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Netherlands Bulgaria Romania Poland Outdoor Exchange
Start date: 01 May 2015, End date: 01 Dec 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

CONTEXT With this exchange we brought together youngsters from different parts of Europe with big difference in upbringing, education, and cultural backgrounds. By bringing together these youngsters, they learned about cultural similarities and differences, and how to cope with these. The setting for the project was an outdoor setting, as we believe that an outdoor environment is very suitable as an informal learning environment. For many, especially young people and those experiencing limited physical health, stepping outside into an outdoor environment can be a real challenge. Bulgarian and Romanian minorities in Western Europe are often part of disadvantaged groups in society. This often leads to prejudices about these minorities among West European youngsters. OBJECTIVES Objectives for this youth exchange were: 1) Increased self-empowerment and self-esteem; 2) Improved foreign language competences; 3) Enhanced intercultural awareness; 4) More active participation in society; 5) Better awareness of the EU and EU values; 6) Increased motivation for taking part in future education or training. PARTICIPANTS Scouting ’t Volbert, The Netherlands - 17 participants, 15-19 years, existing mixed boys/girls group - 1 accompanying person. - 3 leaders - Outdoor oriented Champions Factory Sports Club, Bulgaria - 16 participants, 15-19 years, mixed boys/girls group - 2 leaders - Outdoor sports oriented Asociatia Economeq Scouts, Romania - 15 participants, 15-19 years, mixed boys/girls group - 2 leaders - Specialised in Labyrinth Theatre Youth of Europe, Poland - 8 participants, 15-19 years, partly existing group, mixed boys/girls group - 2 leaders - Informal group ACTIVITIES & METHODOLOGY Energisers: Activating mini games / Hike and hike activities; Ice-breakers: Ice-breaker games; Group building: teambuilding activities: outdoor labyrinth / code war / campfire / movie night / mountain biking / climbing; Get to know each other games: Activating mini games / name games / intercultural welcome party; Presentation: Presentation of the project / Presentation of the organisations / hike preparation game; Simulation Exercise: code war / City-game / it’s not fair / cultural confusion / back to basics / Facebook live; Working in groups: Hike and hike activities / Canoeing; Trust and problem solving: Leader-team of the day / Hike and hike activities; Evaluation: Nightly evaluation / project evaluation. RESULTS For our youngsters, working with their peers enforced them to work on their language skills. By sharing particularities from their home countries to others, they became more aware of other cultures. An important role for the youngsters in the project was managing daily chores, daily evaluation (see "NT Daily Evaluation form.pdf"), and the daily schedule in an intercultural leader-team of the day. Thereby enforcing them to actively participate in the group. By organizing simulation exercises and problem solving activities youngsters became more aware of the EU and EU values. We focussed strongly on building friendships, and building networks for intercultural exchanges, challenging our youngsters to think about their own future roles in voluntary work, outdoor environments, and work prospects. IMPACT The main purpose of this youth exchange was to transmit concrete knowledge and methodologies to young people about intercultural exchanges; also, we transmitted values of cohesion and activism to promote cooperation between the participants, so that they can act as “multipliers” in their own countries and local communities. Specifically, we reached for these impact goals: 1) Remove prejudices amongst the cultures, based on what youngsters experience of those cultures in their home countries. 2) Give the youngsters the confidence to make their own decisions and create their own opportunities 3) Make the youngsters aware of the cultural and socio-economical differences between countries and the participation within the EU. LONG TERM BENEFITS We foresee long-term benefits for our participants and leaders. The skills of organising an international exchange, building networks and friendships between the participant’s countries benefit the youngsters for their adult life to come. We expect to raise interest among the participants to study abroad, and to work in an international setting. We especially expect interest from our mother organisations on organising international youth exchanges. Not all national mother organisations have a lot of experience with the Erasmus programme. We can take back the experiences and share them to our organisations. Some of the effects we already see are interested among many participants for the EVS programs, awareness within our mother organisations (for example: Scouting Nederland) to participate more actively in the Erasmus+ program.
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