The youth exchange implemented from 19 to 28 June 2019 under Erasmus + KA1 – Learning Mobility of individuals was certainly one of the phenomenal experiences for all involved.
Within the Art & Crafts Woodpeckers project, the PRONI Center for social education hosted a total of 25 participants from 5 different organizations / countries at the Pirovac Training Center, who, through their enviable contribution to the development and implementation of the activities, made this meeting of young people and their leaders a unique learning ground, work and socializing.
In an effort to develop new abilities through Art & Craft, we have provided participants with the opportunity to acquire special skills through exchange of experience, exchange of customs and practice in the creation of practical facilities for everyday reception using recycled materials available in nature or reuse of already used materials and tools. Keeping this in mind, the goal was certainly to encourage young participants and their leaders to reflect on the exploitation of acquired knowledge and experience for the development of their own or for the benefit of their parent organizations, entrepreneurial initiatives that would bring them additional earnings or savings in terms of satisfying their basic or professional needs.
The theme of the project, which carries the culture and ecological significance, served as a tool for understanding needs, above all in the labor market, promoting creativity as the basis for excellence and success. However, as basic methods of work we used informal ones like icebreakers, group work, thematic evenings, discussion/discussion, oral presentation, outdoor activities, simulation games, exercise / practical work, activities/interaction with the local community.
The competences acquired by the participants are of great importance for their personal and professional development, and if we emphasize each, we should bear in mind their understanding of what they ultimately expressed by emphasizing the acquired competences. Communication skills, a focus on expression through the use of “art” in the context of practical work, were emphasized in the cooperation and communication between all participants, which was crucial for achieving the end goals. We also emphasize communication in our native and foreign languages as the ability to listen and understand, and the ability to express thoughts and ideas, the ability to analyze, summarize and act on finding appropriate solutions to perceived difficulties or problems in work. Also, we cannot skip body language skills and attitudes expressed with confidence, public speaking and self-control and the ability to cope with certain situations, even improvisation is crucial for the realization of all segments of the activity.
During almost all actions within the exchange, participants are encouraged and supported in creating, through emphasized priorities, describing the topic of the tasks set, and expressing the competencies acquired through self-assessment. Following the schedule of activities, it was evident that the learning outcomes were diverse. Participants learned how to choose resources from nature for work, how to dispose of waste or natural materials and gain some new usage routines, the importance of recycling for sustainable development, increased awareness and interest in the importance of harnessing and redefining resources, new entrepreneurial ideas, acquired practical skills in using useful subjects, the use of various tools, the preparation of an exhibition of his works, communication with the public and attracting interest, generally organizing events, digital skills, especially video and photography.
The power of teamwork is certainly a valuable lesson that we have highlighted during teamwork and through constant reflection have developed a sense of initiative, planning, management and leadership skills that are also expressed and used in the context of taking responsibility for deciding how to implement specific actions.
Intercultural dialogue and awareness of differences, competences that we highlight as very important and indisputably crucial to the implementation of such events due to their intercultural nature, the project gave importance to the willingness to cooperate and work in seemingly different countries.
It is necessary for us to mention, given the theme of the project and the actions carried out, the acquisition of practical skills, the handling of certain tools, the creation of different objects and elements from natural and recycled materials. The same, of course, influenced the achievement of competencies that contributed to thinking about self-employment, crafts/entrepreneurship, self-organization, self-discipline and similar competencies needed to improve their own attitudes and lives, which would provide an opportunity for the development of the parent organizations from which the participants come.
Through project activities, we have built interest and motivated students to participate in programs where young people can learn and work directly with their hands, gain experience through work, and set goals that help develop the sense of belonging and value needed to think and implement their initiatives in a business environment.
In our experience, most of the participants involved in youth exchange have gained such a mobility experience and will be involved in other projects of a similar nature, while some are interested in applying the acquired knowledge which will be developed at a later stage and eventually applied.
As an output of the project, to increase visibility and to benefit from the exchange and dissemination of the implemented, we have created a convenient “Booklet” with a textual description and a pictorial presentation of the actions, as a cross section of a successfully executed youth exchange within the Erasmus + program.
The experience, most importantly, was highlighted by the participants, marking not the end but the beginning of creating new experiences, which we are sure will come to fruition by participating in similar projects across Europe.
You can find the “Booklet” in PDF online. Also we have a Instagram acc with all of pictures from our youth exchange: