TOGETHER FOR A UNITED EUROPE
Let's work, learn and grow together for a more united Europe! We are ready to leave footprints by travelling towards active citizenship of youth working camps and living EU values by experiencing the real fulfillment of young people.
Key Action: Partnerships for cooperation and exchanges of practices
Action Type: Small-scale partnerships in youth
Start Date: May 1, 2022
End Date: Feb 28, 2023
EC Contribution: 60,000 EUR
Partners: UJ VAROS ALAPITVANY (HU) , Asociatia Opera preasfintei Maria - Miscarea Focolarelor (RO)
Topics: European identity and values ; Quality and innovation of youth work ; Theproject is focusing on work-based learning and its implementation in the specific sector
The project aims to reach the relevant priorities: to enhance the promoting active citizenship, innovation and recognition of work in aim to increase employability, youth potential to include disadvantaged sections of societies by promoting good practice to solve socio-economic problems of youth and to contribute to inclusive growth, social cohesion and promote volunteer work in CZ, RO and HU supported by educational and formational programs and trainings, gain skills and managerial knowledge.
Our organizations with volunteer work want to bear the most successful fruits on personal, communion, local and on European level. Through the training, workshops, learning methods, youth camp we aim to put into practice EU values. The project presents as well the experience of the living community which is able to make an enormous contribution to become familiar with principles of unity, diversity, social sensitivity and building a new intergenerational and intercultural relationship.
Results of the projects are: youth-workers will be better equipped with necessary practical skills, the youth will have more self-determination, and participate actively in development processes of their communities and in the EU. It provides a network on EU level, expertise on organizational process and evaluation research of the previous volunteers. We produce a document of best practises, activity and training videos, educational tools for youth workers and organizational management program.
Preparatory transnational meeting in Prague - Kick Off Meeting
On May 26-29, nine people from three countries - Romania, the Czech Republic and Hungary, project managers, youth workers and youth leaders from individual organizations met in Prague. The goal of the preparatory international meeting was to clarify the plan for successful and problem-free project cooperation.
The purpose of the meeting was to share basic information about the project - scope of the project, workload, time schedule and deadlines, action plan, method of work and cooperation, distribution of activities and tasks and outputs, as well as risk and problem management, and last but not least, the exchange of experiences of youth workers and developing the design and methodology of training meetings, activities and other outputs so that we all become active European citizens who are involved in work at the EU level (cooperation between youth workers from EU countries, the first sharing of best practices, experience, exchange of experience on active citizenship from individual organizations). Due to the involvement of children under the age of 18, we clarified the equality, rights and values of children. We also focused on the organization of the EU Youth Summit - an international youth meeting.
The kick-off meeting marks the official launch of the project. From that moment on, we dedicate ourselves to project planning, goals and analysis to achieve maximum success and get the results we planned.
A series of working volunteer youth camps in CZ - Summer Job
Summer Job was intended for more than 150 youth aged 18 to 30 to volunteer work together for locally needed people in South Bohemia.Organization of youth workers, voluntary assistance to residents, municipalities and organizations in order to establish contacts and support intergenerational exchange and development of interpersonal and neighborhood relations: 1 Summer jobs, 8 working days in Czech Republic, 30 youth, priority will be given to the ones with fewer opportunities.
This activity was composed by a theoretic module and learning by doing one; first one focused on the management of a volunteering summer camp for youth; in the second one participant attended some days of the camp in order to test what they have learnt.
The 30 young people were involved in active civic engagement, experienced contact with people in need. Also, they strengthened and developed project management skills; there were teams focusing on certain aspects of the project (CEO, promotion, logistics, accommodation, program, "job team" (provided contact with interested locals), finances, catering, technique teams). This team of young leaders is slightly exchanging over the 14 years and more new team members are coming to experience this unique week. The volunteers come from different fields and can use their skills in various teams. The members learn over the years how to cooperate together. They most certainly used their creativity a lot because each year there are new challenges. Each unit then worked on their own.
Through this activity, the participants showed that cooperation is possible across generations and with people with different opinions or beliefs. They cooperated with the local authorities, such as the mayor or a local politically-active citizen. Also, several teams from radio came to interview us and spread the news about our activity to the local media. We have built a mutual trust over the 3-years period of staying in Benešov nad Černou and the local people knew the volunteers would really help them. This could contribute to more united Europe.
This volunteering experience could also help some participants to broaden their field of interest and possibly help in the choice of the future work career. This activity supported many young people in volunteering and therefore it could increase the quality and recognition of youth voluntary work as a non-formal education, to promote EU values and active citizenship.
This activity most certainly supported exchange of experience in youth work and also investing in leading to increased capacity building in youth. This activity was presented to Romania and Hungary to share the experience and possibly create a network of youth organisations.
Serial of working volunteer youth camps in Hungary
Új Város Alapítvány organised two summer camps for youths and teenagers. The primary purpose of the program was the educational and cultural development of the youth and personal involvement of new volunteers. To reach such a purpose, short training occasions were offered to the volunteers registered for the camps where they could acquire competences required to help in a summer camp (organising activities, creating community, leading a group, protection of minors) and get ready for the actual camps.
In the autumn, a refresher weekend was offered to the youth to carry on the relationships created during the summer camps.
The events were:
New Youth camp (comprising training at the beginning), 27-31/07/2022, Szombathely
Training day, 31/07/2022, Budapest
Training and preparation day, 13/08/2022, Budapest
Teens4Unity camp, 14-19/08/2022, Sopron
T4U After weekend, 7-9/10/2022, Budapest
Serial of working volunteer youth camps in Romania
Timisoara meeting, September 2023
An an important meeting for Romanian young participants took place in the city of Timisoara, the city that has been declared the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2023. Andrei Sescu presented the concerns of young people to contribute to the creation of a united Europe through a direct contribution to the existence of a society based on responsibility, solidarity, and involvement. The meeting also discussed the plan for the future events that Timisoara will host as cultural capital and the need for volunteers in the activities.
Youth Meeting - Young people in action - heart, head, hands Predeal 21-23 October 2022
In the short autumn break for high school, we gathered 15 young people from different parts of Romania, together with mentors from the project, trainers, and representatives of the Asociației Opera Preasfintei Maria - Focolare Movement.
The meeting was punctuated by 3 presentations related to current concerns of European society, and we refer to active citizenship, care for the environment, and Francis' Economy (a work of the sovereign pontiff on social and economic solidarity and the common good). The program included two moments of meditation and reflection: "From heart to heart - in dialogue with myself and the divinity!" and "My City". The two moments of spirituality were two invitations for our young people to act for the good of all and the good of the communities in which we each live.
Caravan "Together for a United Europe!"
The purpose of this caravan, held in schools around Romania, in different cities of the country, was to let young people know about European values and how to live these values in everyday life. The most concrete elements of active citizenship were presented, such as involvement, responsibility, solidarity, caring for the environment, volunteering, campaigns to support vulnerable people, supporting the local economy, fighting for peace. The young people who were present at these sessions showed special interest in these presented topics and some presented their own experience and concerns for future projects and related to the topics listed above. As part of this project, we proposed to go to public schools in Romania and to talk at the today's young people about the European values on which a better world is built. Peace, active citizenship, solidarity, care for the environment, all these values that the Opera Presfintei Maria Association - Focolare Movement promotes in the activities and projects it proposes. We started this caravan in 2 important high schools in Miercurea Ciuc. The young people present were conducted in dialogue with the mentors.
There were around 180 student auditors at the presentations made in the 3 cities and most of them were interested and ready to act in society. In conclusion, we can say that we are all called to respect God's creation, the nature around us and to support whole humanity.
EU YOUTH SUMMIT
The EU Youth Summit was a unique opportunity for 23 young people and youth workers from the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary to come together to examine the many challenges facing the global community and the role of young people in tackling them. It took place from 21 August to 26 August 2022 at the beautiful location of the Mother of God Mountain in Králíky in the Orlické Mountains. The Summit engaged young people in taking stock of the situation to ensure that they are aware and ensure that the recovery in the post-COVID world, the war situation inEurope is something that affects us too and that they know how to respond.
Discussions, lectures, dialogs and activities during the Summit was focus on solutions that foster:
Social inclusion by providing information on the importance of active citizenship, the importance of personal growth and contributing to building a more inclusive society, and fair access to services in line with human rights.
Environmental inclusion by building green and resilient communities, promoting inclusive green growth and ensuring that no community is left behind in tackling environmental degradation and climate change.
There was a word of a new economy which is based on reciprocity active on all levels: creating jobs that include those who are excluded by economic and social systems, spreading a 'culture of giving' and giving life to a variety of educational and cultural initiatives, helping emergency situations.
Multipolar Dialogue in Europe and the Information word was a topic that also featured prominently on the programme, and the fake news and many other related outlets were one of the most interesting topics.
The highlight of the meeting was undoubtedly the visit of Michaela Šojdrová, Member of the European Parliament from the Czech Republic, who presented the EU Parliament and the activities of the organizations, introduced MEPs and answered questions from young people on the topics presented earlier.
Promote dialogue between youth:The summit provided an opportunity for youth from three countries the opportunity to share live experiences, to get to know each other in the post-COVID world. There were opportunities to share not only the activities carried out in proper state, but also different points of view on the issues on the agenda, to share national traditions and to get to know each other in all their differences and contribute to open-mindedness in democratic world.
In those few days, they managed to create an atmosphere that enthusiastically contributed to a better acceptance of each other and to an even greater interest in getting to know the other.
Promote volunteering and active citizenship: The programme also included volunteering in the nearest forest to help the local community clean up the forest while promoting ecology.The whole group was involved in volunteering activities, while at the same time increasing the importance of active citizenship and the awareness that we live in a common home.
Strengthening and developing project management and increasing the quality of training for youth workers: The activity was organized with the help of young workers, who themselves were actively involved in the preparation of the programme, for example one of them prepared a lesson on fake news. Another gave a lecture on economics, which is of real benefit to the community, and promoted it so well that it got a few new adherents. The third one prepared the whole programme from the reception of the Euro-MP, the QA session, what was most impressive, the young people themselves asking what they can do so that in the past they will be the ones to lead Europe along the path of EU values.
Winter EU Youth Summit
Winter EU Youth Summit was inspired by the EU Youth Summit in the Czech Republic. Several ideas were adapted from the program but tailored for the younger ages, who were most available in the proposed time: the beginning of January 2023, from the 4th to 7th. To make it easy for the teenagers, lectures were swapped with open space and creative events with a lot of opportunities for networking and sharing.
Program focused on the values to enhance personal and volunteering capabilities. Lectures were held on commitment, active citizenship, dialogue, unity to involve participants in important topics such as how to enter into dialogue with others; the importance of personal growth and contributing to building a more inclusive society; a new economy which is based on reciprocity active on all levels, spreading a 'culture of giving'; understanding what the youth can contribute for a healthier and greener world; and the relation between generations.
The Winter Summit was conceived as an opportunity to learn and create friendship on an international level to realise a united Europe in person with their peers. Topics underlined the hot topics of today's world, like caring about ecology or understanding others through listening and honest dialogue. The summit offered an opportunity to make friends and create an international network among them to get ideas on how to reach out towards people of groups in need, and promoted cultural expression to represent values of openness and acceptance. The lectures were meant to give inspiration to the youth how to realise social activities and being more active citizens.
Over four days, the Summit hosted 40 young people and youth workers aged 13-23, who had the opportunity to learn, discuss and actively get involved in 5 topics with 6 experts from all the participant countries. A lecture was also held online to let all experts give the proper opportunity to give their contribution. Since the target group was teenagers, and not all of them had perfect English (as a common language for the summit), translations were offered to them.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT ONLINE COURSE "TOGETHER4CHANGE"
The aim of the project was also capacity-building, and with the practical work of the summer camps and jobs we gained a lot of experience, but we realized that the lack of some knowledge about project management could facilitate many steps, so the online course "Together 4change" from 11 October to 16 November 2022 was very useful for all three organizations. Ten lectures were held on the topic of project management and 9 participants from all three organizations registered, most of whom were youth workers and youth leaders already working with adolescents and young people.
The online course had the following objectives:
- To disseminate project planning and management skills among the youth workers and youth leaders of the three organizations.
- To encourage the development of networks and the exchange of good practices between the participating organizations.
- To develop awareness of tools and procedures to promote the sustainability of the bodies.
- To promote access to opportunities for financial contributions to support the work of participating bodies.
- To promote and provide informal training on specific management skills needed for organizing national and international volunteering projects, as well as to strengthen the soft skills essential for guiding and guiding young volunteers.
Participants were asked to fill in a registration form to obtain information on project management level, organizational skills, project terminology and process. The courses were held twice a week and each time the participants were given tasks to prepare for the practical part of the next lesson. The exercises were based on summer camps, an event common to all three organizations. After the ninth lesson, a quick test was carried out and the participants' results were good and the meaning of the specific terminology and the project process was understood much more thoroughly. Nine participants completed all courses.
The participants came from all three organizations (30% from Pontes, 30% from Uj Varosh and 20% from F. Miscarea and 20% from other members interested in project management). There were 9 female and 4 male participants who were already studying at university or in the last years of secondary school. The four are already workers in the field of international projects.
Most of them already work with teenagers and children and have some experience with the younger generation, while others have years of experience in organizing summer camps at national level.
According to the results of the questionnaire, 31% of the young participants are members of the partner organizations, 8% are youth workers and 15% are youth leaders. 31% of the young people answered that they are interested in project management and 15% are young volunteers who organize or help with voluntary activities.
More than 60% answered that they had never been a project manager, while the remaining 40% had already had this experience.
More than 70% of the young people with experience as a project manager have had the opportunity to take on this role in religious foundations that are very active in informal youth education and active citizenship. 9% participated as project managers in an EU project, 18% were part of the volunteer preparation team and 27% had experience in NGOs.
Participants who were unable to attend all the online courses had the opportunity to consult the registration and catch up on missed courses.
Evaluation online meeting
At a three-day online evaluation meeting held on February 16-18, 2023, 10 people gathered to present the project's results, challenges and enthusiasm.The project management team held post-project review meetings to collect and review project results and performance information. Meeting preparation consisted of gathering all project data; determining the meeting agenda; what problems were being solved and getting constructive feedback. At the meeting, information was heard about: project results, problems that occurred during the project, changes during the project in goals, schedules and budgets, unexpected events or changes in the environment during the project, youth satisfaction with the project results, management satisfaction with the project results, effectiveness of project management processes, learning and training effectiveness. Of course, we also talked about future cooperation.