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Prepare to EAT - Preparation meeting for European Adventure Therapy partnership
Start date: Jan 1, 2015, End date: Mar 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Mental health amongst youngsters is a tremendous challenge for our society. The number of youngsters dealing with socio-emotional problems like depression or anxiousness and other related mental troubles has reached an alarming level. Among other benefits, is an appreciative point of view in our opinion an important added value that youth work and non-formal education can offer. Adventurous outdoor activities might very well suit this purpose, as they often provide youngsters and young adults a feeling of an extraordinary achievement when participants for example attain the summit after a difficult rock climb. In all our outdoor and adventure educational programs participants are invited to challenge themselves by going out of their comfort zone. In some stages of the learning process, this approach can create emotional and psychological destabilization. These particular stages are very crucial for learning and growing and need appropriate support and care from the youth workers' side. So it is important that youth workers can receive a frame where they can learn to contain and canalize these moments, using interventions that can also facilitate moments of healing with the youngsters (= also a way of learning). This is why we think “Adventure Therapy” (AT) could be an effective method to address the needs of these youngsters. It isn't therapy ‘as we know it', but a way in which experiential outdoor programs within the frame of youth work can help young people on a voluntary basis, in their free-time, to overcome some of their problems. During this preparation meeting we prepared ourselves (European AT-practicioners) to engage in a strategic partnership of 1,5 years, starting from oktober 2015. Through the strategic partnership we want to build a European Network/ community of Adventure Therapists in the future. We saw this project as a feasiblity and preparation meeting to plan and design an application for a strategic partnership in 2015. After the preparation meeting we and our 6 partner organizations were ready to write the application for the partnership together. We are very proud that it all worked out very well and that the application has been submitted on April, 30th. Our main goals for this partnership will be: 1. To provide a platform where youth workers can share knowledge, experience and resources regarding AT as an approach 2. To create a common understanding of AT in Europe and define this into clear and effective guidelines 3. To explore AT as a method used in youth work and experiment with new practices The preparation meeting for this partnership was organized by NATURE (Belgium) from the 22th untill the 26th of September 2014 in the centre of Brussels. Partners were organizations from Iceland, Spain, Hungary, Portugal, Italy & Germany. Participants were 14 people from these 6 countries who are going to coordinate the future partnership together. We did group discussions, vision and mission excercises and split up a couple of times in subgroups to discuss timeframe, budget, topics, etc. of the future partnership project. We also divided tasks, made 'action groups' and put together a ""board of responsables"". The tasks weren't only divided for the partnership as such, but also for the writing of the application form. After the preparation meeting we managed to write the application form together as a team, through google docs and a lot of very effective Skype meetings.

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