Day1 - 22.10.2021
After breakfast, we started at 11, all together by introducing the main aim and goal of the project. Followed by name games to allow everyone to introduce themselves in fun and relaxed ways (name games: gesture name, toilet paper facts about yourself, speed dating, 2 truths and a lie). At first the participants were a bit shy and were slightly uncomfortable speaking, especially publicly. But towards the end of the activity they got more comfortable and spoke more.
To get to know each other better the participants, for example, wrote two truths and one lie down on paper. They wore these papers on their person with sticky tape and walked around the room. When two participants met, they’d challenge each other to figure out what the lie is. During which they’d get to know more about their fellow participants. Team building games: rope games, at bertha, living rabbit, blind drawing, minefield, get over the string, get under the string, war, human knot, make the shape.
We went outside to have some more team building games whilst the weather was still enjoyable. We gathered around in a (potato shaped) circle, and started with a handclap game. Without explanation we started the game and made the participants think and discover how to play the game. How they receive a clap, how to block one or how to send a clap. To add a fun element, whoever made a mistake (after a few practice rounds) had to sit down. Fostering a sense of competition and camaraderie.
Day2 - 23.10.2021
The second day started with a creative morning time, where as agreed, participants themselves will organize different activities in the morning, such as stretching, yoga, beach walk etc. This morning few participants organized a stretching outside, since the weather conditions allowed us to enjoy the beautiful nature.
The first workshop was dedicated to team building activity, where in the same time participants had to explore the area, work in multicultural teams, explore the culture, learn phrases in different languages, set the rules, discover the history of Struga, agree on common project rules, take a picture next to the poetry bridge, as well as write a poem in mixed languages on the project topic. After they came back, we had a short presentation on what they did, showing pictures and videos of them exploring and having fun, and sharing the experience with the group.
The second part of the day was dedicated to a very important topic, considering the big number of young people and newcomers in Erasmus+ programme. It was dedicated to formal, non-formal and informal education, Erasmus+ programme and its opportunities, Youthpass process and 8 key competences.
We started with a world cafe workshop, where participants were divided into 3 tables, each table exploring a different topic. The 1st topic was formal education, the second was non-formal education and the third was informal education. Participants had 7 minutes on each topic, together with the table leader, they discussed the topic, brainstormed and tried to discover all the characteristics of the topic. After 7 minutes they change the table and continue brainstorming on the other topic. In the end, every table leader presented the topic, summed up the topic and every participant contributed. Each team presented their original topic for the whole group. A short description of each topic was given to make the difference crystal clear.
After we explored the topic of types of education, we moved to Erasmus+ and its opportunities. For this workshop, we divided people into small groups to share their ideas or their experiences , and later on a flipchart we wrote the topics and we brainstormed. Two experienced leaders from Belgium and North Macedonia contributed to the topic with their previous experience and a small presentation on Erasmus. Later there was a space for participants to ask different questions about mobilities and programs, especially those interested in KA1 youth exchanges and study visits, as well as in ESC opportunities. For this purpose we invited 2 ESC volunteers from a local organization, where they will share in the next days their experience on being a volunteer in ESC programme.
Last but not least, we spared time to talk about Youthpass as a process, reflection, and 8 key competences. Going one by one, using the method of Octopus, we were going through competences and participants were brainstorming, more experienced participants were sharing their knowledge, and the facilitator from North Macedonia leading this workshop dived into detailed explanations and questions to reflect.
The second workshop of the afternoon was dedicated to the “My town Your town” Exhibition, where participants showed their picture they brought from their home, as part of the homework. So while doing the online exhibition, participants had to explain the idea and story behind the picture. Also, during the online exhibition, they showed a few photos that they took in Struga, which reminded them of their own town or culture. This was a very nice exhibition and sharing of different stories, while being creative. In the end, just before reflection, we did a secret friend game and secret killer game, just to involve participants to take care more about their friends, and to have fun.
At the end of the day, we had a daily reflection, where this time we got people in a group of 2, and they had to share with each other their thoughts on the day and reflect on the workshops, the programme, the group etc.
Day 3 - 24.10.2021
Day three was the most creative day we had, most of the participants would agree. We gave participants various opportunities to experiment with different forms of art to see what would be suitable for the online magazine. After the creative morning, we started the day with sketching. Basic drawing lessons were being held so that participants would gain the understanding that basic drawing schemes do not need much talent nor effort. The participants were taught how to easily draw characters by simply mixing different characteristics of the human face. After they all experimented and created their own character, their task was to find a partner and create dialog with another made up character. The interesting part was that everyone spoke their own language, so it ended up with funny conversations where, for example, divorce and the economy were simultaneously discussed.
Afterwards, a poetry session was held to teach the participants the basics of blackout poetry and how they could do it themselves. This was followed by a rapping session, the rapping session was held by Auban Pringle showing a bit of an introduction to the different types of rap, how rapping helps with variegating your vocabulary on a day-to-day basis, participants got the opportunity to make their own rap with help from a freestyle generator, some participants even had the courage to freestyle at the end of the rapping session. A painting session was held afterwards where participants had the opportunity to experiment with different types of painting with the extra help of a professional painter who was one of the participants that volunteered to walk around and help the others.
Participants were given a canvas; paint brushes; a cup with water; acrylic paint and paper to materialise their creative thoughts. We reassured them that perfection wasn’t the goal and just to try out painting as a creative outlet. Our accommodation was full of paintings which could serve as examples. After a brief warning about the acrylic paint not being removable from clothing, we all started our endeavour.
The last session being the origami session taught the participants the importance of direct and precise instructions. The reaction to the origami was with some participants meditative, and with some participants with frustration. But it was very evident that the social cohesion of the group definitely improved over the last 3 days.
Day 4 - 25.10.2021
Day four, time for educational and practical sessions that were crucial to the final product-the AYLY magazine. On day 4 we had two lovely guest speakers from Volunteers Centre Skopje and later, one journalist, who joined us and shared their knowledge and involvement in writing articles and creating content for a magazine. They explained the process of creating an online magazine and we talked about the important things that we should be focused on while creating it, such as the 5Ws and 1H rule, some aesthetic graphic design rules, how to find the right title for an article, etc. Later in the afternoon, we had a Q/A session with the experienced journalist, where we got to know the pros and cons of working on a tv show, hosting interviews and writing articles. Our last workshop of the day, to start generating ideas, was getting unrelated things from different magazines and getting them out of context by putting them all together. It was a very interesting and creative way to create new stories. After the working hours, we had an Intercultural night where every participant of the project shared some interesting facts about their country, culture and experiences. “It was really fun getting to know more about others through a presentation, quizzes, funny and educational videos, music, food and drinks.” said one participant, whose first time on an E+ project was this.
Day 5 - 26.10.2021
After some tiredness from the long lively cultural night from the previous day we had breakfast, gathered our lunch packs, packed ourselves into a bus and headed for the beautiful city of Ohrid. We had great recommendations from locals, maps and everything. We started all together but very soon people split off into their individual adventures, the main body of the group had coffee, hiked through an amphitheatre up to a fortification on a hill, down from the hill to a beautiful church by the lake Ohrid. From there we had a lovely 20 minute boat ride on the lake, seeing the whole city and the surrounding landscapes. After the boat trip people split into smaller groups, some to sightsee, some to just walk around, enjoy coffee, have some pizza.. After a long day of enjoying the atmosphere and ambiance of Ohrid we returned to our accommodation to rest up, enjoy a movie night and some light partying. We all individually and as a group got a lot of inspiration for the content for the magazine and received a deeper understanding of the local culture.
Day 6 - 27.10.2021
On the 6th day we started the work of putting together the online magazine. Firstly, we split into groups depending on the topic everyone took interest in. The topics were chosen freely and each participant had the opportunity to express themselves and contribute in a way they preferred. So, each participant found their comfortable place, their creative corner, and started working on the contents of the magazine. Some were writing, some were editing, some were taking and choosing pictures...After hours of researching and writing our ideas we had different articles about multiple topics. People wrote about exercise, tech/media, arts, satire, Erasmus+, poems, sustainability, cheap travel.
Day 7 - 28.10.2021
On day 7 the exhibition took place outside, as well as inside, of the restaurant of the accommodation. The photographs that participants took, regarding the theme “my town, your town” were exhibited in such a way that each guest could see and enjoy expressions of young souls presented in visual captions of moments, printed photographs. We also managed to include the paintings from our creative day and show even bigger amounts of creativity on canvas.
As by then, the magazine was ready for launching, we started working on the booklet Using the same effective way of splitting into groups by topics, each group wrote a short text that will be used in the booklet of AYLY 2021. We used Lucidpress, a paid for service for designing magazines as well as many other types of content. As we weren’t very familiar with the program to start with the beginning of the process was slow but as we got into the groove we managed to make changes as soon as the thought of the change arrived.
Day 8 - 29.10.2021
Another great trip on day 8. We had a tour to Vevchani. Everyone liked the awesome nature and enjoyed the peacefulness as a reward for the mind. There we got refreshed and gained more insights on completing the final touches of our writings. After that, everyone was motivated enough to do the, so called, river of life. Participants were drawing on their own, reflecting on their own lives, following the flow of their own events which make each person’s river of life unique. Those who felt comfortable shared their results with the others. Later, a reflection was done by the hand rule. Each participant identifies a reflection item based off prompts for each finger. Thumb: something that went well, pointer: something they learned, middle: a challenge or difficulty, ring: something they loved, pinky: small thing they’ll remember.
By the end of the day, the magazine was launched.
Day 9 - 30.10.2021
The last day before departure, as a first thing a project pizza was done. We made sure that one last reflection on the project as a whole was done, and everyone shared their opinions, comments and remarks. The day continued with enclosing each activity and game that was started at the very beginning of the project, such as Secret friend-revealing. After finalising the Youth Pass one last thing left was launching the Booklet. The Booklet was launched later that evening and the project was officially successfully finished. The participants enjoyed the chilling evening and took the time to say proper goodbyes.