YOUth IN ACTivism – the Camp. Latvian team experience.
Project Youth in Activism took part in Ommen, The Netherlands from the 25th of August until the 5th of September 2021. And we’re all grateful to the ‘’Active rainbow’’ and Olde Vechte organizations who made this event happen. It was a life-changing experience for all of us!
When signing up for this project I thought to myself that maybe it might be very similar to the other edition of this diverse learning program that I already once took part in. However, now I can really say that it’s the people that make a project, and even if the concept is the same or very similar, the outcome still will be completely different. I still learned so much new, especially when it comes to topics related to the LGBTQIA+ community (how are the situations in other countries, the progress there, etc.). I also love how creativity was always present – not only did I learn new facts, I also got to dance, loosen up, connect with my body, do street action as a performance, and do stuff like video making, which I very much enjoy.
If someone asked me what “safe space” means to me, this project was it! I truly can say that every single person from this project left an impact on me and became a family to me too. I think that we really supported and empowered each other. My personal journey continues here, but now I always have friends out there from Greece, Italy, Portugal, Bulgaria, Slovenia, and The Netherlands. LOVE IS LOVE!
When I first saw the information about this project and the opportunity to apply for it, I didn’t lose the feeling that I definitely have to try and that this is the place where I need to be. The inner feeling was right, because from the very beginning of the preparation process I got a really good impression of both the organizing team and the fact, that there is a beautiful journey with fantastic people ahead. I really appreciate that this project had such a versatile structure, because in 12 days we managed to experience many various activities, moreover each day was unique, very valuable and interesting. Living together, sharing meals and cooking, working in groups and individually, workshops, discussions, hiking, time in nature, physically active and calm tasks, dancing, creativity everywhere, exchanging experiences and information, the ability to self-organize and manage own time, and much, much, much more – that is just a small part of everything that was experienced. Every morning I woke up with the thought, that no matter what is waiting ahead, the day will be successful, moreover, even after all the sessions I felt that my second breath was released, so I could spend the evenings as long as possible with other participants, because well, I wanted to manage to do so much.
This project gave the freest, safest, and most unassuming environment I have ever experienced, what is more, there was a very positive atmosphere full of love, understanding, and support. We were participants from 7 different countries, so it was interesting to get to know better other cultures and share our experiences, and it is nice to know that now there are new friends elsewhere in Europe whom I can easily call a family.
The environment we created was very inspiring and encouraging, as exchanging experiences and gaining new knowledge helped to better understand different topics and change own view on things and values in life, and at any time there was a feeling that you are being heard, appreciated, and that there is always support around. As activists, we learned and improved our knowledge, and alongside a relatively large group of like-minded people who share common interests and goals, I made sure that we have a huge potential and that the path of growth and activism will definitely continue after the project. I will definitely remember this experience throughout my life, because it changed the way I look at different things, opened my eyes to the new possibilities and desires, as well as, really encouraged me to move towards my true interests in life, by giving up some worries, doubts, etc. Participation in the project was one of my best decisions over the last year, moreover, it had particularly strong energy and significance after a long period of silence and isolation due to the pandemic. That, how many positive emotions, smiles, and hugs I got to experience, as well as, spending time in a very useful way while being in a beautiful and pleasant environment near nature with amazing people, is an infinitely valuable experience.
I am very, very grateful for this project, the organizing team, volunteers, and participants for everything that has been experienced, and I am ready to continue working for the community, by engaging in activism, by sharing the knowledge and experience, and by encouraging others to take the advantage of such opportunities.
This was my first experience with Erasmus + projects and I got very lucky, that my first project was YiA. The day before departure from Rīga I was so nervous, I considered not getting on the plane, but now looking back I feel very shameful because this experience was one of the most life-changing ones for me.
During these two weeks, I met so many inspiring people, that have changed the way how I perceive things.
I was so lucky to experience so lovingly, heart-warming, and open environment, where I could easily open up to so many new people during camp I got to experience the Netherlands from so many new perspectives – we went hiking, biking, and walked around the city a lot. I fell in love with the Netherlands and I am definitely coming back as soon as I can! After the camp I still keep in touch with many of the participants – they have become like family to me and I discovered ‘’Active Rainbow’’, in which I participate currently.