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Green skills in youth work

Green skills in youth work:
climate change as social, ecological and educational issue

01.-09. September 2011, Altensteig, Germany

Planet?? Pollution?? How to solve environmental problems? In context of international youth work??

That were the questions that we dealt with during our International Youth exchange in Altensteig. Forty people from five European countries (England, Bulgaria, Finland, Turkey and Germany) gathered together for ten days in Altensteig, Germany to discuss about one of the most popular, but in the same time controversial topic: green skills in youth work – climate change as social, ecological and educational issue.

The aim of this Youth Exchange was to discuss the possible ways to decrease the climate change, to share experiences and create interesting and inspiring outcomes to share the achievements of the workshops. In order to reach  our goals  between  1–10 September 2011 we had the opportunity to debate topics like environmentally travelling during youth exchanges, environment friendly house life in context of youth work, industrial effects on environment, difference on environmental policies, precautions in developed and developing countries etc. together with young people from  the mentioned countries.

The topic of the exchange was very interesting, but not so easy to develop. But the group did a great work and provided very original and suggestive ideas. We pointed out successfully the similarities and differences in the participant countries concerning the precautions against climate change. The used non-formal education tools and techniques helped us to reach our goals. We have to mention that Altensteig was good choice for this exchange, because the house where we lived was in the nature, in the Black Forest, an we had some workshops in the nature and could have own experiences, for example in buying local products, trying to cook environmentally friendly or save energy and water. At the end of the exchange we had a public “Gala” where we presented all our experiences to a public audience.

Beside the mentioned topics we tried to organize a so-called Environmental Kitchen, where we wanted to use as many as possible local products. We, and also our partners, find this initiative a good idea, but unfortunately it seemed to be quite hard to realize it. The participants had to present their country with a self-prepared meal. For a tasty food they already bought some ingredients from their country. The rest they bought it in Germany, but even though they find a lot of imported goods on the shelves of the German shops. But it was good to realize that part of Globalization and talk about it in the workshops!

But thankfully for the good working selective rubbish collectors we could collect the paper, the metal, the plastic, the glass etc. in separate refuse bins. This way we could not just talk about green skills in youth work, we could actually do something constructive and environmentally friendly act on these 10 days. Besides all participants were aware of reducing the use of water and electricity and to keep the area clean. Hopefully the experienced gained in this Youth Exchange will last for a long time in the participants, that’s way in our Planet will be less pollution. Also we think it is important that our message reach not just to the participants, but also other youngster from Europe/from the participant countries. For this is indispensable the help of those forty people who was present and actively operated in the camp. According to the feedback what we’ve got from the participants, they already get in contact with the media and some articles were published about the Youth Exchange from Altensteig. But not only the published materials are revealing about the success of this camp, but the camp-evaluation sheets confirm that our participants had a good time in Germany, enjoyed the workshops, the topics, and returned home with richer and deeper knowledge about climate change as social, ecological and educational issue.

Thanks to all who organized the exchange, the workshops, presentations and everything, thanks to the great participants and leaders, thanks to our kitchen team and a big thanks to YOUTH IN ACTION who supported our great Youth exchange with financial support!