14th to 21st of October 2019
The training course “A youth’s journey to politics” lasted a full week, from 14th to 21st of October of 2019 and was carried out in a market town Villach-Land district, in the Austrian state of Carinthia. (Situated on the western shore of the beautiful Worthersee lake.)
We arrived at the hostel called ‘Velden Cap Worth’. After an exhausting day of travelling via airplane, trains, buses and taxi all the way from Cyprus to Velden, Austria we needed some sleep.
In the next morning, youth workers from 11 different countries started our journey into this training course by getting to know each other in the sunny Velden. Through interesting name games, a scale positioning and speed dating method we exchanged information about ourselves and our backgrounds. Together with the trainers we came closer to the organizers, logistics, underlined the objectives and explored the agenda for the coming days. We showed that there is a great team raising up by completing tasks in the „Mission impossible“ team building activity and challenged our attitudes in the “Draw Europe map”, which was effective intro into the topic of the project. Lot of feelings were shared in the first reflection groups and we wrapped up this day with the theater method, a creative way of presenting our countries and cultures.
On the third activity day the morning begun with a relaxing walk by the lake while discussing with a fellow youth worker from different country. Afterwards as we explored with our trainers the compromises and the extremes of the political philosophies and discovered for which we felt closer. In the afternoon we first tackled one specific issue for each country, and we learned some new useful methods and tools for identifying problems and their solutions through policies. Then we created new groups for our Manifesto, where we found a common problem and made a video to raise awareness on our topic.
The following day we visited the beautiful city of Klagenfurt am Wörthersee – the capital of this wonderful province of Carinthia. Our first stop was a local headquarters of SPÖ (Austrian party). The discussion was focused mostly on gender issues and youth participation and was really enriching. Our second stop was in the local representatives of the Austrian People’s Party. Although the conversation was in German, the content was really good – mostly about migration issues and climate change. Next thing on our program was a local student committee and discussion about youth/student participation in the society. Then we had a nice lunch in the European House. After that we spent a few more hours in Klagenfurt doing whatever we wanted to. We split into small groups and visited sightseeing places, cafés, shops, etc. In the evening there was a free time. Some people walked to go to the town, other ones organized a movie night, and some ride a bike.
On the next activity day, after the morning walk, we started an amazing time journey through the history of rhetorical speech. We practiced different styles, at the same time working on the issues that concern us. How to understand frame and reframing with a dose of self-reflection was offered at the end of the second session. In the afternoon we went deeper into the meaning of advocacy and lobbing and their importance in the policy context. We gave a finish to one more training day by finalizing our polices in the “Manifesto“ method, which made us proud as youth workers with potential to create a policy.
Even if we didn’t want to, the last day had come. During these seven days we’ve shared our different cultures our diverse religion and of course our “not so distant” political point of view. On our traditional walk in the morning we talked about what we’re going to bring home from this experience and then we presented our policies receiving feedback as well. On the last session of the morning we went deeper in the magical world of Erasmus+ as our trainers explained us everything we need to know about the programs. After lunch we shared our action plan back home and we had a coffee break (sharing wonderful moments as always during our breaks). After the final evaluations it was time for the farewell party!
The next morning everyone packed, hugged each other and returned into their realities with a bag full of unforgettable memories.
‘Hope to see you again, somewhere else in Europe!’
Lots of love from Cyprus team,