Action Day #7: Culture, Leisure and Sport

youth work sport leisure and culture

To celebrate our 25th year acting and networking towards Social Inclusion of Young People, we wanted to put a spotlight on some of the ENTER Recommendation, a tool we often use to teach Young People about the Access of Social Rights.

ENTER recommendation #7:
Culture, Leisure and Sports.

This month, we asked our member organisations and friends to tell us about the various measures they implement at local level to help young people access Culture, Leisure and Sports. Here are their answers!

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Oviedo, Spain – Member Organisation

Inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities through sports in nature & youth exchanges.

“The combination of outdoor sports and young people with fewer opportunities is definitely worth to take into consideration for youth organizations working towards social inclusion. Outdoor sports in nature open up a space for new possibilities, where we can explore limits in different levels. Firstly, in terms of self knowledge, every youngster has the chance to understand the boundaries that have an effect on his/her social, physical, psychological condition and how he/she wants to relate to them (what are the boundaries that affect me the most, am I willing to extend/break these limits, do I have any help to do so, etc).

The second level is connected to teamwork, playing sports in nature is a chance to improve group cooperation as it fosters peer-to-peer learning. Both play & nature are two elements that help to overcome individual prejudices towards a better group cohesion. Finally, the last level is re-discover nature that offers a place free of labels & boundaries, a place where young people with fewer opportunities can get out of closed spaces where they usually have to be (physically and psychologically speaking). In this sense, nature in a perfect context for young people to connect with their most authentic self.

If you add to this combination a third ingredient, youth intercultural exchanges, the experience can be even more enriching & transformative in different ways. Gathering together groups of young people coming from different cultural background is an opportunity to grow through intercultural dialogue. Being in a diverse group gives youngsters the chance to think beyond their cultural frame, but also to share their difficulties and challenges with persons with whom they have many things in common, thus developing a strong sense of belonging and inclusion. In this framework of youth exchanges, working through sports in nature also boosts youth empowerment, as they are invited to cross beyond their comfort zone with the support of other youngsters and youth workers.

In Youropía we have been developing these type of projects over the last years, hosting youth exchanges within the frame of Erasmus+ in our region. The main purpose of these intercultural meetings is to foster inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities through outdoor sports. Projects such as Lost in translation, Lost in nature & Lost again have been a very inspiring and high impact experience as regards personal & group development. Thanks to these exchanges we have witnessed how young people became active agents in inclusion after developing a strong awareness of social & group cohesion.
We are actually so motivated with this topic that In two weeks we will host another youth exchange called BEAST (Better energy and social thrive) in which we will gather 24 youngsters from Helsinki, Krakow and Oviedo. Hopefully the combination of sports in nature, young people with fewer opportunities and intercultural youth exchange will be again a learning and life changing experience for all of us!”


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Tbilisi, Georgia – Member Organisation

In July 2018, the Institute for Democratic Changes, our member organisation from Georgia, implemented a Youth Exchange called “The Sound of Culture”. This project supported by the Erasmus Plus programme aimed at deepening co-operation among young people, intercultural dialogue and encouraging the inclusion of young people with disabilities in international projects. The Youth Exchange gathered a total of 34 young people from Georgia and Estonia.

Through activities based on non-formal education, the group got to learn more on various topics such as inclusion, youth cooperation, and intercultural dialogue. But another big part of the project was the sharing of Culture and Traditions. Throughout the 9 days of the Youth Exchange, the young people got to discover the culture and traditions of the country of their fellow participants, as well as the inclusion of young people with disabilities in cultural and international youth projects. They also got to express themselves through art and finished the Youth Exchange with a public presentation of their musical numbers and theatrical performances.

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Porto, Portugal – Friend Organisation

“Okna: /ˈɔ center of east european culture, open space of multiculturality, community experience, window of the east in Portugal, also known as Plus East”

“In times when getting people together is more and more important, Plus East appears by the end of 2016 with the clear aim of promoting East European culture in Portugal, building bridges between the two sides of the continent.

And what better way to promote a contemporary, modern idea of the East than through cinema? Films have always been moments of togetherness, sharing emotions and stories, this is why we organise BEAST – International Film Festival, a big scale event representing 21 countries in Porto during 5 days of pictures, workshops, masterclasses, meeting between directors and the audience, roundtables, music and parties. The festival creates a strong connection between the New East and the community of Porto, involving volunteers, students, businesses and institutions.

On our year long activity OKNA is the home of Plus East, more than an office it is a window to the East, a gallery, a screening venue and the place where our EVS work, helping us on the development of several projects as the festival, but also the cinema cycles, as the Romanian Film Nights and also where their projects become reality – as Isabela’s ArtAmalgam, an illustration exhibition with 3 artists from the 3 Baltic countries, or Mona’s monthly book club and Alexandru’s Night Photography exhibition. Since its inauguration in April 2018, with an exhibition of a Portuguese photographer in Ukraine, OKNA has received over 500 people.

Plus East and its team is dedicated to promote culture and art as a way of creating a more tolerant and open society across Europe where young people feel empowered to create and exchange.”

Plus EAST team