“Natural, harmonious, and full of humor” – this is how the 5th European Youth Workers Camp that took place in Storkow, Germany, on 23-31 July, was described by the participants.
After 2 years of delay, nearly 70 participants from Germany, Kosovo, Sweden, Belarus, Ukraine, Hungary, Russia, Czech Republic, and Slovakia travelled all the way to Germany, eager to learn, connect, gain more experience, and celebrate youth and diversity.
The event was organised by CVJM-Westbund e.V. (Wuppertal) in cooperation with YMCA Europe and was funded by ERASMUS+, AEJ Arbeitsgemeinschaft evangelische Jugendarbeit and YMCA Europe.
The main theme of the camp was “Colors Against Discrimination” – Empowering young people to stand up against discrimination.
The camp was a perfect example of collaboration and youth empowerment, as the program was not created for them, but together with them.
National leaders and members of each delegation were given space to share their experience and best practices. In total, 12 different projects and various evening activities took place during the camp.
Participants could learn from each other about different outdoor activities and games, photo/video skills, tensing, leadership skills, elevator pitch and power of words, perfect summer camps, canyoning and Stand Up Padding and so on.
“The camp was professionally organized. It was very good that any questions I had were answered promptly and helpfully by the leaders. The international atmosphere was uplifting and it was good to feel that everyone was accepting of other people. The programmes were very well organized and there were so many to choose from. I learned a lot at the camp that I can use in my local YMCA.”
In addition to this, the program involved a day trip to Berlin, the city which never fails to amaze people with its beauty and history. The trip was not only a great opportunity to discover the city, but also to discover each other on a deeper level.
As the majority of the participants shared, the most important component of the camp for them was meeting new people and getting to know different cultures and YMCAs.
“Firstly, that is meeting other people from different countries. It is always great to speak with foreign people and talk to each other. Secondly is new experience in physical activities and speaking skills. I was glad I could bring to my local YMCA a lot of new things and thoughts. Thank you for this week, I will never forget this.”
Moreover, the 5th European Youth Workers Camp had a special element in the program as it involved the Peace Project, facilitated by the YMCA Europe Roots For Peace (Peace Work Institute) alumines.
Participants learned about the basics of Do No Harm approach, critical thinking, and the importance of visual literacy in peace work projects and everyday life.
As participants, grateful to the team for helping them to believe in peace, mentioned that it was inspiring for them to learn about the peace work. It fills our hearts with warm feelings to see the result of our work, and inspires people to seek connectors and build bridges.
“Really safe space for expression of yourself. Pleasant atmosphere for sharing . Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate. Such a project expands mindset and gives “food” for thinking.”
We are grateful to the people making this camp and great experience possible. We want to share our joy with you, and especially congratulate the German planning team: Volker Kamin, Markus Rapsch, Beate Turck, and Liv Marit Frey.
We wish every participant to find their power and to use the knowledge, skills and most importantly, connections gained during the project in a meaningful way!
Full photo abum in high resolution here