"Own Your Power". YE in Coimbra, Portugal | 21 - 28 April 2022

Updated: May 31

Project Name: Youth Exchange “Personal Power to the People” OWN YOUR POWER

Activity: Youth Exchange in Portugal for 3 participants (18 to 30 years old) and one leader from our organisation. During this Youth Exchange young people will be able to get better knowledge about their power and their self-improvement through this power. They will have a chance to exchange their experience while learning also how improve their self through their power.

Youth Exchange: 21th to 28th of April 2022

Place: Coimbra/Portugal

Target Groups: National groups will have 4 participants (1 team leader + 3 participants) and we highly encourage the participation of people with fewer opportunities, especially migrants, NEET (people not in education, employment or training) and youngsters experiencing economic or geographical barriers. We also ask for gender balance in the participants choosing.

Age limit: 18-30 for participants (no age limit for leader)

Dissemination from our participants in the Youth Exchange


“PERSONAL POWER TO THE PEOPLE:

OWN YOUR POWER”

Coimbra, Portugal


Project overview:

“Personal Power to the People: Own your Power”, was a 6-day youth exchange focused on empowering young people to identify and develop their strong attributes, as well as be aware of their “need to improve” features, encouraging them to be authentic and comfortable in their own skins. To be more specific, the objectives of the project were to:

· Identify strong and weak sides and how they affect personal and professional life

· Enhance employability and improve career prospects through the development of self-conscious and creative youngsters.

· Learn and improve youngsters’ intrapersonal life skills, as self-awareness, self-control, self-esteem, self-respect and self-reflection.

· Inspire and empower participants to acknowledge and express emotions

· Foster young people to create authentic connections with themselves and consequently with others.

· Encourage young people to actively engage and participate in their communities, by recognizing their impact on society.


Participants:

In the YE participated young people from Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, Armenia, Italy and Lithuania.

Venue and accommodation:

The activities of the program took place in the area of the University of Coimbra, and the accommodation was in a well-established hostel, where we were staying with other people from different countries giving us the chance to get closer to the other participants from the very first days.

Activities and methods:

Throughout each day we followed the schedule (you can see below) that we have been given on the first day, which contained the activities, the energizers, lunch, dinner and break time.



Activities were implemented using different methods of peer education and non-formal education: energizers, group dynamics, debates, simulation games, creativity workshop, presentation of creative works, intercultural activities and role-plays. The topics of the activities included authenticity, vulnerability, shame, perfectionism, comfort zone, self-care and growth zone.

The very first activity, was a treasure hunt in the city of Coimbra, where we were divided into groups with people from different countries and we had to complete few tasks in order to learn some interesting information about the history of the city, the university, to see some of the sights and we had to take selfies as the proof that we had made it to that point.



What I liked the most from the activities, was the yoga sessions we had almost every morning and the mindfulness meditations we practiced some of the days. I think it helped us to keep a calm and open mind in order to discuss with the other members of the group about our lifes, our vulnerabilities and the weird part of us we were afraid to show to anyone else before.



Other activities like the plate of compliments, where we had a plate in our backs for the other to write a compliment, or the life of game, where we had to create a board game of our life, gave us the chance to respect what we had in our journey of life so far and to be grateful in order to attract more good things in our lifes.



Each day, one of the participated countries was responsible for the cleaning of the room we were having the activities as well as to prepare an energizer game for after lunch.

Last but not least, every night we were having the intercultural night for two of the participated countries. Cypriot’s intercultural night was at the second day and we had the chance to show a small presentation about Cyprus, our customs and traditions, some traditional uniforms, events and dances. We also talked about some of our signature foods and plates, which the participants had also the chance to try like halloumi, flaouna, pastellaki, loukoumia geroskipou, siousiouko and local wines (Coumandaria) as well as the famous Zivania. Additionally, we provided some information about the snacks we treated them in order for the other participants to get closer to our community and learn about our great history.


On our last day, we had to work all together for the public event, where we did like small TEDx talks in a main square in Coimbra, and we had to prepare posters and invite people to listen to stories told by some of us, trying to raise awareness among people who were not members of the program.



I am very grateful for the chance I have been given participating in this YE. I met some amazing people, who will be my friends for a lifetime. It was a week full of lessons that I will have with me for the rest of my life. What I have particularly held is that my vulnerabilities are not weaknesses but even if they were, if I face them without fear, then they will become my power!

What our participants told:

Youth Programme_Coimbra_PORTUGAL
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Charalambos Tsaloupis
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Chrysostomos Syrimis
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Marilena Solomontos
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Project summary:

This project is focused on empowering young people to identify and develop their strong attributes, as well as be aware of their weak sides, encouraging them to be authentic and comfortable in their own skins. Throughout formal education, youngsters are rarely motivated to work on understanding their emotions and ways of functioning in the world. They are hardly encouraged to acknowledge their passion and reasons behind it, to cultivate their inner power, to connect with their vulnerabilities, and to fully embrace themselves. As a result, if they do not connect with themselves, they may strive to feel part of a group and to develop a sense of belonging.


Offer youngsters tools and a moment of presence to reflect on whom they want to be and what they want to accomplish, supporting their personal, socio-educational, and professional development, is one of the project’s purposes. They will be able to use these tools to improve their relationships (with themselves, with others, and with the community) and consequently thrive as humans, professionals, and European citizens. The expected outcomes include developing young people’s confidence to interact with others and participate in European life because they will strengthen the belief that their opinion and their attitudes matter.


3 youngsters (ages 18 - 30) +1 leader (no age limit) from our organization will take place to the program. Travelling food and accommodation all are payed from the program (For an application you must be member of our organization, if you want to apply for membership you can go for the application to the link: https://www.acpelia.org/be-a-member

Specific objectives

- identify strong and weak sides and how they affect personal and professional life

- learn and improve youngsters’ intrapersonal life skills, as self-awareness, self-control, self-esteem, self-respect, and self-reflection.

- inspire and empower participants to acknowledge and express emotions

- foster young people to create authentic connections with themselves and consequently with others

- encourage young people to actively engage and participate in their communities


Methodology


The project methodology will include non-formal education activities around the topics:

· -Authenticity: Let go who you thought you should be to be who you are. Positive disciplines, Education and Psychology help individuals to consider their actual behaviors, and compromise with the change of the not so functional ones to apply the learned lessons in life.

· -Comfort zone: Let go the projection of the perfect self is step one out of the comfort zone. Comfort zones will be approached for each participant, and they are usually different for each person. The group and individual dynamics will help participants to recognize the comfort zone and gather resources to enter the learning zone.

· -Perfectionism This project considers perfectionism as a trait present in people with low self-esteem and a great fear of critics. The objective is to think about this trait with different perspectives and invite participants to allow themselves to make mistakes.

· -Self-care: Number one topic on self-esteem. To cultivate and nourish self-esteem, everyone must understand the importance of daily care through micro-managing of emotions, anxiety, stress. Sleep well and enough, eat healthily, and enjoy personal and social environments are other daily habits that help individuals to build self-esteem. Practical techniques of Mindfulness will help participants to develop a sense of simple self-care that should be practiced every day.

· -Vulnerability: Fully embrace vulnerability as one of the most important singularities in human beings. It allows us to feel and connect with others. It is only possible to feel both confidence and fear through vulnerability.



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