Nature Connection — Ireland

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Programme ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: training course

Dates: 30 October—5 November 2022

Venue: Woodstown, County Waterford, Irsko

Please read the infopack

Project description:

A Training Course for Youth Workers to learn new approaches to using nature in their work with young people

Background and Theme of the Project 

Have you ever wondered why young people just seem happier and in better form after they’ve spent the day outside in nature? 

Fresh air, glorious sunshine, reviving rain, wild wind, and sparkling snow – they all just seem to add to our positive feelings. It’s almost as if we were actually meant to live closer to nature, rather than surrounded by concrete, glass, LED lighting and tarmac!

Many youth workers want to use nature as a background for youth work, simply because it adds enormously to the outcomes that we’re looking to create with young people. 

This Course brings together Trainers and Youth Workers who will live with and learn from each other during a week at Woodstown Residential and Activity Centre on the southeast coast of Ireland. 

There will be 16 youth workers who will each prepare a short, interactive Presentation highlighting, from their own countries, the best ideas and examples involving youth work, young people and nature.

There will also be 5 Trainers who will give workshops on a wide range of topics, including:

  1. Aesthetic Approaches in Outdoor learning (ENOC – European Network of Outdoor Centres)
    – there is sometimes a narrow definition of aesthetic which relates to a sense of beauty gained through the arts or nature; here it is used as a broader concept to encompass feelings, operceptions and understanding that arise from emotional experiences in the outdoors
  2. Grow HQ – Workshop on Food Sustainabilty (www.giy.ie)
  3. Irish Trees in Youth Work (Department of Forestry, South East Technical University)
  4. Tour of Unique Irish Sand Dunes (Community Environmentalist)
  5. Comeragh Mountains Tour (WSTCYS Outdoor Facilitator)

The week will be built around these 5 workshops and 16 presentations, and you’ll develop environmental networks, learn about what’s going on in other countries , and be able to apply your learnings with the young people with whom you work.

Overall Aim 

The aim of this Training Course is to explore different environments and methodologies together, so that youth workers can go back to their own groups in their own countries, and work with young people in new and inspiring ways.

 

Objectives

 

  • To share examples and methods from across Europe, and to inspire the participants to implement similar learning processes after the Training Course for their own target groups
  • To reflect on their own learning process by using the Key Competences from the Youth Pass, and giving the opportunity for capacity building in the context of the Erasmus+ Program.

 

Approach and Methodology

This Training Course will be based on non-formal and informal education with a self-directed learning approach. 

During this course participants are responsible for their own learning and the facilitators provide activities, and guide the participants through their own learning process. 

The Training Course will be characterised by highly participatory, interactive and experiential methods. We’ll be out in the natural environment of forests, coastline and mountains most of the time, so it’s important that participants will be prepared for all weathers ! 

Some sessions will be complemented by theoretical inputs, and all of them will be followed by group reflection or self-reflection.

Profile of the Participants:

  • Participants will be youth workers, project leaders and educators involved in youth work.
  • The key is that participants want to work with young people using nature as a backdrop.
  • The participants will have a multiplier role – in other words: they will adapt what they learn in this training course to their own context of working with young people. In their future projects and daily work they can incorporate tools, methods and theories which they have learned during this Training Course. They can also use their personal learning and development in their daily work with their own target groups.

PREPARATORY WORK:

Each participant will be asked to create a short presentation (maximum 15 minutes) BEFORE they arrive in Ireland around an example of best practice youth work involving young people and nature, from their own country. The key thing is that they feel that this would be a good example of work that could be transferable around Europe

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