Summer Camp 2016

Summer Camp 2016 - European Youth for Peace: Creating a United tomorrow

Having the summer of a lifetime? That's what most young people wish for when they start making plans for the summer holidays. A three-week summer camp in the youth hostel in Bad Honnef doesn't sound like it to you? The participants of this year's summer camp see it quite differently.

The 48 people from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Poland and this time also Albania did not know each other at the beginning, a meeting with different cultures and backgrounds. After the time together, they knew each other as well as it should be unimaginable after 3 weeks. Friendships for life were formed. This is what makes the summer camp so special!

It all started with Creative Adventure Games, rafting and climbing. Teamwork, trust and creativity were in demand. In the Elementary Groups, to which each participant is assigned, all thoughts and experiences are exchanged on a daily basis. Especially in the evenings, however, the real getting-to-know-you took place. Parties and the well-known Campfire were also part of the programme.

The International Evening is a special event of the summer camp. Each national group of participants presents their country with its culture and uniqueness to the others. Of course, there is also eating, singing and dancing. It is not only about getting to know and understand the other countries, but also to experience them. Being in seven countries at the same time is not something you experience every day.

Workshops were an equally important part of the camp. Europe, the EU, activism, especially at the local level, and human rights are topics that the participants dealt with. Here, everyone could express their own position, exchange ideas with others and discuss. Some found their own attitude only here. Strangers became friends for life. Differences became common ground. The summer camp changed things. Youth goes for peace and especially, Youth goes for a United tomorrow.

The sporty ones liked the Olympics and the swimming trip, the creative ones the creative workshops that took place in the second week. Whether drum playing, creative writing and activism, theatre, circus or masks. There was something for everyone. Each of the groups had a considerable result to present to the others at the end of the week.

The participants also organised their own workshops. Here it was just as much a matter of taking the initiative as at the press conference with a representative from each country and the Street Activism action on the streets of Bonn.

The programme also included an excursion to Bonn, including a visit to the "House of History" and to Cologne. A very special experience, of course, was the treats in the HARIBO shop.

 

But even though the group did not want to part after all the shared experiences, the last day had to come. This included a joint barbecue with invited guests, for which the participants had put together their own programme.

Every outsider could see how these young people, initially strangers to each other, had become an inseparable group. Fortunately, their "Campus 15 Adventure" will continue next year. They can already hardly wait to see each other again at the reunion.

More impressions of the 2016 summer camp on the participants' blog:

 

youthgoesforpeace.blogspot.fr/2016/08/day-1-so-1st-of-august-finally-came-and.html

Train to maintain, teach to reach - 21st century competencies

 

Our Croatian partner organisation edvu Europski dom organised the project "Train to maintain, teach to reach - 21st century competencies" in summer 2016. Young people from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany, Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine took part in the summer camp in Vukovar, on the banks of the Danube. The German group with 6 participants was sent by Campus 15. The eventful meeting in eastern Croatia near the Serbian border was funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

 

In addition to cultural exchange, the project was dedicated to the teaching and acquisition of individual competences that are important across the board for the personal and professional development of the participants in all countries of geographical Europe. So far, these same competences across countries have hardly been taken into account in the education systems of most countries.

 

By providing orientation and perspectives for life after the first general qualification, the meeting thus addressed a problem that is equally relevant for all participants, regardless of their origin: coping with widespread youth unemployment, which is also a major problem in the countries of the Western Balkans.

 

Despite all the concentration on working out common and individual problems in different workshops, media, creative, sporting and cultural activities such as an intercultural evening were not neglected. Excursions to Vukovar and its surroundings, as well as to Osijek, were a special and unifying experience for the participants. A scavenger hunt across the city and a day on the Danube Island contributed to an unforgettable summer camp. They not only learned with each other, but also from each other. One example is the Bosnian songs that were still sung at the airport to the delight of everyone around.

 

Not only did the participants from different, often formerly hostile countries and ethnic groups succeed in promoting and deepening their understanding of each other, but they also made friends for life. An international community was created that has a lasting unifying effect, will probably be remembered by all participants for a long time and will hopefully serve as an inspiration for their own contribution to a more tolerant and open Europe in the future.

 

Insights into the project can be found on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/tmtr21/?fref=ts and in the blog https://tmtrblog.wordpress.com/blog/ of the participants.

 

(Hannah Besser and Lisa Neumann 2016)