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Exploring European citizenship through experiential learning and outdoor activities.
Start date: Sep 25, 2014, End date: Mar 24, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The idea to make this youth exchange came during the previous European Citizenship TCs where the representatives of some of the partner organisations met to discuss the topic. During the workshops on what European citizenship (EC) means for representatives of different corners of Europe it was highlighted that EC is perceived as a feeling of historical, social and cultural bonds to the continent sharing its common past, present and future rather than any political/economic union and at that practicing active attitudes to play an effective role on all levels of responsible policy making. The theme of this exchange is promoting EU Citizenship and the rights that go with it through out-of-doors environment using experiential learning methodology, stimulating the active participation of young people in European policy-making, thus enabling young people to behave as active, informed citizens. This implies that the exchange will develop certain attitudes and skills both in young people and peer leaders to improve European citizenship education in peer-to- peer youth work as well as to explore and to understand experiential learning and outdoor education methodology as an approach to youth citizenship education. This 10 days youth exchange will bring together 14 young people and 2 group leaders from the UK, Turkey, Ukraine and Azerbaijan to Baku region of Azerbaijan from the 1st till the 10th of December 2014. The objectives of the project are: - to present and discuss the legal background for developing youth work connected with EC between EU and Partner countries. - to explore possible policies and strategies of making EC present on all levels of youth work concentrating on a grassroot level. - to explore and understand experiential learning and outdoor education methodology as an approach for youth citizenship education. - to stimulate the active participation of young people in European policy-making. - to develop attitudes and skills of young people and peer leaders for improving citizenship education in peer to peer youth work. - to reflect on essences (principles, attitudes) of democratic citizenship, to increase awareness about skills and attitudes of young people that should be developed for becoming active European citizens (through youth work activities). - to identify and compare what is to be a European in Azerbaijan and Partner countries (non EU members) and EU itself. - to increase understanding how non-formal learning can enable to develop those skills and attitudes of young people (reflect on principles of non-formal learning through practical exercises and reflection sessions). - to develop skills to use experiential learning as an approach in citizenship education (by reflection on experiential activities and by running workshops during the exchange). - to develop EU - non-EU partners co-operation in the youth field by empowering young people to participate in the development of European youth projects. The target group for the exchange is youngsters with lesser opportunities. These youngsters are experiencing exclusion with economical, social and educational challenges to overcome. The exchange will initiate new youth participation projects with young people having economic and employment problems in order for them to become motivated and trained in youth citizenship issues using experiential learning and outdoor activities and other empowerment and inclusion methodologies. The project methodology will be based on experiential learning and outdoor education principles. We are intending to use the experiential learning and outdoor education methodology. The activities foreseen during the project will be workshop based, which will include practical activity (presentations of participants and organisations; intro to European citizenship / active citizenship; intro to outdoor education and experiential learning; presentation of the Erasmus + Programme), facilitated discussions, sharing of ideas . Youngsters form partner groups will also prepare Experiential learning workshops in a medium of their own choice. The idea of this exchange is that advantages gained and skills acquired will be used not only by participants of the project but also spread around local youth groups and the organisations that take part in such intercultural follow up projects will relate this to both a local and European context. One of the project’s aims is also to initiate cooperation with the Neighboring countries of EU, which is perfectly matching with the European Neighborhood Policy. The Erasmus+ Programme will be also explored and promoted which will lead to follow-up projects and usage of the skills gained during this exchange in them in terms of paying more attention to the topics of Valorization and Transfer of Knowledge.
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