Nowadays, the possibilities of young people around Europe to travel and learn by using non-formal education are high. In the last years, we assisted to increase in the number of youth participating to non-formal education activities. However, we understand that in many situations, the learning process and the target group is only slightly focused on young people with fewer opportunities, where the need of non-formal education activities is high. Furthermore, the initiatives of the young people from the partners organizations are limited as size and can’t create a sustainable effect, integrated in a mainstream of youth work in the field of volunteering, that can help youth develop their key competences as civic behavior, intercultural skills and knowledge, practical implementation of non-formal education methods.
The project “What if I get involved?” proposed a different approach for the work of youth in the field of volunteering using non-formal education. We created an example of large scale youth event, using the concept “Youth Exchange with local community”, where both the participants and the youngsters from local community were involved in the learning process starting with the early stages of the exchange. We aimed to create the impact for participants and the local youngsters as the activities were implemented to multiply the concept and the activities experienced in all the communities of the partners, so we could integrate the concept in a mainstream for youth work, with a lot of visibility and participation of the community.
This Youth Exchange involved 35 young people from Lithuania, Spain, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania. During 10 days they were learning new methods of non-formal education, playing games, teaching the others, sharing knowledge, exploring new cultures, getting to know each other, improving their skills and competencies.
Through the project, young people from different parts of Europe had the opportunity to get to know the degree of social responsibility, the importance of their role in initiating on the local environment, have developed an attitude of social entrepreneurs, self-esteem, competence in the labor market and intercultural awareness.