Youth empowerment in rural regions

30 October 2005


„Youth empowerment in rural regions” was the fourth project  and the third youth exchange carried out so far by our association within Action 1 of the European Commission’s „Youth” programme. It took place in Poronin between 22nd and 30th October 2005. Our guests came from Greece, Lithuania, Turkey and Hungary and together with Polish group there were 42 young people participating in this project. Beautiful sunny weather and a great location  in marvellous landscapes of Polish mountains enabled us to carry out an interresting programme in both meritorical (workshops, discussions) and practical meaning (visiting Etnographic Park, agrotouristic household, etc). We also organised a few sightseeing trips. The project started with a sightseeing trip around Cracow which was a good beginning of integration. On the next day we went to Poronin, where the crucial activities of the project were taking place. Thanks to many ice-breaking games and special name-plates we learned our names and got know each other very quickly. Then, the Polish group greeted all of the participants and discussed the programme with details. Afterwards the participants took part in workshops with professional trainer – Ms. Luiza Czajkowska, which were about integration, team-building, the possibilities of empowerment of young people both as individuals and in groups. We learned also how to overcome the obstacles and stereotypes which can disable interpersonal communication. On tuesday we spent the whole day on a trip to Nowy Sącz and the sorroundings. First we visited the old monumental church in Dębno and in addition to this the participants (with a small help of Polish group members) made a short conversation with local people and learned something about hand made regional products. Next stop of our trip was Niedzica, a place famous for a monumental castle, a big dam and beautiful views. Our guests had another oportunity of making a conversation with the local people, this time with rafters carrying the wood. The main  point of the day was visting the Etnographic Park, which was very interesting for all of us. We  have seen many kinds of old village architecture styles. We’ ve also heared many histories about the inhabitants. We have also seen an old traditional Greek-catholic Orthodox church. After the lunch and a little sightseeing in Nowy Sącz we went back to our hotel. During the next days the participants have visited an agrotouristic household and the museum in Auschwitz-Birkenau (Nazi concentration camp), they have also taken part in an orientation game in Zakopane and have climbed the Tatra Mountains. Moreover we have continued the workshops on citizenship, project management and discussions about the situation of young people in each country. We have had also another kind of entertainment – National Evenings. Besides learning about our organizations we have had also an opportunity to experience culture and lifestyle of our countries. We have played games, sang national songs, tasted traditional food. This project was a great possibility to analyse the main subject of our exchange. We have made some new friendships and  we promissed to see each other in the future. Before the departures all the participants received CDs with pictures and materials used during the project, a mailing list and some small souvenirs. We think that we have managed to show our guests the beauty and advantages of Polish countryside and we hope that the participants won’t forget the knowledge of youth  empowerment, civic society and chances of carrying out regional iniciatives. We hope that we have convinced them that living in a countryside doesn’t have to mean worse situation, life standard or less chances than in big cities.

Please visit our Gallery to see chosen pictures from this project.


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