Last summer we organized the Youth Exchange ‘How to Take Care of (Y)our Nature in Daily Life?’ We spent ten days in nature with 34 participants and group leaders (ages between 18 and 30) from Hungary, Turkey, Slovakia, Malta, Germany, and The Netherlands. In these ten days we challenged the participants to live ecofriendly on a daily basis. It was a wonderful experience to connect with each other and to inspire the participants on ecofriendly living.
What is a Youth Exchange?, you maybe ask. In a Youth Exchange young people from different countries get to know each other. They live together and participate in an interactive program that is based on their needs and is guided by group leaders and facilitators. Important values are: inclusion, green, active citizenship and learning from each other. It was my dream to bring young people together on a camping ground to connect them with (their) nature and inspire them to take better care of (their) nature on a daily basis. And the beautiful thing is that my pathway on Erasmus+ projects made this dream come true.
We received beautiful feedback from the participants on the question what they learned about taking care of themselves, nature and the group:
- ‘The group is an eco-system. We respect each other and listen to each other.’
- ‘I learned nature is and we are nature.’
- ‘Getting out of your comfort zone gives new exciting adventures.’
- ‘Expressing my needs and wants and to be touched by nature.’
- ‘Improve of communicating with people from different backgrounds / and showing vulnerability. Meditation, visualization and living eco-friendly.’
Are you curious about the learning of the participants? See below to read more.
My biggest learning was to trust the process and connect in the here-and-know with the group to feel their needs and take care of individual and group dynamics. And to embrace conflict as an important learning point. Some participants said ‘You know Oda, in this week of non-formal learning (Learning by doing and reflecting on it), I learned more than in a year at school. This is what the impact of a Youth Exchange can be.
I am very grateful that we organized the Youth Exchange with this amazing team from the Netherlands.
Thomas Albers from Anatta Foundation gave me the opportunity to apply for an Erasmus+ grand (Erasmusplus.nl) and be the project leader of this wonderful experience.
The grand of Erasmus+ made this dream come true. If you want to know more about Youth Exchanges please look on the website of Erasmusplus.nl.
Facilitators from the Netherlands:
Paula Verkuijl, expert in the area of (mental) health with a hawk eye for the group dynamics and needs of the participants.
Bertine Steenbergen, Back to Nature, expert in the area of bushcraft skills, ecofriendly living and mental wellbeing. Workshops on edable plants, bushcraft skills, make your eco friendly products etc.
Wouter Verkuijl, expert in the area of healthy food and vegan cooking. He asked the group: How can you take best care of your nature? ‘By loving your body and give yourself good food’, he said with a big smile.
Ali Shah, group leader and organizer of the workshop: How to give a workshop on ecofriendly living. Which inspired the participants to give their own workshop on the life of the bee queen (and not kill insects), healthy food, experience the impact of living in a eco-system, bring movement in your daily life.
Sybren Bouwsma, facilitator and nature coach. Workshop Vulnerability in nature
Jaimy Jozefzoon, applied psychologist and organizer of the workshop: How to be an inspirational role model.
And me Oda Salomons, expert in the area of creating safe learning experiences in nature and connecting with (their) nature. With workshops on images of nature from different countries, listening without judging, connecting with nature.
#Youth Exchange #CareforNature #Erasmus+ #RewildYourself