July 2022 was a busy month with the organization of the 3 summer camps of youth.shaping.EUSALP. After several summers of postponements and adaptations, we have succeeded in realizing these camps which complete our offer of youth participation within EUSALP. Indeed, our project offers different opportunities of citizen involvement for young people in the Alpine region. The summer camps aim to offer an international experience that informs the participants about macro regional strategies, such as EUSALP, and invites them to participate more actively in other participation schemes such as the Youth Council and the Pitch Your Project competition.
We have organized 3 camps in 3 different countries in order to give the opportunity to as many young people as possible to participate in our activities. The objective was to go to different places to allow local youth to participate and to discover local examples about the themes we were discussing during our camps.
We had 3 themes this summer and they were decided in collaboration with the members of the EUSALP Youth Council. They allowed us to define the program of the camps and to define the highlights of each camp with specific speakers or activities. To ensure the animation of the camps and the management of the groups we worked with the association called EUFEMIA. This association has a rich experience in European youth projects and in social and inclusive projects. This expertise was for us a great added value because it allows us to meet one of the main objectives of the summer camps, that of involving a public of young people who are attracted by a more informal participation. We can be really satisfied with the diversity of the participants’ profiles this summer.
The objective was also to introduce the EU strategy for the Alpine region to the young people and to tell them about the participation opportunities offered by youth.shaping.EUSALP but also by the European Commission, especially during the European Year of Youth 2022. For this we could count on the participation of representatives of the EUSALP youth council, young volunteers of the European solidarity corps, trainees of the house of Europe, members of interreg projects, members of the EUSALP action groups, representatives of alpine associations such as CIPRA or local elected officials. Thanks a lot to them for their participation and support!
Another objective was to inform the young participants about the opportunity to propose a project for the 2022 edition of Pitch your Project. We held brainstorming sessions to brainstorm project ideas for the competition. Some ideas are almost ready to apply to the competition on the form available on our website.
Obviously these summer camps were the opportunity to take advantage of all the summer activities that the Alpine region offers us to have fun and discover the Alps. You will surely be surprised by the diversity of the activities we did and here is a summary of the 3 camps:
In France on natural resources and climate change
We started the summer camps in France in a chalet in the middle of the Chartreuse mountain range. The theme of this first camp was climate change and natural resources. That’s why we wanted the group to stay in a chalet in autonomy in order to have a share of responsibility in the way they consume or by being more connected to the environment that surrounds them. Many activities were planned during these 5 days of camp. We started with a cohesion game that allowed the group to familiarize themselves with the theme of the camp while discovering the beautiful city of Chambéry. The group had 11 missions to accomplish in the city with a limited time, they could choose their strategy to achieve it. The next day, the young people had another challenge to take up in teams of 2. The hitchhiking challenge allowed them to tackle the issue of mobility in rural areas by having to reach the city center of Chambéry at about 20 km by hitchhiking. All the teams succeeded in reaching the meeting point before lunch and this experience inspired some young people to organize a hitchhiking event in the Alpine region. At noon we ate in a rather original restaurant because it is also a designer store. All the objects of this store are made from recycled materials. And the food is entirely vegetarian and delicious.
Throughout our stay we discovered magnificent natural spaces such as the cirque de saint-mememe, the lake of Bourget or the paths of the park of the chartreuse. We met people who work daily to preserve these places, the local heritage and the economic life of this mountainous region. The program of this summer camp had for objective to approach the question of the climate change and the natural resources from concrete examples and unique experiences. We organized a woodworking workshop with a woodturner named Peter Pan. There was also an evening of discussion with members of the association les skieurs du granier, about their organization that manages the resort on a volunteer basis during the winter. The last evening we shared a magical moment in the middle of the mountain with a mountain guide who is also a musician. All these meetings were sources of inspiration for the young participants and showed that everywhere people are acting to preserve our natural resources in the face of climate change.
In Italy on mobility
In 2022, the autonomous province of Bolzano and Trentino-Alto is in charge of the presidency of EUSALP. That’s why we chose this region for the Italian camp. We spent 5 days in Predazzo, in the Dolomites, in the hotel La Montanara. We were welcomed in the geological museum of Predazzo by an elected official of the municipality of Predazzo and members of the EUSALP action groups who presented us their work on climate change in the Alpine region. It was an opportunity to understand in more detail the concrete actions of the EUSALP. Other interventions fed this Italian summer camp, for example the presentation of the association Trans’dolomittes which wishes to rehabilitate a railway line through the dolomites. We also met the mayor of the city who had an exchange with the group about the participation of young people in public policy. Two young organizers of a Climathon in the Predazzo Valley also spoke about their project and the involvement of young people. Several activities allowed the group to discover the region while having fun. We cycled to the famous mountain equipment company La Sportiva and then we took the ski lifts to enjoy the cooler temperatures at altitude. An orientation game was held in the village and we had the chance to visit a factory producing energy from recycled wood. We enjoyed the nightlife of Predazzo, between a musical evening of the Alpine Choir and the town festival with stalls of associations and merchants on every corner.
The participants of the camp could learn about EUSALP thanks to the strategy game created by EUFEMIA and thanks to the workshops about the PYP 2022 competition and the EUSALP youth council. We had a great time meeting new people during the camp! Some pictures of the Italian camp.
In Germany on youth participation
The last camp of the summer took place in the beautiful Allgäu region of Germany, which spans the two Alpine regions within EUSALP which are Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. The group stayed in a spacious youth hostel in the town of Oberstdorf. The aim of the camp was to talk with other young people about commitment and the different opportunities for youth participation in their daily lives as young Alpines and Europeans.
Different activities allowed us to reflect on the power of action of each person and on the themes that each young person wishes to deepen after the camp.
We discussed this during a chat walk, during an exchange with the members of the EUSALP youth council, during a round table on the different opportunities of participation, during debates between the participants, during a meeting with a representative of the YPAC, during simulations of political assemblies or during the viewing of a film. We had the pleasure to receive the visit of Mrs. Sterflinger who represents the Bavarian state
A movie night was scheduled with the film Bigger than us, which presents the portraits of several young activists around the world. This film shows the capacity to act that everyone has when they find a cause to defend on a daily basis.
The group also took advantage of the tourist activities in the area. To begin with, we visited the Breitach Gorge, which allowed us to enjoy the cool water and shade. We also tried the summer sledge which was only a few minutes walk from the youth hostel. On the last evening we had a campfire to share a convivial moment around the fire, listen to music, dance and exchange stories.
This camp in Germany was the occasion to give a lot of motivation to all the participants on their desire to act daily for a vision of the society which corresponds to them.