Reach Out and Rise (referred to as ROAR) was the first youth exchange project delivered by Consilium Development and Training within the framework of the ERASMUS+ Programme. The project was developed and delivered together with partners from 8 countries: United Kingdom, Poland, Italy, Greece, Albania, Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia.
Due to the different factors and the project being slightly different to those we tend to deliver (these being mainly youth worker mobilities) we opted for and subsequently applied for a grant to run two mobilities:
– Advanced Planning Visit – took place in Golkowice, Poland on 31 Jan to 3rd March 2019; the mobility gathered 7 representatives of the partner organisations. The group leader of the Moldavian team had to cancel at short notice due to health issues.
– Youth Exchange – took place in Golkowice, Poland on 11-19 April 2019; The mobility gathered 42 attendees.
AIM and OBJECTIVES:
The aim of the project was to promote self-development as a tool for inspiring and maintaining sustainable changes at the personal, professional and societal level.
To accomplish this, the following objectives had been set:
– to provide participants with tools on proactive self-management and self-development
– to create an inspiring learning environment for sharing experiences, discovering one’s own potential, exchanging best practices, developing skills and generating new ideas
– to enable participants to develop leadership skills in order to understand their role as positive change-makers
– to develop effective communication and group dynamics through intercultural learning
– to promote Erasmus+ Program and encourage the development of future partnerships as a means of further supporting the personal and professional development of youth work practitioners and young people.
The mobilities were implemented in line with the timetables presented at the application stage. As such, the activities were based on diverse non-formal education methods including:
– (APV) discussions, presentations, site visits
– (Youth Exchange) ice-breakers and name games; energisers; team-building exercises; discussions and debriefing; presentations; individual, pair and group tasks; role plays; creative self-expression; self and group reflection (steaming groups); physical exercises (e.g. yoga) etc. The most important aspect of the methodology, though, was inviting the group leaders and participants to engage in self-discovery through experiential learning and learning by doing. Only this way they had a real chance to better understand the methods/tools used as well as prepare for their application back home.
WHY THIS THEME:
In the modern life of hustle and bustle, informational overload and high standards set by the society, a very little scope is left for defining who you are as a person,
discovering your life path and realising that knowing your life goal can improve everything around. Consequently, when rushing in the typical rat race for jobs, success and social status, few people tend to take the effort to stop and find time for much-needed reflection. As such, however privileged young people may seems nowadays, they are also among those most vulnerable groups out there. They find themselves among millions of people who are rushing, yet instead of
following their passions and interests, they end up chasing somebody else’ dreams rather than their own.
Not surprisingly more and more youth face serious identity crisis and experience personal burnout before adult life even starts. They are often afraid to step out of their comfort zones and stop themselves from taking a decisive action to achieve success. Such negative aspects of personality development (or rather its lack!) come at the huge emotional and mental expense of falling into depression, being prone to bullying and abuse of others, diminishing one’s self-esteem and self-worth, experiencing the identity crisis, losing the will to do anything, etc.
Having all these in mind and equipped with a great body of youth work practices, together with the partners we decided to respond to the calls by proposing an international youth exchange. Our intention here is to promote personal growth and building young people’s resilience through facilitating self-development. This stems from our conviction that by providing practical tools and empowering youth with proactive positive-thinking attitudes we can help to create positive sustainable changes both at the individual and societal level.
Given a vast array of tools and workshops implemented, participants went back home enriched and inspired in a number of ways. These are just a few examples of those:
– greater confidence in undertaking and / or leading personal development programmes/workshops
– new tools gained for our everyday practices at the personal, local (community) and/or international level
– identified areas of strengths and possible improvements
– greater motivation developed for the sake of initiating and leading positive changes
– leadership and communication skills extensively exercised and hence developed/improved
– new international friendships (for young people) and partnerships (for organisations)
– a better understanding of ERASMUS+ and its youth work support mechanisms gained
– new follow-up ideas designed to support young people directly in their personal development.
Participants’ comments gathered in the final evaluation are the best proof of that and testimony to the amazing learning and development opportunity being offered through the ERASMUS+ project.
– I learned so many things by talking to people from other countries, mainly about their culture, way of life, languages and much more. I believe one of my biggest gains was that I had the chance to practice my English every single day.
– This project made me aware that the world is big and it is not said that my future will be focused on the community in which I live now. I think this exchange gave me not only the power to change my life but also a new perception of my life.
– Now I am more aware of opportunities which are given by the world and I know that in spite of cultural differences we are the same.
– I learn how to communicate and live with representatives of different cultures. I was a little bit shy when I was talking in English but after this project, I changed it.
– I learned that although we come from different cultures and backgrounds we had a lot in common, especially the fact that we were all trying our best to have fun and support each other. It was amazing that for a week I got to know so many countries and I didn’t have to travel for that. Food and music from other countries were great and I will not forget that Belgian dance for sure 🙂
– The project taught me many things. Now I know that if I want something, I should get it.
Now, every single thought which comes to my mind, I’m trying to enforce. I see that I’m much more confident now and I’m not afraid of being myself.
– The exchange helped me gain self-esteem and get out of my comfort zone. Also, I met new people who helped me to be a better version of myself.
– Team building, how to be grateful, get out the comfort-zone, respect for each other, everybody still has many things to learn
– Everyone was polite and careful with asking but it was easy to notice that no one would feel offended even on controversial topics. We all are friends that just want to know each other and their backgrounds better. I took this as proof that it is worth knowing what is happening in your country, keep up to date with news and be able to answer any question from foreigners. I received some questions about politics, the military system in Poland and about stereotypes. But the most difficult and uncomfortable for me was to explain to people that even if some locals weren’t polite to them doesn’t mean that they did something wrong, but it’s just that sometimes it happens in Poland.
– I gained a lot of tools to begin a route of personal growth.
– I learned more about different cultures, especially British, thanks to the cultural evening. I met people from different countries I never met before, which gave me an insight into how people live in certain countries and what they are like.
– About the countries participating in the project, I know beforehand general information, but within the project, I learned interesting details from the true local people of these countries, in an interactive and fun way.
– I learned a lot about foreign countries about their cultural traditions as well as education because I had a different examination system in my country and once again convinced me that this democracy is warm and friendly.
– Maybe sometimes when you have a job, a routine and you feel good in this zone but you forgot to develop yourself. This project helped me to wake up and to find a larger comfort zone.
– I wanted to make new friends who would inspire and motivate me to be a better person. I think I achieved that goal because I have new friends all over Europe and most importantly I see that I have changed the way I look at recent things in my life. For sure I am more positive and I have realized that I have to enjoy every experience. I have made a lot of progress when it comes to those thinking traps. I feel like I am becoming more of a “half full of glass” type of person.
– I got more than I was hoping from the exchange. I gained new knowledge and experience in certain areas. I want to say that I grew more as a person and gained new values.
Asked in the final evaluation what they learned about themselves, others and how they are going to use this learning, participants stated the following:
– I realised that I can be happy and the only person limiting that is me, the fact that I do have a future and can do so much to expand my horizons other than sitting in my room alone.
– The exchange was a life-changing experience for me. It helped me to see the big picture and take some big decisions.
– I’m changing my life now. Travelling has always been a dream, so I decided to do it. I put myself in difficult situations to test myself. I try to reduce the stress caused by things which aren’t important to me. I don’t do things which have no value for me.
-This experience helped me to create my goals more accurate and set them up in timelines in the future. I have learned that I am not as worthless as I had thought before.
– I changed personally a lot, this project helped me to analyse my real life and my attitudes. I found good friends and changed my future goals.
– I learned that the worst enemy is myself, my own thoughts and the only way to escape those thinking traps is to change the way I look at things. I have come to conclusions that if I appreciate more the things that I have and worry less about my future. I am a happier person. Life isn’t always easy and I don’t have to be perfect. I believe my future will be bright because I am working hard right now and at the end of the day what is most important for me is to give my best and that is all. The biggest lesson I got is that you can’t control everything that happens but you can control how you react to those situations.
– I found out that I’m braver than I thought and that I have many chances to get involved. I learned that if I have to plan my future I have to learn to listen to my needs before
– I learned how to deal with people that face various personal difficulties and how important is to be an inspiration.
– It was one of the best experience of my life. I have learned to be more confident and not to care about what other people think about me. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to live for a week outside the house, outside the environment that I know and try myself in new conditions. It has shown me how valuable is getting to know my possibilities and defining my barriers. Not to mention leaving the comfort zone! Activities at the workshops indeed opened my eyes a few times, but also inspired me to put more effort to know myself. Also, in free evenings, I happen to go back to my notes from the project and ruminate them again. Those are powerful tools.
– I had a chance to evaluate my journey and got new ideas of where I want to go, what I want to do and why.
– I learned, that I can do everything I want, I must never give up.
– The exchange offered me the possibility to visualize my future in brighter colours and to understand that everything is possible if I am courageous enough to wish. It gave me a sense of openness to take the challenges that life is constantly offering me, in order to develop.
Participants’ words are a true testimony to the amazing experience that we all lived through together. It is also a really meaningful validation of the partners’ efforts put together to bring such an important topic as personal development to a project.