Youth exchange "Active Minds: Empowering Youth Through Movement" took place 6th-14th of december, it was held in a beautiful village Veliki Žitnik in a rural and mountainous area of Croatia. The project was made by the organization Outward Bound Croatia whose mission is to encourage young people to put themselves into unfamiliar settings and discover and develop themselves through new challenges. Through the activities the organization tries to raise awareness about mindfulness, responsibility, empathy and cooperation.
The topic of this youth exchange was physical activity and mind and body connections, but it also concentrated on group dynamics and leadership. A lot of the activities were held outside, which was a great way to appreciate the beautiful nature around. The activities made participants challenge their fears and try to look past them, because usually fear is an obstacle in a way of achieving something. We also did exercises that tested our ability to work together as a team. These team challenges were very fun, because they connected the participants as a group and really made us bond. We also went hiking for a day. It was very refreshing and breathtakingly beautiful, but also a bit challenging, because we went up to a mountain. Still the view from the top of the mountain was totally worth the effort.
In addition to the outside activities, we had workshops inside. A lot of them focused on understanding your own body and mind. For example, we learned about Waldorf education. I really admired how passionately the organizer Matija Malinović introduced the ideas behind this system. I also liked a workshop, where we talked about different leadership styles: architect, driver, relationship master and spontaneous motivator. We found out which of these would be most similar to each one of us and were introduced to the qualities and disadvantages of these different leader types.
This project gathered together people from five countries: Croatia, Estonia, Italy, Ukraine and Greece. We got to learn about different countries through cultural evenings, where each country had to plan activities, make presentations and prepare some national foods to taste. I really enjoyed the evening that Ukraine held. In addition to a presentation and a quiz about their country, they wore beautiful national clothes and introduced fun Ukrainian traditional games and dances to the other participants.
I am incredibly happy that I had the chance to participate in this project. I gained a lot of new ideas to think about and skills to practice in my life and also got to take a bit of a break from regular everyday life. In addition, I made a lot of new friends and acquaintances that inspired me and were great companions during this week.
Projektikogemused alates 2021-st aastast.