OUT IN THE OPEN
3-phases Training Program for Youth Workers
September – December 2019, Latvia
Out in the Open focuses on improving the social inclusion and active participation of LGBT+ youth in society by improving the competencies of youth workers in outdoor education.
The 3 phases training program, aimed to provide outdoor methods and tools to youth workers who work with young LGBT+ people – in order to become pioneers in the implementation of those tools in the field of social inclusion and in the search of LGBT+ young people’s empowerment.
Outdoors is a tool that brings people together, regardless of their background. Learning through outdoor experience is a powerful stimulus that places us in unique settings where we are often quite unsure of ourselves. We are offered the opportunity to move beyond our comfort zone, build meaningful connections, face our issues and fears while fostering our physical and mental health, living a full-body experience.
Videos produced by participants during the Capacity Building Meeting
Follow the link to Resources to find them.
Video Interviews produced by the team during the Capacity Building Meeting
Follow the link to Resources to find them.
Articles written by participants
Follow the link to News page to find the articles.
Out in the Open Training course took place between 9th-15th September 2019, in rural Latvian countryside called Rites – the training site of Piedzivojuma Gars.
The training involved 21 youth workers from the 7 participating countries (Czech Republic, Italy, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Slovenia, Spain) with a diverse and enriching background when it comes to working with young LGBT+ people and with outdoor and experiential learning methods.
During the program, the inspiring Youth Workers:
Experienced firsthand the power of outdoor methodologies
Learned about the reality of LGBT+ youth work in the partner countries
Received practical skills in designing, and facilitating outdoor activities as tools for inclusion and empowerment of LGBT+ young people
Designed and delivered activities using outdoors with the topic in the “Dobeles Valsts ģimnāzija” gymnasium in Dobele, Latvia
Adapted outdoor learning to their own methods working with the target group
Created their action plan for the Local Action Phase
The 2nd phase of the project was the Local Action Phase, which took place between September and November 2019 in each participating country. During this phase, participants put in action their newly gained competences and experience by organizing and implementing activities in their local environments and within their target groups.
From discussion meetings that generated protests in a country, to street actions and workshops, to hiking moments, to city tours and to annual camps organization, these local actions had everything and a significant impact! Below, you can see the visual results of some of the organized activities by our youth workers.
In Estonia, what was meant to be a simple event of discussions and sharing of experiences about the project and the LGBT+ spectrum – due to negative backlash from the conservative coalition – escalated into a full-scale bigger movement with protests that activated a big part of the country itself and even got the attention of the country’s president.
Youth centers, organizations, collectives, and many individuals in Estonia came in support of the team, our partners and the youth center Tartu Noorsootoo Keskus, in the first event that took place in Tartu, on 1st of November 2019.
In Slovenia, the team integrated outdoor and experiential learning activities during the annual Queer Camp that is being organized by our partners, as well as during street actions that are taking place as part of their solidarity project All for Rainbow.
The focus of the camp has been the topic of self-care, while there was created an open and safe space for personal growth through cooperation in outdoor activities.
In Greece, the team organized a Hiking Adventure “Out in the Open” in Ymittos mountain in the Athens region, bringing together young people to enjoy a sunny Sunday and a picnic within a safe space.
The aim of the action was to combine tools and methods used in outdoor education with an awareness of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.
In Spain, one of the team members organized “Out in Granada” event, with students from high school and university, using tools and methods from the course, and generating discussions about the LGBT+ Spectrum.
CAPACITY BUILDING MEETING
The 3rd phase of the project was the Capacity Building Meeting, which took place between the 4th and 8th of December 2019, in Riga, Latvia. Our group of changemakers youth workers came back together, this time to evaluate and measure the results from the Local Action Phase.
During the 5 days event, we identified the impact of outdoor learning for the LGBT+ youth, defined and collected the methods used, and produced a series of videos showcasing the results of the project.
One of the major outcomes from the Meeting and the project itself, was the organization of the “Should I Come Out? International Conference about LGBT+ Spectrum, outdoor and experiential education”. The networking event took place at Kaņepes Kultūras centrs.
It brought together more than 60+ people, in an unforgettable one-day celebration and learning event. In the first panel of the event “Should Latvia come out?” we welcomed 4 guest speakers, who shared about the LGBT+ rights and reality in the country.
The most important outcomes are the feeling of being accepted and the belief that we can do everything if we are together!
– Greek National Team
The way out of closet
Somehow, this TC, wanted to invite you to think how complicated can be for some people ‘the way out of the closet’, and how important it is to have people to help you, listen to you and provide support to you in times that they can be tough. A parallel between risky activities and life-threatening situations and helping personal reflection when it is necessary in a world like a century that is evolving at giant paces.
– Marcel | Spain
One of the powerful tools for me was acknowledging concepts (the principles or ideas) in our society. Acknowledging that I have these concepts in my head, I had to think do I truly believe in these, do they support me in my value-based life and am I ready to take ownership of my own concepts. This activity helped me on a personal and professional level to go over the things that I’ve learned in early life.
– Estonia’s National Team
Adventurous exercises & meaningful discussions
We got an amazing chance to, explore the limits of our comfort zone, and, as well as, push the borders of it a little bit further using all our senses. Our learning journey brought us all together through deep Latvian forests, dusty country roads, tall trees, beautiful meadows, long nights (brightened up by the moon) and rainy days. Not only these days have been filled with very extreme amounts of fun and adventurous exercises, but we also had many meaningful discussions about existing experience in how do we work with LGBT+ topics, what are the pillars of outdoor and/or experimental learning and how can we combine them.
– Anastasija | Latvia
The project was organized in 2019 together with Piedzivojuma Gars organization and it was funded by Erasmus+ program and the Jaunatnes starptautisko programme agentura, the Latvian National Agency.
Partners: Asociace Dice (Czech Republic), Rõuge Noorsootöö Keskus (Estonia), Associazione Vagamondo (Italy), Solidarity Mission (Greece), Drustvo DIH (Slovenia), Ticket2Europe (Spain).
Disclaimer: The information and views set out in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.