A moment during the youth project, August 2022.

M. (18 year old) participated in the Erasmus+ youth exchange in Ommen, the Netherlands! The exchange lasted for 12 days in August, and here you can read a bit more about her experience.

“This experience has genuinely been heartwarming in every sense and I am grateful that I started my youth exchange journey with this one. Going through this learning process with other amazing, talented, and pure people was one of the reasons I think this youth exchange was absolutely rewarding. From day one, I felt comfort and acceptance from everyone including the leaders, volunteers, participants and of course Luna (she’s an underrated cat).

Different topics concerning LGBTQIA+ activism were chosen and tackled each day with a set of activities that challenged our knowledge and skills. I specifically liked how the activities were structured throughout the 12 days in a way that we didn’t have to overwork ourselves.

We worked with different groups of people everyday depending on our shared interests and this not only gave me (and probably everyone else) new perspectives on the topics but also made it exciting as I got the chance to know the participants at a deeper level. I got to go out of my comfort zone and discover new interests like photography and acting as well. Otherwise, I really appreciated how they constantly checked-in on us throughout the day and always made sure that our voices were heard. They really managed to create an environment for us that fostered creativity, imagination, inclusion, and growth.

Personally, this was a perfect end to my summer even though I would argue that I was spoiled a little too much with all the hugs, love and new nicknames. But I definitely developed as a person particularly in terms of communicating with others, and being able to reflect and work on weaknesses as I managed to confront situations that old me would have run away from. Nevertheless, I would, without a doubt, go back to Olde Vechte if I had the opportunity to do so.”

A. (a 20-year-old) participated for 12 days in the Erasmus + youth exchange “Youth Activist Camp” in early August in Ommen, the Netherlands. Here is a short article about her experience.

“YOUth ACTivist Camp, or the Erasmus+ project in this format in general, was something completely new to me. I barely knew what that entailed and went into it with no expectations other than ‘an experience I will at least get something out of it’. So for everyone else in my seat: It is a very fun way to learn and meet people.

This particular project had a rather loose form of learning where the responsibility for what and how to learn was laid entirely on the participants, with only the theme of the day and individual tasks assigned in advance. We got to dance, paint, write, play games and theater, discuss, present, hold museums and go out on the streets but we also got a lot of time for rest, good socialising and self-reflection. I can’t put my finger on exactly what I learned in these 12 days but I came home with the memory of a safe place and the feeling of being rested, inspired and ready to dive into everyday life. I am extremely grateful to have been able to take part in this experience and really recommend taking the chance if the opportunity presents itself. The projects are aimed at people between 13 and 30 years old and if you are interested in knowing more, you are more than welcome to contact Brunnen.”

L. (an 18-year-old) participated for 12 days in the Erasmus + youth exchange “Youth Activist Camp” in early August in Ommen, the Netherlands. Here is a short article about his experience.

“In the Netherlands I learned so much about above all personal development and letting go of the control of what others think and think of me as a person! I found out that with some dedicated, creative people, you can create something amazing in just a few hours. Wonderful new found friendships and a ton of memories. In these 12 days I developed my own ability to open up to others with opinions, movements and feelings. A good memory I brought with me was when I and another danced at a concert in the city we lived in. It was quite fantastic to participate in such a project and definitely encourage others to participate in Erasmus + projects in the future!”

The last reflection on the #YouthActivistCamp youth exchange comes from Luka, our leader from Brunnen. He was the team leader for our Swedish group, and here you can read more about his experience

“This was my first time joining a youth project on the LGBTQIA+ topic and I found it very informative and useful for my future youth work. As one of the leaders of our HBTQBrunnen activity, sometimes I was a bit lost when I tried understanding the complexity of LGBTQIA+ terms. However, thanks to this youth exchange experience (and several discussions over the coffee in Brunnen later), I started developing the mindset that I do not necessarily have to understand all of its spectrum to do a good job as a youth leader, as long as I am willing to stay curious and learn. “Youth Activist Camp” helped me in understanding the potential of community organising, and it gave me some ideas on how to start a community in Brunnen. I also got inspired by the activities such as queer museum, zine making, and media creation, and I can see some of them implemented in our youth center as we are in need of new and meaningful learning activities. Most of all, I was impressed by the participation of the Swedish group, and I see them as great potential future leaders of youth activities in Jönköping, both with LGBTQAI+ young people and those who are not part of this colorful community.”