Project YES – Youth European Strategy 2

It’s the friends we meet along the road that help us appreciate the journey. Excited to meet each other from the very beginning we shared positive energy by drawing our portraits and remembering our names. The ice-breaking and bonding games helped us to get to know each other better. We did some energizers and officially open the Youth European Strategy 2 project. Looking forward to the upcoming festival, we expressed our hopes and fears and made the house rules. We all doubtlessly agreed that this project will be an amazing, life-changing experience.

We start the project with an interactive seminar on effective multicultural teamwork and emotional intelligence. It was fun and proficient at the same time. Than we continued with presenting the countries we come from by talking about our nature beauties, traditions, folklore and history. It was only the first day but yet we found out so much things about each other. We had a wonderful evening in a typical Bulgarian tavern where we connected each other with traditional dances and music after tasting the traditional Bulgarian cuisine. Hence we had so much fun and everybody was happy and fulfilled. The after party took place in the Piano Bar, where we had drinks while listening the live music. Still under the impression of the first night, we got back to our program, while the time was passing with laughter and joy. We played another bonding game for remembering names and straighten our friendship because good times and crazy friends make the best memories.  Thereafter we talked about the basic principles of working in teams up to a point of using the time efficiently while combining our talents. Everybody shared videos of their successful appearances for one’s strength enhances other’s weakness at the final result of the project. We continued with the introduction of the three workshops we were about to take part in. We were presenting and discussing the goals and tasks, so that we could easily found ourselves in place where we will be able to express our talent and abilities the best. The creative workshop’s main goal was to send a meaningful message to the world by dance and musical performances.

screenshot_5screenshot_4The main idea we wanted to show the world through our dance moves and music sounds at the Balkan Youth Festival was “Question, Act, Change.” What we meant to say, is to spread a positive and motivational message to the people. If we want something to become true, firstly we need to observe, analyze and question it. We need to see from each different angle the problem, we need to look through every perspective and see the depth of the actual thing. Consciously together we can change the world, just by one random act of kindness.  Because in life it’s 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent of how we react to it. Maybe too many of us are not living our dream because we are living our fears? However, we can’t change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust our sails to always reach our destination. The main factors in the equation of success are the tenacity and the unwavering persistence. What matters the most is the need to increase the dose of motivation, to improve and only with hard work, walk the path to the endless success. In other words perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence. After the productive workshop we enjoyed the evening presentation of the diversity of national cuisines, traditional and contemporary music and dances by the guest group from Macedonian, Italian, Spain, Latvia, Romania, Turkey and Greece. The taste of the Macedonian wine and the delicious food made the evening even more wonderful. The time was passing so fast for we were having great time. The evaluation of the project showed good satisfaction. We debated on our previous problems and come up with solutions to improve our team work in the future in order to make the final results as good as possible. The results were significant and we all agreed that we should be focused on our goals and at the same time understand what actions and changes we need to make. Firstly we had a conducting training on the topic “Stimulating and Utilizing initiative, pragmatism and motivation”.

screenshot_3screenshot_1After watching the motivational video, we all felt trying to hear the voice inside us what we really want to do in our lives what is our main goals how to make it become true. Adventures are best way to learn. Therefore we explored the city and the center of Sandanski and the small and beautiful town Melnik, situated in the heart of the southwestern Pirin Mountains. The town is an architectural reserve and 96 of its buildings are cultural monuments. Moreover, this tiny Bulgarian town offers a stunning location in the mountains and a storied history. But a journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles, they say. We were passing unforgettable times with our friends taking artistic pictures. We visited The Museum of wine of Melnik and tasted different types of wine. The three days of festival were unforgettable and amusing up to a point when everybody felt emotional at the end and yet so happy because of the successful performances.

Last and but not the least, in fact the most important workshop was presenting the Youth pass certificate. We discussed the 8 key competences:  communication in the mother tongue competence, communication in foreign languages competence, mathematical competence and basic competence in science and technology, digital competence, learning to learn competence, social and civic competence, sense of initiative and entrepreneurship competence, cultural awareness and expression competence, which we gain with this non-formal education and which are seldom mentioned but really essential to our everyday life. The definition of non-formal education contains interesting aspects of activities such as participation in all activities is voluntary, the main focus is set on young people as learners, activities and methods are always designed for a particular target group, learning in non formal setting is planned, structured and evaluated, and last but not the least experiencing, often called as ‘learning by doing’, is the main working method. The learning outcomes will have a strong impact on our personal and professional competences. Therefore, they should be recognised as such by your personal and professional environment according to the principle – ‘it’s not important where you learnt it, it’s important what you can do’!

Angela Popovska

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