Mind the Wild
Date du début: 1 août 2015,
Date de fin: 31 déc. 2015
The project “Mind the Wild” was created with the aim to build connections. We wanted to promote sustainability and long-term critical thinking and acting, understand how our present can influence the future, how our everyday actions influence the environment and global climate change.
From our experience while participating in many youth exchanges and trainings we had realized that many youngsters are unaware of environmental problems, lack the ability of long-term thinking and do not always understand cause-effect relationships. This is due to lack of information, their own ignorance, they do not know that they are ''blind'' or do not know what they don't know. Also, due to different educational systems they have been trained in short-term thinking and also in many cases lack such skills and competences as working in groups, being productive team-members, efficiently work with limited resources, taking initiative, reflecting on themselves and learning to learn. The roots of this problem have created many effects in our society and environment, like unaware and irresponsible society, consumerism, climate change etc.
Therefore the project “Mind the Wild” promoted sustainability and long-term critical thinking and acting upon it in our daily life. Based on this goal following objectives were chosen:
- to raise/increase awareness of environmental problems;
- to acquire/improve skills and competences in leadership, problem solving, communication, health and fitness, effective usage of resources, outdoor life, self development and self awareness;
- to build/improve the understanding of cause-effect relationships;
- to educate society/local community about environmental problems (in the world, partner countries and Latvia, in particular);
- to improve relationships between partner organizations for more sustainable future cooperation.
The project “Mind the Wild” was a 5 month project between August 2015 and January 2016 and involved 20 participants and 5 youth leaders from Latvia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Romania, and was targeted at young people interested in environmental issues, outdoor life, wish to grow, but sometimes lack experience, skills or competences to reach their goals and fully use their potential.
The project's main activity was a youth exchange on October 2-10. The Latvian outdoor organization Piedzīvojuma Gars hosted 25 young people from 5 different countries, Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Latvia for a week in our training site Rites in Ķegums.
The methods used were based on the principles of non-formal education and experiential learning to make the learning experiences enjoyable and successful.
The program was built on the idea of cause and effect relationships. For participants to get to know each other and understand the basics of a qualitative group work a day for team-building was designed. For participants to acquire basic survival skills a day of outdoor workshops was organized and lead by the national teams and leaders. The highlight of the project was the two day outdoor experience that consisted of several check-points where groups could gain food for their meals and ‘’money’’ that would be needed at a different task the following day.
By giving the participants such tasks that would later influence their near future and having regular reflection activities, we encouraged them to think on a larger scale and to think before and after doing.
During evaluation activities the participants claimed to have developed their critical and long-term thinking skills, as well as deeper understood the cause and effect relationships of their everyday life. They have now become more proactive in terms of sustainable, ecological lifestyle and by having acquired important leadership skills are now developing their own projects and acquiring new competences.
All of the partner organizations have expanded their network of more competent volunteers, the participants are actively taking part in social life, meeting other active youngsters and together are creating new projects. We have been invited to two youth exchanges that are organized by some of Mind the Wild participants already!
As for outdoor organizations, Mind the Wild was a great opportunity for experience sharing and strengthening the partnerships.
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