ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: training course
Venue: Woodstown, County Waterford, Ireland
Dates: 2—8 April 2023
National team size: 2 youth workers
Please read the info-pack.
Hosting organisation: Waterford and South Tipperary Community Youth Service Ltd
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.
Sometimes though, it can be a challenge for young people to motivate themselves to get out in the open air, even though they know that it’s good for them. This Course brings together Youth Workers, and people who work with young people, to explore new pathways to connect young people with nature. We’ll learn from each other, from different Trainers, and we’ll learn from nature itself – all with a view to supporting and encouraging young people to connect with nature on their own terms.
16 participants will live with and learn from each other during a week at Woodstown Residential and Activity Centre on the south east coast of Ireland.
It will be a very interactive week, with participants taking a full active role in all activities. Participants will be outdoors, and learning through doing for most of the week. We’ll be exploring the countryside, meeting the locals, and taking part in the unique cultural life of this lovely corner of our little island!
We’ll be using the 4 distinct environments of County Waterford on the south east coast of Ireland as a backdrop to the week:
Each participant will be asked to prepare a short, interactive Presentation, from their own countries, highlighting the best ideas and examples involving youth work, young people and nature.
The week will be constructed around 5 Pathways to Nature Connection:
|Sunday||Participants arrive at Woodstown
|· Getting to know each other|
|Exploring and experiencing nature through all the senses||· Exploring our environment through all of our senses at the beach and along the seashore, with Spanish actress, Elena Serrano, using the methodology of Labyrinth Theatre
|Noticing and welcoming the feelings that nature inspires||· Elena will be with us for a second day focusing on emotions and feelings, as we seek the wilderness, and untangle our own emotions
· Enjoying the hospitality at a local traditional Irish music ‘session’
|Seeking and appreciating the beauty of the natural world||· Exploring the beauty of the forests and grasslands of Waterford with Tom Kent, who’s a Forestry lecturer at Waterford University
· Exploring the Comeragh mountains with mountain leader, Declan O Driscoll
|Celebrating and sharing nature’s events and stories||· Sharing our experiences from various European countries – learning what works from our partners and friends
· Storytelling workshop with a local director and actor, James Rockett
|Helping and caring for nature||· Planting trees in remote mountain areas
· Clearing the seashore in a wild section of the cliffs and coastline
· Celebration and evaluation of our learning
|Saturday||Participants depart the venue
|· Final breakfast together|
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.
- For Youth Workers to learn about and experience the 5 Pathways to Nature
- To share examples and methods from across Europe, and to inspire the participants to implement similar learning processes after the Training Course with 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.
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
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.
- Participants will learn from their peers, finding out about new methodologies and practices that are being used to support young people to connect with nature
- They will be inspired through spending time in the beautiful environments of the south east of Ireland and through working on the 5 Pathways to Nature Connection
- They will create their own ‘toolkit’ of techniques and methods to work with young people in their own countries and across Europe