Germany // Youth Exchange “Back to the nature” in Ammerland, 2015

From 17th to 27th of August 2015 50 people from all over Europe came together in Ammerland for the international youth exchange “Back to the Nature” through the program ERASMUS+.

Here an insight view written by Corinna Claus.

“In the last week 42 young people between 15 and 25 years old and eight group leaders came together for the younth exchange “Back to the Nature” in Wiefelstede. Ten days young people from Norway, Luxemburg, Belarus, Macedonia, Georgia, Estonia and Germany on the Campsite Connefore, how the nature is being destroyed every day. At the same time they looked for solutions to change and improve the world. In discussions with local politicians they discovered, that the best is to start with yourself to be able to change also other people. With a concoius behaviour and a critical view in the supermarket shelfs you can change a lot. Where does our food come from? How are the animals reared? Why are they reared that way? All these are questions that the participants discussed in international groups. To experience how it really is they visited a local farm. There they could see how cows still can be reared outside on the field and without constant medication.

Besides numerous activities like fishing, swimming, climbing or biking the participants had the chance to talk about their expectations and fears towards the project. Together they made rules to be able to live together in an international community, so no misunderstanding would come up. For example one rule was, that everybody only talks in English. Like that, everyone can learn it and everybody would have the chance to improve themselves and to help others.

Of course it was difficult to remember 50 names. Thats why there were regular name games. For the top of having fun there were water games on the beach of the campsite, to stay cool during the hot temperatures.

Besides that the participants learned how to build up a tent and to work in a team. Besides that there was a workshop how you can repair your bike. The young people planted insect friendly plants and herbs and beensprout, that later was decorating the meals of everyone. On the end of the ten days the participants put themselves together in small groups to do short scenes on the topic of media: Which influence do computers and smartphones have on our life and our work.

Every evening another nationality had the chance to present themselves. During that time the young people presented their countries in a funny way, with traditional food, questions and dances.

All in one this exchange was an unforgettable und uncomparable project. Everyone grew on their tasks and on things that did not go so well, for example when we had a rain storm. After every hill there is a valley. In one night because of the storm the group tent broke down and we had to organize a new tent within few hours to be able to continue the workshops and the helpfullness of all participants to build up the new tent in the rain was unforgettable. Surprisingly most of the young people did not use their mobile phones during these ten days.

“Back to the Nature” was a project, that brought people out of their comfort zone and that made them think, how they can change their lifes, because sharing is caring.

Corinna Claus

This project was funded by the program ERASMUS+ through the German National Agency “Jugend für Europa”, Landkreis Ammerland and the municipality of Wiefelstede. A special thanks goes in the name to all our participants to our sponsors: Molkerei Ammerland, Buhl Outdoor and Sport Events GmbH/Forest4Fun, Youth Fire Fighters Wiefelstede and the farm Henning Heinen in Conneforde.