Part one of the 4 Pillars 4 Youth+ Erasmus+ Project

Published on:

Alberto Madrassi, Youth representative for the Youth Advisory Board of the Julian Prealps Nature Park and EUROPARC Youth Council member shares his experience in Müritz National Park for the Project 4 Pillars 4 Youth+.

Four Days in Müritz National Park

Between the 11th and the 16th of March 2024, the educational centre Steinmühle of Müritz National Park (DE) hosted a four-day seminar that gathered 23 people from seven European Countries. The seminar was the first phase of a project called “4 Pillars 4 Youth+”, aimed at creating a digital interactive toolkit that will help the Youth+ mentors. The toolkit will cover each pillar of the Youth+ Programme (Nature Conservation, Leadership, Advocacy and Communication) with clear steps on how to set up activities and examples of activities that develop skills and competencies.

Arriving at a place in darkness always increases the curiosity of discovering what it looks like in daylight. Müritz National Park didn’t disappoint. The quiet lake, the majestic beech forest, and the noise of the many birds living in the area created a soothing atmosphere. I am convinced that this helped all the participants be in the perfect mindset to approach four days of workshops.

In general, this kind of schedule is associated with things one doesn’t particularly look forward to: a lot of presentations, sitting and stale air. This time, it wasn’t the case. The secret? Peer-to-peer learning, co-creation and cake breaks! Also, the weather played an important role because we were able to have a good balance of inside and outside sessions.

Then, all the participants were involved in the running of the seminar. Some ran a session due to their specific experience or knowledge, while others organised energisers. Each of the four days, the focus was on one of the pillars of the Youth+ programme. Not all Youth+ programmes are active in all four pillars; therefore, it was an opportunity to grow together and learn from each other. It was also beneficial for the project because it allowed us to harvest many good practices that will come in handy for creating the toolkit.

I liked witnessing that, during the breaks, people kept talking about what they do in their respective Protected Areas or organisations. There was a true desire to learn new things and hear about different projects. The Youth+ community is growing fast, and networking is a driving force.

The environment at the seminar was highly supportive, and I felt self-confident to the extent of being positively surprised by it. Until not so long ago, co-leading a workshop or speaking in front of an audience would have been unthinkable for me. The Youth+ programme is also this; it allows all of us to improve and shine.

This positive atmosphere helped to satisfactorily conclude the seminar. The work will continue through online meetings, and it will lead to the creation of the above-mentioned online toolkit later this year. Keep an eye out for future updates!

View the photo album here!

Alberto Madrassi running a role-playing session in Müritz National Park, photo credit: Anna Di Cecco