Find your inside – outside Dihovo, Bitola, N. Macedonia, 12. – 20. June 2021

Final Meeting of the Strategic Partnership Pro Dialogue
Final Meeting of the Strategic Partnership Pro Dialogue

Find your inside – outside Dihovo, Bitola, N. Macedonia, 12. – 20. June 2021

SFERA International, in collaboration with Youth Develop Denmark and Z.S. Stichting Learning by Outdoor and Experience, ran a training course in the village of Dihovo, Bitola, North Macedonia, from June 12 to June 20. The training was the first part of the project “Find your inside-outside,” which is a multi-mobility project consisting of one training course and two youth exchanges funded by the Erasmus Plus programme.

The main goal of this training course was to teach youth workers from partner organizations how to plan, organize, and run (outdoor) programs for personal development, team development, coaching of youth, and learning new skills and methods to improve physical and mental health. At the end of the training, the participants developed schedules for two youth exchanges, one in Denmark and one in the Czech Republic, that they will organize to put into practice everything that they learned during this training.

The trainers for this project were Gerrit Onstein and Katerina Popovska. Gerrit taught the participants how to develop both hard and soft skills and how to use the outdoor method to work with youth. Katerina taught the participants how to make schedules for youth exchanges and how to manage and organize youth exchanges using the non-formal method.

The training through the eyes of the participants

In this training, we had participants from Denmark, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Croatia, and North Macedonia. During these seven days, we had different kinds of activities, such as preparing for the bivouac, which was the main activity of this training course and was held on the fifth day. In this order, first of all, we had activities for team building in which we could connect as a team and gain trust, which was a really important part of this training course. Afterward, we started developing our hard skills, so we were learning how to make a fire without using the tools that we normally use for fire making instead we were using Magnesium Flint Firesteel, then they learned how to use rope for different purposes, how to navigate and use the tools for navigation like maps and a compass, and lastly how to build the bivouac. The bivouac was the result, and it showed the participants that all of the things that they were learning in the activities, including tools and outdoor methods, were successful, as they managed to do everything.

After the bivouac, for the last two days, all of the participants were divided into two groups. The training course gave the groups ideas and motivation as they planned for the youth exchanges in Denmark and the Czech Republic. They also gained new knowledge and skills from the course. According to this, we are expecting amazing youth exchanges in Denmark and the Czech Republic.

Personal Stories:

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege to be part of a training course called “Find your inside-outside.”

Find your inside and outside, these are the correct words, literally, because that is what happened.

Amazing experience I could say that it was one of the best projects on which I have ever been!

The first thing I want to say about the group is that it is a really important thing on the projects to have people with whom you work and learn, so I could say it was a deep connection, maybe not from the first moment because most of them were tired from the traveling, but yes, it was a deep connection from the second day. We had a morning routine to go swimming at the place called Kapenci, then we had the activities. That is the most important part for me because, through this activity, I learned a lot about myself.

Let me start by saying that, first, we had activities in which we learned how to make fire with fire sticks; second, we were learning how to use the compass and map for orientation; afterward, how to use the rope; and last, how to make the bivouac. With this activity, we developed our hard and soft skills. Between every activity, we had some interesting energizer connected with the activity, and after that, we would gather in a circle and discuss what we learned that day. Most of the time, the trainer would finish with some good quote or message, with which you would think deeply about it, ask yourself something, and of course motivate yourself more. The most beautiful day for me was when we were hiking and making the bivouac. After we prepared everything for the bivouac, we all enjoyed the nice conversation, food, fire, and starry sky.

Normally, after the end of the project, you have the so-called “post-project depression,” but this time it is not that scary because the other great and different thing about this project is that we will have the second part, a youth exchange, in which we will meet again, and besides that, we will have the opportunity to be trainers and pass all the knowledge that we gained to other participants, so I am looking forward to it.

~Evgenija Geramitchioska, participant from SFERA INTERNATIONAL