Let’s create a local impact: Re-use & Re-cycle developing creativity
Youth Exchange, 7 – 15 July
The project under the title ‘Let’s create a local impact: Re-use & Re-cycle developing creativity’ took place in a graphic scenery in Sicily of Italy, called Acireale, on 07/7/2022 – 15/7/2022 hosted by the Italian Association ‘Associazione ELIOS’.
35 young participants from Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Greece, united in a beautiful place in nature in order to experience and learn more through non-formal activities about recycling and adopting a more eco-friendly way of living. Moreover, through the activities that we were participating in every day, we succeeded in developing a special bond between the participants and having as main factor the team spirit and teamwork we accomplished many things regarding the orientation to the local community and the motivation in order to embrace the principles of reusing and recycling.
Main aim of the project was to address the priorities of the program in order to acquire greater awareness of the entrepreneurial aspects related to environmental sustainability, develop our transversal skills in the international field by learning new techniques of reuse and creative recycling to be transferred, then, to others. Also, to analyze the phenomenon of environmental respect and understand how our European peers live the issue within their countries, discussing the issue of recycling and how it can represent a turning point in terms of creativity and entrepreneurship to combat waste and excessive accumulation of undifferentiated waste in our cities. As the recycling rate increases, our economies are changing their entire structure from linear to circular and this represents an opportunity to implement more sustainable and competitive business models. The sector leaves a lot of space for creativity and innovation, so stimulating citizens’ awareness of this issue is a benefit in both the short and long term. It is easy to predict an increase in investment in this area in the near future and a consequent creation of new jobs. Environmental protection can and must also be a cost-effective economic model.
Objectives of the project
Italy: Associazione ELIOS
Spain: ASOCIACION VIAJE A LA SOSTENIBILIDAD
Bulgaria: SDRUZHENIE OBZORART
Czech Republic: EUROTEAM CZECH REPUBLIC
Greece: EKO Greece
Workshops & Activities
Day one was the day of arrivals and the participants got the chance to get to know the national teams during the travel time since most of the teams traveled together.
The first official day of the project was devoted to getting to know each other with energizers and team building activities, also we had an introduction about the project, presentation of the place, staff rules and guidelines of the place. Also we had an introduction to creativity and to the importance of observation. Last, we set some rules all together that we followed the whole period of the project
On the third day, we started the day with some energizers for getting to know each other better and for feeling more active and energized. Then, we started with the first activity of the project, that was to observe what is happening around us regarding the environmental issues. After the lunch, we rolled our sleeves up and we jumped into the topic having interactive activities about how we could face the issues that we were discussing earlier and, at last, we proposed some creative ideas.
The fourth day we were making a plan how we could approach the locals and inform them regarding recycling and reusing. After that, we were walking around the village, interacting with the locals, listening to their problems regarding the pollution and even interviewing some of them. After lunch, we gathered all the data , we discussed it and we concluded the results and conclusions.
On the fifth day, we had a creative workshop constructing useful things from recycled plastics. We manage to have a successful outcome, with many brilliant ideas that we implemented. The evening activity was the same but having as main material paper, but also we visited Acireale town in order to help at the construction of a carnival arm made by recycled paper. At night, Czech Republic and Spain presented to us their countries via games, presentations and local dances.
On the sixth day, we talked and displayed the environmental issues of our countries and we presented them. In the evening activities, we visited Acireale in order to observe and take notes regarding how eco friendly the town was.
On that day, we were wandering around Acireale meeting the locals and giving to them different artworks we constructed to the previous workshops that we were making by recycled materials. In the evening, we went to the beach in order to observe and collect the trash. At night, Bulgaria and Greece presented their countries through interactive activities and presentations.
We started our day with evaluation activities, and the organizers showed us how we can do our Youthpass certificate.
Last day and probably the hardest to the whole project. Such an emotional day, we had to say goodbye to each other. It was amazing how strong feelings and bonds you can develop on such a few days with each other.
Petros from the Greek team shared his experience with us: <<As a first time Erasmus+ participant, I was looking forward, filled with excitement, for the project to start, but I had no expectations about the activities and the organizers. I was amazed by how well prepared the organization was for the project. To begin with, all of the activities were very well designed, creative and accelerated the group bonding. I feel grateful that we had a chance to communicate with local people a lot, asking them about their views about environmental concerns and thus, having a deeper interaction with them. In addition, I appreciated the free time they allowed us to have, the fun energizers, the parties, the trips and everything else they did to make us happier and maximize our enjoyment. Also, undoubtedly, their awesome sense of humor is something I really miss. Speaking of what I miss from the program, the participants have to be mentioned. They are amazing people, I enjoyed the connection and communication we had as a group. Something that motivated me from the beginning was the chance I got to meet and talk with new people, with different cultural backgrounds, from different parts of the world. I feel glad that I interacted and lived with those people and I really hope to meet them again, somehow.>>
Orfefs also shared his feelings and thoughts about his first Erasmus+ experience: <<The Elios team provided us with the best accommodation possible and organized the activities in a timely and organized manner. They were always friendly and approachable. I have to commend their hard work on this program. Of course the rest of the participants were very important to the amazing result of the program. Most were very friendly and cooperative, thus creating a team building atmosphere. Most of the time I felt very welcome and included and I think most of the participants share this feeling. I am also very happy we had the chance to explore Acireale and Catania all together! In conclusion, it was one of the most amazing experiences in my life!>>
As EKO, we are very grateful and we thank Οrazio Fiorini from ELIOS for making this project happen and offering all participants an amazing interpersonal experience and lots of wonderful memories!
Last but not least, a big thank you to the EKO team – Marios, Foteini, Orfeas, Petros, Anastasia, Ioannis and Georgios – for being so open-minded, motivated, passionate and active and for giving the project’s backbone a heart!