First time seeing the infopack for this project made me so excited and happy that someone had such an amazing idea, where the queers of Europe could come together and build a community. I had such high expectations of a full program of learning about the queer topics and bonding with like minded people. Experiencing the project was different though. I learnt that a community isn’t built just based on the fact that we have one thing in common – being gay. I realized that even though we came with the same purpose of learning and meeting other queer people doesn’t make us all automatically friends. The biggest outcome of the project for me would be accepting the fact that building a harmonious community is a lot of work and those who are able to have their own supportive community are in my eyes very lucky and I am very envious of them.
As my life motto says – “Every experience is a good experience” – I have learnt a little more about the queer community and queer topics, grown as a person who now knows how to deal with certain situations, I also bettered my soft skills and shared a few magical moments with some of my new friends. I am very grateful for Active rainbow and the Olde Vechte for enabling this kind of experience and always being supportive of the participants.
Ladislava (Laďka) – she/her
When I first found out about this project I wasn’t sure if it is the right decision for me. However I decided to apply and I must say that it was one of the best decisions in my life. The accommodation wasn’t luxurious but I don’t think that it is a bad thing necessarily. The shared rooms, the cleaning of the house and dishes, helped us bond with others.
I feel like it helped me to understand myself better. The program was very full, but everyone was really understanding and if we needed a break we received it. This was my first queer project and I honestly learned a lot about the community and all the struggles that its members face. But being in the Netherlands helped a lot. Because even in a small town like Ommen people were open minded and we had this beautiful example that showed that people are indeed capable of just being accepting.
I want to thank the organizers for making this possible and I hope to be part of a similar project in the
Klára – she/her
When I first saw the project it was a little nervous. I have never been on an Erasmus+ project and I haven’t do anything with activism. I wasn’t sure that it was the best idea but I still wanted to go and try it. I am telling you it was AWESOME. I made a lot of friends and I don’t even know how. Every one was so generous and friendly.
I learnt a lot and I am very grateful for that. I get to know more about the topic, the problems and how it is in other countries. The projects was helpful and fun. We had a lot in common but there were also a lot of differences between us. I also really liked where we lived. In a house with shared rooms. Close to the nature and river. The organizators always listened to us and give us some time if we needed it.
Filip – he/they
To YOUth ACTivist Camp I applied while sitting on a wall of Ljubljana castle with 2 members of Czech team on a project in Slovenia. Since that moment I knew I have to go there. When I got my confirmation mail I started screaming, that it’s really happening.
This project brought a lot into my life. New connections with people who support me and help me if I need it, new experiences with different kinds of activism which actually I’m obsessed with, new realisations, such as brand new pronouns and really feeling it. It was so hard! Learning so many things (not only) about myself. Sometimes I needed break and just to reconnect with myself. And we always got time to do that. My favourite activity to calm down was actually swimming in a river near Olde Vechte and walking around barefoot.
At the end, I think it was harder than I expected, but also way better than I expected and it was probably the best project I’ve been. And that’s because of all team members, Active Rainbow, Olde Vechte Foundation and its volunteers, participants of this project, our facilitator – Cathy and also our sending organisation – YOUnique. Thank you for opportunity to experience this.
Robin – they/them
YOUth ACTivist Camp was my first youth exchange and I am so glad I chose it as such. Since the topic was something so close to my heart it was easy for me to jump right into it and enjoy all the activities fully. I didn’t really know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. From the moment I arrived it was really apparent how engaged everyone is. It was really eye-opening and motivating to be in an environment of such interesting people who share a passion with you.
We had the opportunity to explore different types of activism, try out new things and through that listen to each other’s experience and learn peer-to-peer. I learned about many different issues affecting queer people all around Europe and had many insightful conversations that in many ways changed my life going forward. I also improved my soft skills and of course had lots of fun both during the organized activities and outside of them.
I really appreciate all the effort the organizers put into this project and I would love to take part in similar projects in the future.