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Bridges for Youth: Between asphalt and stargazing
Start date: Jan 1, 2015, End date: Dec 1, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

BRIDGES FOR YOUTH: Between asphalt and stargazing The name of this project reflects the wish to build bridges between international youngsters by means of circus pedagogy. The related theme "between asphalt and stargazing", chosen by the youngsters themselves, portrays the current situation of young people in the (European) community: They are situated on the hard ground (asphalt) of reality (which is dominated by a high youth unemployment rate in Europe, pressure in school and uncertainty about their own personal and professional future). Nevertheless, they always have the "stars" in sight which means they have wishes and dreams which lead their actions. The objectives of the international youth exchange were: intercultural learning, encouraging creativity, participation and inclusion of disadvantaged youngsters. The project was conducted together with groups from Belgium, France, Italy and Turkey and went from 28th July 2015 till 7th August 2015. It was located in the "Jugendbildungsstätte LidiceHaus" in Bremen. For preparing and creating the program, a preparatory visit took place in Bremen in February. 31 youngsters and 7 group leaders participated in the youth exchange and 2 youngsters and 4 group leaders participated in the preparatory visit. The mean age was 13-17 years and both sexes were equally represented. The youngsters were already actively training in their fixed national groups for a few years. Due to the long-lasting contact with the partner organizations and the participation in other circus projects before, the youngsters had a high interest to be part of such an international youth exchange. Since also disadvantaged youngsters (with low language skills) participated in this project, language mediators were absolutely necessary to enable the communication between the young people of different countries. Besides diverse getting-to-know-activities and language animation at the beginning, the circus activities were the main core of the project. All groups presented their own shows in front of a public audience and the other circus groups. They got to know each other and saw the work the others had done so far. In the circus workshops, the youngsters exchanged their ideas about the topic "between asphalt and stargazing" and improvised about it by means of body techniques and movements. In addition, they created a choreography with different circus disciplines like unicycle, juggling, acrobatics, dance, clown acts, percussion, stilts ect. The workshops aimed at creating a show together that was presented in front of a public audience twice. To promote these two shows, the youngsters did a parade through the city of Bremen. To fulfill the youngsters' needs, an accurate planning of all activities and opportunities for feedback and mid-term evaluation were very important. Additionally, there were daily team-meetings and delegates-meetings. The youngsters had the opportunity to exchange and reflect on moods, needs and possible conflicts in order to find solutions together. "Bridges for Youth" aimed at the development and improvement of personal skills (like self-confidence and building of own identity etc.), social skills (like team-building, conflict-management and cooperation) and intercultural competence (like tolerance, empathy, communication skills). The youngsters can use these skills in their daily and work-life because soft-skills and intercultural competence are useful in the labour market. The activities (workshops, shows and free time program) supported European values like democracy and respect for other cultures. The young people had the opportunity to test and develop new forms of motion, roles and performances in the workshops. They were encouraged to think of new ideas and scenes with many new requisites and examples. The international youth exchange supported creativity and opened space for new ideas. Furthermore, the youngsters improved their circus skills and were part of mutual learning processes. The partnerships with the international partners were deepened and opened the doors for following projects.
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