Shaping Europe Together – Day 4

Today was the last day of our youth seminar “Shaping Europe Together!”, a day focused on realising the aim of our youth Seminar and Work Plan, the structured dialogue “Tog(AE)ther Europe: Living, Working and Shaping together“.

Our participants had the opportunity to meet with decision-makers and present to them their advocacy and lobbying ideas. During the morning, they developed their propositions around 5 different themes: education and training, employment and occupation, social inclusion/segregation, participation opportunities, and youth work and non-formal education.

The meeting with decision-makers consisted in a world café and our 4 experts were able to listen to the young people’s recommendation on youth issues and give them their opinion and advices. Our guests were Abdelkarim Ramdane, elected counsellor of the municipality and urban community of Strasbourg, Marie-Julie Fayard, assistant of the Member of the European Parliament Anne Sander, Nerea Santisteban Lorences, elected at the municipality of Oviedo (Spain), and Pedro Serra, elected at the municipality of Cascais (Portugal).

The last part of the day was focused on evaluations. The participants were asked to evaluate the day and their afternoon meeting with decision-makers, the activity “Shaping Europe Together!” and the overall Work Plan.

The week is now over and our Work Plan of the year “Tog(AE)ther Europe: Living, Working and Shaping Europe together!” ended on the realisation of our objectives. Our 4 days of work were once again followed and reported by Coline Robin, graphic recorder, who will compose with her drawings a graphic report, to be published here in the next weeks.

Our next activity of the year will be the Study Session “ADV-ENT-ure!” jointly organised by Youth Express Network and Youth Social Rights Network. It will be held in November, in Strasbourg, France.

This project is supported by:

 

 

Shaping Europe Together – Day 3

Day 3 is already over and today was a very busy day! Thanks to our kind guests’ interventions and our planned field visits, our participants were introduced to a great number of institutions, financial supporters and local/national/European initiatives.

During the morning, the participants learn a little bit more about Advocacy and Lobbying. In groups, they were invited to start a brainstorming on the ENTER Recommendation highlighted the day before during their country profiles: education and training, employment and occupation, social inclusion/segregation, participation opportunities, and youth work and non-formal education.

Each of the groups imagined an advocacy and/or lobbying campaign to promote/raise awareness on their chosen topic. The ideas were numerous: videos, petitions, elevator pitches, social media campaigns, face-to-face with decision-makers…

After this collaborative exercise, we had the great pleasure to welcome 3 guests to hear about European institutions and initiatives:

  • a representative of the European Youth Foundation introduced the foundation to our participants. The European Youth Foundation is providing Youth Express Network with financial support for our Work Plan “Tog(AE)ther Europe” and it was very interesting for the group to get a clearer idea of the process of funding European projects.
  • Hervé Moritz, President of JEF France (Young European Federalists), came and presented the European Youth Convention, an European event which gathers each year more than 100 representatives of youth organisations from 38 countries to develop and write together an European Convention.
  • Nafsika Vrettaki, Board Member of the European Youth Forum, talked about youth councils around Europe and shared with the group about the YFJ and its structure.

After lunch, the group split into two and left the European Youth Centre to go visit two different sites: one group went to the European Parliament and the other participated in the “Weeks for equality and against discrimination”, an event organised by the municipality of Strasbourg proposing workshops to children in order to teach them the various types of discrimination.

During the evening, we all went to our traditional night out in the hosting city. The participants were invited to eat at a local and typical restaurant and discover Alsatian specialities.

This project is supported by:

 

Shaping Europe Together – Day 2

During Day 2, our participants had the opportunity to do the first step towards our final aim: meeting with decision-makers and proposing their suggestions and recommendations to them.

The morning was dedicated to the ENTER Recommendation and Youth Work. Our team of facilitators invited the participants to take part in a simulation game on decision-making and social rights. During the activity, they became council members and had to decide on policies tackling various issues. Each of the “councils” had a different budget to invest in social projects, an inequality that raised dilemmas, strategies and reflections: which issue should be prioritised, and which should be put on the side? How to agree on a decision? Is it fair?…

The group was then joined by Alice Barbieri, member of the Advisory Council of the Council of Europe in charge of the Youth Sector. She shared her expertise on the ENTER recommendation, and explained the relation between youth and the Council of Europe. The participants were able to ask Alice their questions, from how to disseminate the ENTER Recommendation at local level, to suggestions on how to concretely have an impact on decision-making processes.

During the afternoon, the participants were gathered in groups of nationalities and invited to share with the others the issues of their country. Thanks to this exchange of facts and good practices, everyone was able to get a better idea of the distinct and common realities of the European territory. They finished this session with a clearer map of the problems that need to be solved all over Europe, but also, hopes and ideas on how to start solving them now.

The last session of the day focused on labels and stereotypes. While walking in the Strasbourg “wilderness”, the participants discussed with each other, wearing new identities on their foreheads. Homeless person, president, alcoholic… How do people interact with me? Why is their behaviour toward me different now? Why and how is it affecting me?…

Day 2 ended on a free evening exploring Strasbourg together and making friends.

This project is supported by:

 

Shaping Europe Together – Day 1

This week, Youth Express Network is gathering 45 people in the European Youth Centre of Strasbourg to participate in our final activity of the year: “Shaping Europe Together!”.

This youth seminar marks the end of our work plan “Tog(AE)ther Europe“. During these 4 days of work, our participants will have the significant task of developing together propositions on youth inclusion and access to social rights to present to decision-makers. They will also evaluate the impact of the whole Work Plan 2017 on our participants and the organisations involved.

On Monday, first day of the meeting, the participants were introduced to all of the essential aspects of the project: Youth Express Network and its values, the aim and objectives of “Shaping Europe Together!”, the work plan as a whole and its past two activities and their programme for the 4 days to come.

Together, they took part in various Icebreakers and Team Building activities to help them get to know each other and become a strong and collaborative Team. They shaked their names, wrote their feelings, mimed birthdays, planted trees, they accomplished the impossible and climbed spider webs!

The focus of the afternoon was on the past two activities: “Living Together: Our challenge!” and “Working Together for an Inclusive Europe“. Among the participants, a dozen of young people who took part in those activities back in May and June were invited to share about their experience and explain to the others what the seminars consisted of. Some of them had great news and presented to the group the projects they were able to implement at local level during the last months.

The day ended, as tradition demands, with a beautiful intercultural evening. A lot of work awaits, and we’ll enjoy every minute of it!

This project is supported by:

 

Shaping Europe Together: Youth Seminar in Strasbourg

In a few days, Youth Express Network will be welcoming 45 young people from 15 European countries in Strasbourg for the third and last activity of our Work Plan: “Tog(AE)ther Europe: Living, Working and Shaping Europe Together”.

This activity, supported by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe and by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission, will focus on:

  1. Evaluating the impact of the whole Work Plan 2017 on participants and organisations involved (including the 2 previous activities: “Living Together: Our challenge!” and “Working Together for an Inclusive Europe“);
  2. Giving advocacy and lobbying tools for young people to claim for their rights;
  3. Encouraging youth participation at local, national and European levels;
  4. Raising awareness, among decision-makers, on access to Social Rights of young people;
  5. Promoting the role of young people and youth/social workers to participate to policy-making fostering social inclusion for youth;
  6. Presenting and disseminating the ENTER Recommendation of the Council of Europe.

During this 4-day seminar, the participants will have the opportunity to draft policy recommendations together. Youth Express Network invited representatives of European organisations, authorities and institutions to attend the seminar and listen to the recommendations of our group of Young People and Youth/Social Workers.

Our pan-European Team will be composed of 4 facilitators coming from Bulgaria, France, Italy and Romania. Once again, our adventures will be drawn by Coline Robin, Graphic Reporter.

“Shaping Europe together”
Evaluation seminar

in STRASBOURG (France)

from the 2nd to the 5th of October 2017

       

Help the Network with Lilo

Dear young people, friends, member organisations, WE NEED YOUR HELP! And the good news is, you will shortly be able to do so, one click at the time!

Since 1993, Youth Express Network organises trainings, study visits, seminars, youth exchanges and a lot of other local, cross-border and European projects designed for youth/social workers and young people with fewer opportunities. Next year, Y-E-N will be celebrating its 25 YEARS of experience in the matter, 25 years of intercultural work and exchanges!

We would like for this year to count and to be remembered, with videos of testimonies and memories, events and beautiful projects!

To be able to do so, and more, we decided to launch in September 2017 our very first fundraising campaign. For that, we chose Lilo.

What is Lilo?

30 euros. A lot can be done with 30 euros. It can represent a few meals, one night in a hostel, a train ticket in some countries, one year of membership in an organisation, a donation maybe… What if we told you that 30 euros is also, in average, the amount of money you generate yearly thanks to your internet researches.

Some people decided to make something of that interesting fact and created search engines which allow you to participate in something useful. Some are focused on tree planting, sustainability… as for Lilo, it is specialised in organisations.

source: https://www.lilo.org/en/

How does Lilo works?

Lilo is a search engine that finances social and environmental projects. You can download it and use as your default search engine. So how does it generate money exactly?

To explain it simply: each research you do in Lilo generates 1 “drop of water”. The drops of water are cumulated at the right top of your screen. You then can decide in the Lilo page to which associative project you can give your drops. Thanks to advertising, the drops are turned into money. It is not much, but with a lot of people, a lot can be done !

Here is a video that explains a little bit how the search engine works.

Lilo, here we come!

We will launch our campaign in mid-september! So start gathering your drops NOW! We’ve been using it at Y-E-N coordination office for 6 months and we’ve got 1799 drops now! Can you beat us? 😀

As soon as our profile appears, we will be able to donate your drops to Youth Express Network.

“Give meaning to your searches”

Lilo

Toolkit: Inclusive European Youth Projects

During our last seminar “Working in Europe Together”, the participants (young people and youth workers), brainstormed and developed together a toolkit for inclusion workers engaging young people with fewer opportunities in European projects, Y-E-N projects mainly.

The toolkit conception was the focus of a full afternoon. The facilitating team suggested the World Café methodology to harvest ideas and reflections from the participants. Groups were formed and each of them spent some time brainstorming and sharing good practices and suggestions on 3 specific questions : What should youth workers do? What should young people do? What should Youth Organisations do?

For each of the questions, the participants identified solutions, advices and good practices. Together, they compared their experiences and came up with efficient processes of selection, preparation and follow up for Youth Projects.

You can now find all of these key informations in the Toolkit : Inclusive European Youth Projects, drawn by Coline Robin, the talented graphic facilitator who worked with us in our 2 last projects, Living in Europe Together and Working in Europe Together (see reports here).

This practical booklet is intended to help inclusion workers who work everyday with young people with fewer opportunities in European projects. It aims to enable European youth organisations to reduce the exclusion of young people with fewer opportunities in European individual or group experiences.

 

Graphic Reports “TOG(AE)THER EUROPE”

HERE THEY ARE!

The graphic report on our last activity “Working together for an inclusive Europe” is here! It was made by Coline, graphic facilitator, who has been following and drawing us for our past two activities.

You can also read our previous graphic report on the very first activity of this year’s work plan, the youth seminar “Living in Europe Together, our challenge!

 

Passing on the Torch: warm words from Valentina

Last Month, two dedicated members of Y-E-N handed over their seats at the Board table to new young people equally eager to change things around!

They wanted to pass on their wisdom of experienced Y-E-N members! 🙂 Here is the letter of Valentina, who was a Board member for two mandates! Thank you for your work Valentina 🙂 We sure will see you again very soon!

Y-E-N WAVES

Youth Express Network’s projects move like waves: it is a powerful natural force, which we can only watch, swim by, but not control.

Y-E-N Waves is the name of our first time ever made research on the impact of Y-E-N’s project on young people’s life.

I was working in Y-E-N’s office for an internship when we were preparing the research, about two years ago.

To me, thinking for a proper name for the research, wasn’t just about finding “the name”. In Y-E-N anything is thought “just because”. There is always a long process of researching and deep reflection behind everything we do. 

Y-E-N waves: moving fast or slow but always bringing new surprises.

Since I attended my first project in 2012, I remember how fascinated I was by the amazing opportunity I was having. I travelled for my first time to Strasbourg, I was being welcomed by nice people and most of all, I was working for seven days with 30 other young people from everywhere in Europe! How incredible for a 17th years old girl to be in such a space with people from different countries, all speaking different languages.

That was the beginning of an incredible journey.

 On the last day of that project, I wanted so much to speak with a trainer from Y-E-N and say: this is what I want to do! This is where I want to be! 

I got great support and motivation.

Since then, I attended more than 2 projects per year, met INCREDIBLE people from all over Europe, learned about Human Rights, elected member of the board, being the vice-president, and facilitate the creation a local group of young people in Rome within my organization Affabulazione.

More than that, I learned about Humanity, Integrity, Motivation. I would never EVER be today the woman I am (personally and professionally) without the experience in Y-E-N. This network gives you a unique gift: sense of responsibility.

A sense of responsibility not just for yourself, but for the society we live in, for the community around us. 

It is definitely a long journey, but every step is incredibly rewarding.

When you understand about integrity and responsibility no-one EVER can take you this things off from you: they are forever yours, no matter which challenge life presents you.

Today, after taking the decision of leaving the board, I never ever feel to leave the network and I want to contribute to feed its creativity, its uniqueness.

I look back at that 17th years old girl in Strasbourg looking at the window and wanting to be in Y-E-N so much, and I look at myself today and still, wanting to be in Y-E-N vividly, sincerely, with a new vest.

All this, to say to every human being, that Y-E-N is is a human example that all together WE CAN make changes, defend our rights, promote our integrity, create a stable, creative and INCLUSIVE community. 

This is Y-E-N, like a wave, its power never ends, it recreates itself.

I will always say: go beyond, be critical, and think for the others as well. 

Be a Wave, be Y-E-N.

With Love,

Valentina”

Passing on the Torch: warm words from Katarina

As Youth evolves through generations, our board experiences changes every two years. Passing on the torch to new people and ideas is important, necessary and beneficial for the evolution of the network, its accuracy, its strategic directions…

During the last GA, we said goodbye (and see you soon!) to two of our Board Members. They wanted to mark this special role switching with a few words 🙂 Here is the letter of Katarina, who was Board Member twice, for 4 consecutive years!

Social inclusion is needed everywhere in the world today, but not everywhere you can learn how to fight for it for your self and others in your community. And then, there are those people who are even more socially excluded than yourself, how to support them is life important lesson.

Youth Express Network is a bit of a parallel universe where magic for social inclusion for Young people is happening. It is not a place since it is so many people in many places across Europe and in some stages across world, it is not place and time since social inclusion is an eternal necessity of today’s Youth. Youth Express Network is a unique personal and Professional experience that will never leave you and you will never leave it even if you physically left.

I met Y-E-N in 2009, I think, as participant. It was love at first activity which motivate me to motivate my hometown organization to start working more on social inclusion and become member of the network. We were members for several years before we decided to have me as Bord member candidate and it worked four years ago I became board member. Between organizational membership and me being in the board we, as organization and me personally were learning a lot from the network, people working in secretariat and we really enjoyed meeting new organizations. For me personally it became a place where I charge batteries for local activities, where I meet really passionate people willing to contribute and support each other and more importantly support Young people in fighting for social inclusion across Europe.

As board member for three years I learn so much about international cooperation and collaboration, European mechanisms for Young people and social inclusion and most importantly I was very happy to meet people, projects and organizations across Europe. Within the network I had a chance to be member of board as international team but also I was honored to be president and support international board and network secretariat in their work. This was such special year for me, so many learning points about myself, people, international Youth work, team building, leadership and Mutual support with one group. It was a very interesting, extensive process to be part of the board and to be president. Each day in Y-E-N brought new ideas, new challenge and opportunity and at the end of each task people feel that they really contributed. All the time I felt useful and responsible.

In these four years I had many opportunities to be part of international Training teams and meet and support hundreds of Young people and what a special pleasure it is to have some of them as coworkers within the board. Cooperation with secretariat team of the network is very interesting and unique experience because trough their work you see how important organization is in local and International context and at end of the day it is them who bring us together.

Every challenge, every day and every ideas in Y-E-N is Worth your personal commitment and challenges. In this parallel universe you can create and in real life these ideas make so much sense. I would recommend this journey for every Young person for their Professional and personal development.

Hugs :)​

Katarina Vuckovic