Programme & action: Youth in Action programme, action 1.1. youth exchange
Venue: Warsaw, Poland
Dates: 17-24 May 2014
Participants: Michaela Gelnarová, Pavla Nováková, Klára Hečková (group leader), Tomáš Lábek, Kristian Tomala
It is around 7pm, Saturday May 17th as I ran through heavy rain trying to get closer to our Bostel, a place that became our base camp for the Different point of view project that took place in the Polish capital city. As I get inside soaking wet, nothing could make me more comfortable than a warm welcome from Anja, the project coordinator, and a Lithuanian team. As the evening continued, the rest of the participants arrived to our floating accommodation – only boy teams from Malta and Portugal, the rest of Czech group, some more Polish organizers and German participants. We started the project off with a spontaneous intercultural night that made us all sure, that we will be going back home with plenty of new friends and countless unforgettable memories.
The first day of our adventurous week was dedicated to get to know each other and teambuilding activities. I can honestly say it was vital to learn all participants´ names and fun to work together as a group, but the main thing all of us were looking forward the most started on Monday – longboarding!
Have you not heard about longboarding before? Well, let me give you a short introduction then. Longboarding is an individual sport, commonly practiced in groups, that was invented by surfers in sunny California to substitute their favorite activity for the days when there are no waves to surf on. Longboard itself is a longer and bigger relative to a skateboard. There are several different types of decks, wheels and tracks for different disciplines. Some are more suitable to be danced on, other for tricks or speed racing.
So, what were the activities that we took part in during those seven days? Well, understandably, we rode a lot. We also mastered the basics – learned how to properly turn, how to push and stop. For the more advanced riders we did some workshops on how to slide, jump, or do simple tricks. We saw Warsaw from a different point of view – few centimeters above the ground, going fast on four wheels. We used our creativity as well – divided into groups we designed our own longboard. And what is more, we even got the chance to make it ourselves!
In the end of the project we also joined a longboarding event called “fat Thursday” that gathers all enthusiasts from around the city and offers a chance to meet up with people of similar interests. To me, it was amazing to see gather a large number of young people willing to share their tips and simply enjoy what they love.
Last night we visited an epic bar opening where we danced until 5AM together with around 5 thousand people under an open sky. Absolutely exhausted yet incredibly happy, the Czech group picked up all the baggage at the accommodation and boarded the bus heading back home.
If I shall summarize our experience, the words that come up to my mind are excitement, friendliness, perfect organization, great food, new skills and happiness! I would like to thank both, European Youth Centre Břeclav for enabling us to take part in such a great project as well as to Polish organizers for being perfect hosts and having everything thought through and ready for us to enjoy this one hundred percent.
For the Czech Team, Michaela Gelnarová