When was the last time you saw the stars?
This June I had the amazing opportunity to see them in the full glory in a beautiful Croatian village called Kolenica. But they were not the purpose of my visit. Instead it was an Erasmus+ Youth Exchange that brought me to this picturesque place.
Short info about the project
Place: Kolenica, Croatia // Dates: 15-23 June 2017 // Participating countries: Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Lithuania, Italy // Project topic: Promoting rural life among local youth
The rough work
As an additional activity every team had to develop their own project on each of the workshop’s topics. The results were interesting and very fun which proved once again that no matter what country, religion or even gender we are we can still work together for a common cause.
For example, we had to prepare our vision for the perfect rural area that had to have its own national anthem, flag and even the ideal school. To the Bulgarian team was most interesting to see the level of creativity of all participants regarding the traditional Bulgarian festivals such as the one of the roses and crafts. Some of the participants took the task dearly and transformed themselves into “Kukeri” (traditional Bulgarian figures that are believed to have the strength to banish evil spirits) with the available materials on site.
However the more important and interesting task we had was the design and creation of a recreational field which would be used from local youth. But not only that - we wanted to set an example of a good practice that locals could implement in future on their own.
The whole polygon was divided in two sections - Sports and Recreational. In the first zone we set out to make a rope park with 3 obstacles and a boot camp type of filed with another 3 obstacles. All participants in team “Sports” took part of the designing, gathering of materials, preparation and building activities of the sports section. The end result, as well as the whole process, are shown in the following photos.
The remaining participants had the uneasy task of creating a music wall, path of senses, book house and also to decorate the whole park. And although we were divided in two big teams each and everyone of us had the opportunity to switch to tasks that fitted our own wishes and skills. For me personally, that was a great leadership lesson, because it taught me that people work best when they love what they do. The second big lesson for me was accepting every person with his own character nuances and working with them as a team no matter what. The end result of our efforts is incredible and really shows that if we are patient and if we all forget our EGOs anything is possible.
The human factor
Participant of Ruralize // Author of the article