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YOUTH TOGETHER IN SPORT
Start date: Feb 2, 2015, End date: Sep 14, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This youth exchange involved a group of 18 young people from Malta who held a youth exchange with a group of 18 young people from Prato, Italy. The project created enthusiasm among our Club's youths to the extent that an additional smaller group from the locality asked to join the approved group who were part of the original plan at their own expense. This augurs well for the future where the club could apply for new projects with another possibly in a different country. Our aim during the exchange visit was to provide our youths with a wide range of different opportunities and not simply the provision of training aids. The club is constantly aware of its role in contributing towards youth development by adopting a holistic approach and in offering them opportunities that can help to develop their skills, their understanding of the factors that surrounds them and that have an impact on them. We believe that football can act as catalyst to youth development where we promote discipline, mutual respect, prospective career development and promote healthy and active lifestyles. We had clear specific objectives in mind for this youth exchange, which were the following: - to improve their interpersonal and communication skills by meeting with different youths; - to enhance their knowledge on different cultures which although very close to our shore are still very much different; - to enhance the international dimension of our club which may help us to create long lasting relationships - to learn about healthy diets and how to lead healthy lifestyle that have the scope of improving the youths' well being - to allow youths to share together their love for sports - to expose our youths to the professional formation of character based on discipline and high moral values - to learn about the various faces of sport - inclusion, professional development and links to European citizenship Several activities were organised which consisted of cultural visits, outdoor activities and workshops to ensure that the participants benefit from the opportunities provided by this youth exchange. Several aspects of sport both in terms of how it can bring more social inclusion as well as defining sports as a language and a tool to learn to respect diversity were discussed during informal sessions. Ultimately, the reason behind these activities were to create a bonding experience between the two cultures. We wanted that this exchange would achieve the following benefits: - Improved communication between participants involved in the exchange; - learn more how to work in a team, reach compromises and listening and respecting others' opinions - learn to come up with new ideas for the activities and the youth exchange in general; - Learn more about different cultural backgrounds and who to respect others coming from different cultural backgrounds - practicing another language other than Maltese or Italian, in this case English. - Improvement in interpersonal skills and communication skills; - Learn to be more socially and culturally inclusive; - Learn to take an active role in the community and encourage others to engage in more physical activities - Learn more about the importance of participating in sports and living healthy lifestyles - Learn more about the opportunities provided to youths through Erasmus+ The group was well prepared before departure what was being expected from this visit. The group had to travel during very late hours to reach its destination, catching buses and trains just after landing with extremely tight schedules. This also creating an additional experience, i.e. how to cope in uneasy situations while looking forward to reach a destination in view of the number of activities that were planned for the days following. This created also further bond between the youths where they collaborated with their group leaders to the full in order to reach destination without missing the necessary connections.

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