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ConnACT now!
Start date: Jan 9, 2015, End date: Jul 8, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In a world in which time is limited and where we connect through our telephones, computers or other new technological communication options, making contact with people around you is becoming an exception. ConnAct now has been developed on the need of young people to really connect with themselves and with others. Youngsters from the Netherlands, Finland, Italy and Spain came together from 2-9yj of May 2015 in Stede Broec, the Netherlands to challenge themselves and discover ways and tools how to connect ConnAct Now! has been designed to support youngsters in developing skills to make interpersonal and intrapersonal connection. The group formed a divers group of 25 youngsters with different ages, believes, cultural background. Many participants are youngsters with fewer opportunities. For all participants it has been the first exchange and the most youngsters never been to the Netherlands before. The age range was 13- 26, a rather big difference, especially the Finnish group was composed by youngsters from 13-17 years all and as they are youngsters with learning difficulties, they needed special care and support. The group leaders encouraged all participants to include these youngsters. ConnAct Now! Took place in the municipality of Stede Broec, where Welzijn Stede Broec is located. For sleeping and free time the group stayed in the municipality camping in smaller tents and a large army tent has been set up for free time. This has been challenging for all groups, regarding temperature and comfort. After 4 days the group had to move to the scouting for safety reasons, as a severe storm raged over the region and official weather alarm has been announced. The evacuation in the middle of the exchange had a strong effect on the exchange, but also brought new group unity. Working and eating took place in community center ‘t Stadsplein, one of the locations of Welzijn Stede Broec, that has several workshop rooms and a well equipped kitchen for 45 people. Travels took place with bicycles, which was challenging too for many participants. A car was always available for supporting those who could not bike, and for emergencies. The programme was balanced in intrapersonal and interpersonal time, free time and working time, teambuilding and discovery. It has been adapted to the situation, the time issues (delays as a result of the cold and the travel time with bicycles) and the evacuation. Participants took an important role in the content of the programme, also each group prepared on cultural dinner. Participants and leaders were responsible for cleaning the kitchen and working in mixed group definitely added to the group feeling. Dutch NA came for an on-the-spot- visit and they were extremely content with what they saw. The group allowed people to be vulnerable and participants supported each other. Group spirit stood out. Aim and objectives have been reached, but overall it has been more than challenging experience.

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