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Exchange between Scouts groups of Belgium and Macedonia
Start date: May 1, 2015, End date: Sep 1, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The exchange between Scouts groups of Belgium and Macedonia is a project that involves 32 young people between 16 an 23 years old. 17 participants are member of a Belgian Scout Group, the other 15 are connected to the Macedonian Scout Movement. The participants of both groups form the oldest age category in their respective home group. They all have the intention to become Scouts leaders and are currently members. The main goal of the project is for the participants to become good scouts leaders, or in general, youth workers. Both partners are Scout groups who want to coach their oldest members into becoming volunteers. An international exchange can add much value to this learning. One of the pillars in order to reach this goal is the learning of soft skills a Scouts leader needs. Those include interpersonal skills, functional skills and attitudes. Interpersonal skills mean relational and human skills,while functional skills refer to skills related to content and performing tasks. Attitude at last refers to a state of mind. Both groups experience that a formal course on those soft skills isn?t interesting and therefore feel the need to come up with a practice-based alternative. Another important pillar is the learning of functional Scouts skills, needed to be a good leader. Examples are those that come directly into mind when thinking of the Scouts movement. They include making a fire, first aid, pioneering, camping, survival techniques, ? Members of both group have developed their own methods in their time in Scouting but it will be interesting to see how other groups learn this from each other and practice this. The main activity of the project is the exchange itself: the Belgian group visits the Macedonian group for 5 days. This exchange will take place in Ohrid from the 7th untill the 12th of July. In this short week, the participants of the Scout groups will do a lot of activities such as workshops on different topics (project planning, first aid, communication, ...), activities on the water, hiking, camp cooking and pioneering . Most of the activities will focus on a limited amount of technical skills at a time but all soft skills will be addressed throughout the whole week. Since the participants have to organise the whole exchange themselves, they will develop a lot of skills: taking the initiative, organising, managing conflicts and coordinating are just some of them. The participants will in the first place become better leaders. With this experience, they are more self-confident and they will have an increased sense of initiative. Besides, they will be more conscious of their skills and see points where further growth is possible. They will be able to name those skills which makes it easier to stand out for example in job interviews. Since the soft skills addressed in this programme are very well valued by employers the members will have less chances of being unemployed. The European experience will make them more targeted towards the European project and see that we are all united in diversity. Since scouts groups affect the whole neighbourhood and everything is tied together on a local level, this positive impact on the groups will indirectly have an impact on the neighbourhood. On a regional level we hope to excite and arouse other groups, scouts or not, to do a similar project. We believe this makes people more tolerant and open towards each other.

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