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Empowering Summercamp Youth Leaders - Next Step
Start date: Apr 15, 2016, End date: Oct 14, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background- European context:Youth and children camps are one of those forms of activities where the educational values and principles of healthy living can be implemented in an attractive and safe way. They are good for the children, because they learn to make new friends, they have fun and exercises, and develop social skills. But summer camps are also very usefull for the development of the youth leaders, they learn to cooperate in a team, to solve problems and conflicts and how to take responsibility. YMCA Nederland is one of these associations, which has worked out methodology of running summer camps, training camp staff and volunteers. In Europe there are many more organisations with long camping tradition, elaborated excellent training systems and high camp standards, recognised by communities. However, in most cases they work separately. This project is a very important step for joining capacities, defining common criteria and training a group of camp instructors within a common system. YMCA Nederland is well placed to be the host of this project: they have very good camping sites and committed young leaders who want to cooperate with their colleagues from other countries.Presently, not all European YMCA movements can boast of developed camp activities or own facilities. The analysis of situation in the Balkans and some YMCA movements in Eastern Europe shows that despite a significant demand for camping services, the YMCA associations are not able to enter the market with a sufficiently strong offer. The main drawbacks are lack of longer camping tradition, weak marketing, insufficient administrative skills and qualified instructors.This project is a part of wider and long-term international cooperation within particular programme area "YMCA Camps in Europe- Towards Common Standards".Objectives of the project:• development of a quality standard and training system that can be adopted by various (YMCA) movements• empowering starting youth leader by being in a training system they can learn a lot from the shared experience and practices• output of useful learning materials: manual, quality criteria for summercamps, adoption of best practices to the training curriculum• informal learning: getting know-how by experience in a typical place for camp activitiesProfile of participant• age; 18 and more• experience of work at camps and/or outdoor activities• ability of work in international, multicultural team• readiness for dissemination the output in the follow-up process• communicative language skills (English)• readiness to work as a volunteer at a summercamp in the summer of 2016Activities are grouped in the following modules:• Volunteer management & coaching• Group dynamics• Safety and Risk Management• Problem Management• Communication in teams and with youth• social safety for children: bullying and child abuse• Practical implementation of games and other socio-techniques in work with youth and parents. Methodology:The particular items are modelled on the proved methodical approaches of the partners. In designing the programme were observed such elements as participatory, to avoid passive involvement, learning by experience (avoiding flat and overgrown presentations and lectures), sharing real experience and practical utility. The forms that should provide dynamic involvement are:- work in groups- study cases- solving tasks- frequent sharing and feedbackResults and impact:• (Development of) basic criteria for quality summercamps• groups YMCA Europe camp instructors will be trained in common system• the trainees will disseminate the methodology in their countries and local association• creation of a YMCA Europe Programme Group "YMCA Camps in Europe" that will coordinate support to camping and outdoor programmes• the association and camp leadership who want to join the network will have to adopt the common methodology and apply the set standardsLonger term benefits:• empowered youth leaders (developing of human resources) and organisations• YMCA camps will be an educational offer to Europe: safe, credible and attractive• The YMCA camps will become a brand name with known quality, recognised by communities, especially by the youth, parents and educational institutions

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