By Steffi Goerisch and Dario Ferraro
GEN Europe is a member of the Yes to Sustainability partnership, a project designed to share best practice on peer learning among youth in the area of sustainability.
Finally, after months of online meetings, a colourful bunch of young people and youth workers from ecovillages and sustainable projects in Italy, Germany, Serbia, Netherlands, Spain and Slovenia, all members of the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership “Yes To Sustainability”, met between the 7th and the 15th of June at the beautiful retreat and seminar center Jandala, on the hills overseeing the River Danube in Northern Serbia.
Over the first three days, a reduced group of people worked in a Transnational Project Meeting to draft a sustainable structure to support young people who want to organise a sustainable youth exchange, connect and strengthen the network of ‘Yes To Sustainability’ and create strategies to involve more young people as leaders and mentors in our networks. The sessions were always led by different people to give everybody the chance to experiment and improve their facilitation skills, and it was a great moment to connect personally and strengthen our friendships.
At the end of the meeting, more people joined for the peer learning training for “Good Practice in Youth Exchanges”: former organisers, youth leaders and participants of previous youth exchanges came together to share their experiences and evaluate outcomes, collect best practices and brainstorm content for a brochure about how to create sustainable youth exchanges that will be created by the project.
After days of intense activities and exchanges, the final sharing circle harvested insights and “aha” moments that the group will bring back home. Maybe you remember this magical atmosphere that is created in the group when people start to share from their hearts. Tears, laughter, feelings, emotions, gratitude… being transparent about that creates so much trust and love amongst each other. “Thank you for all the connections, inspirations and teamwork we experienced in the last days. I feel very touched and thankful”, says Steffi from GEN Germany, “This training helped us to feel very more connected to the YTS tribe and network that we are all part of!”.
We would like to point out and celebrate with you our host organisation for this training, the Serbian partner Zeleno Doba (Green Age). After a Yes To Sustainability training in Sieben Linden in Germany in 2017 the first YTS baby was born in 2018: the organization Zeleno Doba. They see themselves as an incubator of Yes To Sustainability in Balkan countries. They do a real pioneer work and we want to give thanks for their love and all the hard work that they put into this project. This was the first training that they were hosting in Serbia and it was a big growing step for them and for the whole YTS network. Thank you beautiful souls!