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“Riverwalk- Slovenia”- Discovering and protecting wild and wonderful rivers
Start date: Apr 1, 2015, End date: Oct 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The ?Riverwalk? concept arose out of the desire of youth to explore and get active for wild rivers in Europe, have a meaningful cultural exchange, and share ideas for how to become active citizens for the earth. The organizations (partners) in this project support youth in their leadership development and focus on environmental protection, sustainability and education, are equally interested in these topics. Therefore, they are working together and with a group of young people to make this project become a reality. Due to the diminishing number of free-flowing rivers in the Alps, it is more and more critical that people are aware of the important value (ecologically, economically, culturally) role they play and know how to get active to protect them. This tri-lateral youth exchange will bring together 18 motivated youth (between the ages of 15-30 years old) and 3 coaches from Italy, Slovenia and Austria to travel from the upper stretches of the U?ja River to the Soca River. The project?s objectives are to develop participants? personal connection to nature and wild-flowing rivers, explore topics such as renewable energy, nature conservation, sustainability, and eco-tourism, as well as develop competences such as leadership, team building, project management, and active citizenship. At the same time, participants will experience and practice healthy behaviors that involve outdoor sports and activities, use digital communication tools, develop intercultural communication skills, learn how to live and work together with youth from different backgrounds, resolve conflicts in a productive manner, and co-create a supportive, participatory, and open communicative atmosphere. Methods used will combine non-formal, experiential, and hands-on learning, and outdoor education, skill building and workshops, with the goal that participants will experience a deeper connection to nature, other cultures and the environment, lead to personal development, and encourage healthy, sustainable lifestyles. Activities will include a submersion in nature through hiking, camping, paddling, and biking, as well as peer-to-peer workshops, meeting with inspiring people and experts, sharing of personal stories, and experiencing best-practice examples. Furthermore, there will opportunities for creative expression (art, music, theater) and time for personal introspection through individual and group reflection. The direct results and impacts will be that youth participants will have a greater appreciation for and understanding about the importance of wild rivers, intact ecosystems, ways to live more sustainable and healthy lifestyles, gain perspective on career opportunities or future entrepreneurial ventures within ecotourism, improve leadership and team skills, gain a higher level of self-awareness, and make deep connections with locals, other youth and organizations from various cultures and backgrounds in order to create a strong network of active citizens living and acting for a more fair and sustainable world. Long term benefits will be the participants? greater involvement in political and civic life by being inspired to act and gaining skills for how to get active, spreading of their experience and knowledge to peers and others they tell, and future projects that might ensue. Project partners will gain more experience working together and be able to spread the results within their networks and incorporate new methodologies in youth work within their programs.
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