Explore the Wild Side

In some days the Erasmus+ project “Explore the Wild Side” is going to lay the first stone in Thessaloniki in Greece uniting 28 youth workers, trainers and leaders from Greece, Spain, Georgia, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and the UK. Mainly organized by the Erasmus Student Network Greece (ESN Greece) and International Center for Peace and Integration (ICPI) and co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union and the Youth And Lifelong Learning Foundation (I.NE.DI.VI.M) eager citizens of each country get the opportunity to be part of this innovative and promising project. The participants are active members of their organizations, are educated and/or employed in the field of youth work and bring a strong desire to work on the promotion of a healthy lifestyle and outdoor interaction. The first phase of the training course will take place from the 22nd to the 29th of May in the scout center situated in a picturesque mountain area Chortiatis 40 minutes from the city center of Thessaloniki, surrounded by forest, with a special area for campfires and no easy access to supermarkets or any shops.

The program aims to foster youth worker’s competencies in planning and implementing outdoor activities related to good practices of a healthy lifestyle. The training course is based on non-formal education principles and will be prepared by qualified trainers, who will share a maximum of their experience in that field, in order to help participants to use their gained knowledge and practical skills in activities, which will be held throughout the project.

Another important goal is to raise awareness about outdoor health-promoting activities and healthy lifestyle. This will be done by giving participants the opportunity to experience the benefits of healthy outdoor activities and see the results on their health by themselves. Furthermore, the participants will be taught basic knowledge on how to ensure their involvement in environment and recycling related topics and how they can spread out this attitude and skills in their societies back home. By bringing youth workers to a natural environment where they can gain knowledge of the local cultures and share their own at the same time, as well as giving them the opportunity to practice outdoor activities and use open space for creativity and self-development they get empowered as trainers to cover this topic in their target group.

During the first phase, youth workers will be challenged in experiencing several outdoor activities that can be inspiring for their future commitments related to this topic. They will learn how to use outdoor opportunities to improve their health, enhance their knowledge of healthy lifestyles and methods for sharing the practice with other youth and attending activities with the double perspective of the participant and the facilitator. Creating meaningful youth networks and sharing experiences in the field of health and outdoor activities, both personally and professionally, are of great significance.

Most of the training sessions will be held in this first phase and will serve as a preparatory stage for the second phase between the 17th and the 29th of July in a camping site in Racha in north-western Georgia. Racha is another mountainous region in Greater Caucasus. Unlike other areas, it lacks major tourist attractions and offers unspoiled mountains and forests, mineral springs, caves, lakes and great food. The camping site will be equipped with a kitchen for cooking, water, electricity, waterproof tents and outdoor showers. There the participants will be able to experience hiking in reality by changing the environment rapidly, moving from one village to another and having to carry their essential gear with them along with tents during 2-day hikes.

Sharing the values of social, educational and cultural dedication with all the participating organizations, ESN Greece is awaiting their partners in this plan for action to achieve great things together and make those expectations reality. None of those would be a reality without the co-funding by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union and the Youth And Lifelong Learning Foundation (I.NE.DI.VI.M) and its support.

Source: ESN Greece