Youth Exchange in Romania – “Create your Youth Centre”

by Chiara Maggi
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A space created by young people for young people

This section presents the results of the Youth Exchange in Romania from 24th October to 4th November 2022.
33 young participants (aged between 14 and 20) from Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Serbia and Romania created their ideal Youth Centre together.

Methodology

Collage, video editing and photography were three tools at the Youth Exchange as means that the young participants could choose and use to express their idea of the ideal Youth Centre. Three facilitators guided the creative process and helped participants to express their ideas.

Collage workshop

A collage workshop was offered to participants. Helena was the workshop facilitator. Collage is a technique particularly suitable for brainstorming on a topic. Collage is also a technique that comes close to art therapy: it does not require advanced skills, and is a basic workshop that can be offered to participants of any age. The young people were able to express their wishes, aspirations, suggestions and feelings about the Dream Youth Centre with paper and glue. Some represented their favourite spaces, others what they would like to find, others what should never be missing.
78 collages collected in a FUNZINE. Yes that’s right, a FUNZINE, and not FANZINE. Because within the activity, we had a lot of fun together. We are very happy with the result and present you our FUNZINE below!

Video editing workshop

The second workshop we offered was a video editing workshop. Mateja was the facilitator. We worked in the Teisani Youth Centre of Curba de Cultura. Through the workshop, participants were able to develop digital skills, in particular using the Adobe Premiere. Through the video we portrayed many aspects of life in and around a Youth Centre: for example, international youth mobility, open youth activities and the spaces of a youth centre, in this case, the spaces of Curba de Cultura. We simulated a TG information programme on the topic and created a video with a darker flavour :). Below you can see all the atmospheres our participants expressed during the workshop.

Photography workshop

The third workshop we offered was photography and Estelle was the facilitator. What theme to focus on at this time in Romania if not the theme of leaves :). Yes, magnificent colours that we were able to experience during all the hikes we did together in Ciucas, Maneciu and during the community explorations. How does this theme connect with the topic of the Dream Youth Centre? We launched a photo contest on the digital platform Discord, created for this Youth Exchange and which we are developing for another project. The platform is called IVY – International Virtual Youth Centre and made us investigate together with the participants what strengths a virtual tool can have to connect young people from different European countries. Enjoy the pictures of the photo contest!

Methodology

In working groups, participants provided us with the key words that were most important to them, discussed them in a plenary session and this is the 'portrait' they gave us. In this section we have only included information additional to that already presented in the "Dream Youth Centre" section of this website.

SPACE
Available and proper space – “Every youth centre should have an appropriate space for each individual to develop their desired skills and activities”. 
Do you like to travel? – “Wouldn’t you like to have a proper space to talk about your passion with the people you share it with. And maybe find your travelling partner or find opportunities to participate in international youth mobility projects!”
Space for creativity – “Expressing one’s creativity in a place with equipment (music studio, art gallery…) is the dream of every art-minded person.”
International project room – “A space where one can explore all the possibilities that international youth mobility can provide”.
PASSIONS/TOPICS
Passion for travelling and getting to know other cultures. This is linked to the possibility of having an ‘international room. 
Passion for art – young people should have a space where they can freely express their creativity in any art form.
Mental Health topic – The need for Mental Health related activities / workshop / support. 
E-sport – A dedicated area for videogames competition. 
Others – Educational activities, Vocational guidance, Youth Exchange, Psychological session, Digital skills workshop, School support (homework), Socializing. 
VALUES
True value of a Youth Centre is established when you feel like is your second home and the people you spend time with are your second family“.
A space that is open-minded, adaptable, spacious, personalised, comfortable, accepting, safe, respectful, fun, social, supportive of youth.”
A space that is relaxed, encouraging passions and talents, networking and contact building, digitally confident, empathetic, kind, honest, supportive, inclusive”.
“A space that takes Mental Health issues into account”.
“A space where you do not feel judged

Our Youth Exchange 🙂

But the Youth Exchange was not just that! We spent 12 days together sharing space, meals, and lots of activities. We started with team building and getting to know each other and visited the multiple facilities of Curba de Cultura, experiencing what a youth centre in Romania is like.

A diary was the storyboard that took us to the end of the journey: some of us used it for the group reflection time we had every evening, and others as support for the collage, video editing and photography workshops.

We shared an international dinner, where each of us brought and presented a typical product brought from home. We visited a lot: we went to the salt mine in the Prahova region, we went to the Maneciu market on Sunday morning where we tasted mici, Andrei took us to visit an artificial lake near his home, and on Monday we spent all day in the mountains and went to a cabana. It was very interesting the session we called ‘community exploration’ that took us to visit many local houses, where we found an extreme welcome, not only made of smiles, stories, openness, but also of other local food that we were offered and could taste.

At the beginning of the Youth Exchange, through a table of testimonials, we delved into the different possibilities for us with the Erasmus+ youth mobility projects and discussed the Youth Pass. We were able to complete it at the end of the experience together thanks to the help and support of the group leaders for each country group.

It was a rich and full Youth Exchange. The workshops gave us the opportunity to get involved and express our ideas on the topic “Dream Youth Centre”, but the full experience was given through all these activities, which led us to discover cultures different from our own and which made us bond and make new friends.

Alongside you can find all the photographs of the project!
Enjoy 🙂

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