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  • Inclusion and Social Awareness
  • Erasmus+

Attenzione, Youth Workers in Action!

The volunteers from Agora Aveiro put themselves in the shoes of facilitators and participated in a Training Course in Italy, under the project “HOTSPOTS: Connecting European Suburbs through Smart Youth Work”

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes and 49 seconds

© Beatriz Lopes

With the growth of remote learning and widespread access to mobile networks, a new space emerges for facilitators, trainers, and youth workers to pick up their non-formal education tools and reach a target audience they previously couldn't reach. 

Times change, desires change, as Camões once said, and in youth work, this expression is not an exception, but a rule. Adapting the already widely used techniques for this new digital world brings a myriad of challenges. It was with this in mind that "HOTSPOTS: Connecting European Suburbs through Smart Youth Work" was born.

In a consortium of various European organizations, the project focused on empowering facilitators, trainers, and youth workers to face the new challenges brought about by smart tools. The main goal was to create a toolkit filled with activities and workshops created, tested, and refined for broad use by organizations worldwide.

How were these workshops tested? The answer is very simple, gather members from each association in the same place and put them in the shoes of a facilitator. Energize and experiment with the workshops created, sharing constructive feedback to ensure they are al dente!

And so it was, five volunteers from Agora Aveiro traveled to Passignano sul Trasimeno, Italy, from August 22nd to 29th, for a highly enriching Training Course. If you don't believe me, we have Bruno Oliveira, Beatriz Lopes, and Francisca Rodrigues with their testimonies:

Testimony from Bruno Oliveira:

"While I was expecting a serene holiday in Italy, I was possibly offered the most intense week I've ever lived. Nutritious workshops for the mind, dedicated people, and conversations as sweet as honey made this an unparalleled experience. 

A huge thank you to Agora Aveiro for not only introducing me to this type of project but also convincing me to be a part of it. After all, circles of people sitting on the floor have much more to say."

Testimony from Beatriz Lopes:

"It was a first for me; I had never been involved in projects like this, but it certainly won't be the last. The program caught my attention from the beginning because of the topics that would be addressed during the activities - Communication, Sexuality, Gender, Violence, and Discrimination - these are heavy topics, but they are also subjects I enjoy discussing, especially with people from different countries and cultures. I arrived there with expectations that were met. From the program to accommodation, food, and the people I met there.

In the first few days, we had several lectures explaining the purpose of this training course and the plan of work for the rest of the week. This introduction helped me understand exactly what would happen, and I was able to ask all the questions I had.

During the week itself, I learned a lot. Every day, we were exposed to group dynamics where we had to organize ourselves, communicate, and test workshops. It was challenging, especially the first one, but with time and hard work, we prepared workshops and discussed the best/worst approaches from a multicultural perspective. After this week, the field of Youth Work opened up for me. I had considered volunteering/pursuing this area before, but now I am sure it's something I want to develop.

Being able to share the experience I had with other people was one of the best parts of the project. I met many people, heard many stories, a lot of different music, and this interaction was one of the most memorable parts for me. 

Participating in the project with four other people I already knew from Agora Aveiro was also reassuring, and not only did we strengthen our bonds, but we also now share this experience and memories."

Testimony from Francisca Rodrigues:

"Taking this training course was a completely new experience for me and pushed me out of my comfort zone, as I had never participated in an Erasmus+ experience before. I am very happy that I took the risk because I learned a lot during these days, from all the learning the workshops provided me to the interaction with completely unknown people with different cultures and backgrounds that taught me a lot and gave me an opportunity to practice my English. I am grateful for having had this opportunity and will cherish all the memories."

“HOTSPOTS: Connecting European Suburbs through Smart Youth Work” is organised by Lunaria in collaboration with Agora Aveiro. This project is supported by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission through Key-Action 2: Cooperation among Organisations and Institutions.

Nuno Brízida