European Youth Workers Camp took place In Storkow, Germany, at a beautiful campsite owned by YMCA Berlin. Thanks to the dedication of the planning team formed of leaders from CVJM Germany and leaders from international teams the camp was made possible after years of delay due to Covid. Another significant reason for which this camp was outstanding was bringing 64 young people from nine different countries together, including Ukraine and Russia, which was the first time for those participants to meet and talk since the war started in Ukraine.
It was an honor for YMCA Europe Roots for Peace to be part of this great camp. Alongside Tensing, photo and video skills workshop, canoeing, Best Camp Practices, Leadership Skills, and various other educational and sports activities, participants had a chance to join the Peacework project, offering various critical thinking, visual literacy, getting to know each other and deep connections activities- and cherry on the top- introductions to Do No Harm- the cornerstone of Roots for Peace.
The aim of the peacework workshop conducted in the camp was the following:
- Equipping participants with peacework methodologies and tools.
- Inspiring young people to believe in peace and understand the importance of peace work.
- Creating a safe space for sharing and listening.
- Helping participants cultivate deep connections through identifying connectors among each other. To accomplish this mission various activities were conducted during the plenary and the main sessions. The main components of the program were:
- Critical thinking- involves different visual literacy activities, types of modern communication, and the importance of asking and answering the right questions.
- Do No Harm – The Seven Steps of Do No Harm Programming with special emphasis on context analysis, connectors, and dividers and using them to construct DNH based projects.
After getting familiar with the approach and best practices from the Roots Peace Work Institute case studies and practices, participants proposed working on the case, analyzing the context behind one of the hottest topics of the 2020s, the Covid virus, and the discussion behind it, creating a list of connectors and dividers between conflict groups and how to use them to help them reconcile.
Importance of including Peacework in Youth projects.
Every day we encounter new challenges that require proper skills and strategies to handle them without doing any harm; therefore, equipping young people with peacework skills is foreseen to facilitate new levels of understanding and communication in Youth Projects. It is no surprise that participants who are inspired by great ideas have the potential to become young leaders and inspire generations after them.
Based on the participants’ feedback, peacework workshops were a new experience. As they mentioned, “practicing Peace Work is a brave action” as people are passive about talking about peacebuilding. Another topic that came up was new perspectives and approaches that are a perfect combination of practical skills and theoretical knowledge. It was pointed out that exercises are even “useful for psychological practices” which makes us proud of our legacy.
We would like to thank CVJM Germany and evey partner who made this camp possible and gave us an opportunity to be a part of it.
The program was created using Peacework Guidebook – Based on the YMCA Europe Roots for Peace Peace Work Institute case study and practices.