as a tool of NFL, creating cooperation for future). We discussed the formal and non-formal learning, as well as social inclusion practices, that take place in each of our countries.
The day was concluded with reflection groups led by our staff members.
In the end of the day we had an intercultural evening.

Day 2: Discussing Social Inclusion.
We started day with some active movements, like dancing in pairs in different styles and touching different body parts, then proceeded to other body contact tasks (to have only specific amount of body parts on the floor). During these activities a lack of verbal communication was very welcome.

After reminding ourselves about the concepts of formal, non-formal and informal learning, we proceeded to discuss social inclusion. At first, we were given a selection of pictures which we discussed in terms of seeing soc. incl. practices on them. Then we had a ‘speed dating’ format discussion about several statements – one part of the team brainstormed the same statement with many people, and others were discussing a range of issues.

We brainstormed the prerequisites for social inclusion, then pinpointing those that we cannot directly control, the so called Factors X. The ones that we focused on today were
a) stereotypes/labels,
b) perception,
c) communication (three types of it: verbal, body language and paralanguage).
We did some tasks to understand more of these factors (i.e. stereotype issues – ‘walking through the park’ story, drawing a child vs drug addict, role-playing activity; perception – passing the information without words, and looking at context as a means to manipulate information; communication – taking up the roles to ‘help the young girl to cross the river’).

Of course, the highlight of today was completing the ‘golf’ task from the second attempt.
Also we had Second intercultural evening

Day 3: Field trip

Today was a day of something different: we went for a little trip to the Vikings’ Village!
In the village we had our two sessions. First focused on the Erasmus+ and everything connected to it. Thus, we learned about the priorities, based on which the applications for projects may receive grants (European citizenship, young people participation, cultural diversity, and involvement of youth with disabilities), aims of Erasmus+ – local (changing yearly) and ‘global’ (developing key competences, promoting intercultural communication, raising quality of youth work, supporting development of youth policy formation, international level of youth work development) and key actions (learning mobility of individuals, strategic partnership, support for policy report).

Then the NGO fair took place, during which the participants were elaborating on the following aspects of their organisations: the key aims, the projects in which the organisation is involved, and three ‘wow’ local things that the organisation is involved in.

After the sessions we indulged in traditional Estonian meals, in some snow fights, and the bravest ones took a walk to the Blue Springs.

Day 4: Collaboration as Factor X

We changed our work location to the YCA palace. The day was devoted to exploring and debating collaboration as one of the Factor X of the social inclusion. Thus, first of all we ‘walked on the E-Quality street’, when we were given roles and, with aid of several questions, have sorted ourselves to different social status in the society. Interacting with others from same soc.status we have discussed why we are in this position, how we feel in it, and what can we do to improve it. Then three representatives of each class had an open discussion. The important lesson from this exercise was that social inclusion means improving the lives not only of ourselves, but of others too.

Next step, we were split for three groups. Togroups were given a society/community description and had to act accordingly in a simulated scenario of being stuck on the island and having to build a common shelter. Despite chaos in the beginning, we completed the task successfully on time. We’ve learned the concept of Venn diagram and were reminded about a common goal as something to facilitate collaboration.

The Nuclear Factory Debate was in order: the team was split into six smaller groups to play the roles of the Unemployed, the Environmentalists, the Youth Workers, the Investors, the Ministry of Energy and Finance resources, and the Community Counsel, to have a conference-type discussion about a proposed building of the nuclear power plant close to our village. Thus we’ve learned that, besides common goal and similarities, there are other factors that can influence the dynamics of collaboration, and collaboration is not as easy to reach when it’s not a life-or-death situation.

Our last big task of the day was the World Cafe, during which we debated several statement regarding social inclusion and role of youth workers, community, education and communication. We finished our day by reflecting via River of Life method. For tomorrow we were asked to bring three valuable things for the sessions

 

Day 5: Practical Workshops

Today was the day to focus more on acting and less on speaking. The energizers played a role of introduction to importance of such aspects as attention, reaction, memory, coordination and so forth. Then was a time to soak in some theory (i.e. Stanislavski’s views and methods, as well as those of Grotowski).

The participants brought the objects that were of certain value to them and shared their stories with others. Then we put our most valuable object to the blanket, having a chance to later reposition or remove it. After that we proceeded to contact improvisation: first, leading a blind partner around the room, then keeping contact with chosen body parts changing either leader or the contacting parts, then letting a blind partner explore surroundings while protecting them from possible dangers.

After lunch we had a chance to be storytellers, and, blinded, to follow the story created for us by our partners. We later proceeded to synchronising walking/standing still, then were creating figures/shapes and adding or changing those. The following part was about dancing and performing – in fours or a whole group (following the leader), also creating a sequence of movements in pairs and then showing them as a mini-performance. The last part of that session was a pair work, where we had to figure out a key spot/point/movement to free our partners from uncomfortable positions.

The very last sessions focused on performance and improvisations ‘on stage’. First the viewers had a task to make the ‘actors’ laugh while the latter ones had to maintain the poker face. Then the actors were given the starting and ending point and had to create a story (beginning with one person on stage, then increasing the number of actors). Finally in groups of five we were creating and showing an episode/etude such that lack of speech/silence would be natural in our story.

We reflected on the day by giving silent thanks to other members of our team, then expressing our emotions about the day in a single gesture.

 

Day 6: Inclusion through theatre – action planning day plus activity with youngsters.

Today we were to put everything we’ve learned into practice working with a group of teenagers. But we started our morning with a mini-workshop by Eric which focused on the communication as a Factor X in the social inclusion. ‘brave volunteers’ were given some statements that they had to convince the audience in.

The brainstorming has began. People were sharing their ideas – first, in groups of fives, then all together. The process was long and tiring, but in the end having divided into smaller groups we managed to create something nice – messy, but nice.

Thus, we had two wonderful intro-entertainers who engaged the kids and divided them into three groups. The groups then worked in separate rooms for around an hour, creating a performance, which was later shown at the common stage. The event was concluded by two very interactive outro-entertainers.

After the kids have left, we have shared our emotions, also listening to what our observers had to say.

Day 7: Final day and evaluation.

The day started with  giving a presentation about  work in the field of social inclusion in Romania regarding poverty.

We proceeded to work in country groups to brainstorm the ideas about dissemination of the project at the local level. The suggestions included: workshops with youth, presentation of newly obtained knowledge to other members of our organizations, spreading out information via social media.

Renos talked about process of planning a project. Currently prioritized topics were mentioned: intercultural cooperation, environment, social inclusion, tools for…, media, employability, refugees, healthy lifestyle, people with NEETS, coaching/mentoring. The objectives for the project should be SMART, and such points as key action, project type, venue, time, target group, and partners of collaboration were outlined. The participants then had to discuss in groups potential ideas for a project and then present it.

The after-lunch session focused on youth pass and developing eight key competences. In small groups the participants made a short episode to depict the competences, the discussion of each followed. We were prompted to make a reflection on a project based on the 8 competences.

Out final session was an evaluation of the whole process. First we revisited out expectations-contributions-fears tree to take off our expectation notes if those were fulfilled. The crown of the tree turned leafless. Then we completed a survey and with aid of several charts (i.e. pizza chart, objectives/activities graph, collective inbox) shared our thoughts and emotions about the project. The ‘cute’ evaluation part involved sharing gratitude to the project fellows and trainers.

We had a lovely dinner in the evening, with a sudden surprise visit of Santa Claus and his Snow Lady! For a little performance for Father Christmas each participant was given their Youth Pass.

 

Photos are here