Everything you need to know about the EUSALP Youth Council team building weekend

Introduction word

The activities of the first EUSALP Youth Council are now well launched. After 4 online meetings in 1 month to prepare for the different missions that await the group, the 27 councillors were invited to the first EUSALP Youth Council team building.

Before leaving for Innsbruck, each member contacted the representatives of their region to arrange transportation. This was an opportunity to start the collaboration, which will last throughout their experience of citizen participation.

The event started on Friday at noon but the members of the youth.shaping.EUSALP team met at the beginning of the week to finalize the last details and to finally meet after one year without face to face meetings. We were also able to count on the professionalism and experience of the associazione EUFEMIA to facilitate and animate the event.

We are going to give you a short written summary of the weekend in this article. For those who prefer images to words, you can simply watch the aftermovie of the event, made by our media team APACHA specially mobilized to capture the best moments of this meeting as well as to make video content for our communication.

Friday, August 27th

Welcome to Innsbruck

Between 12:00 and 14:00 a first meal was offered at the Breakfast Club.

To start this weekend we had three objectives that we wanted to achieve in one activity:

  • To make the participants discover the city of Innsbruck
  • To make the members of the Youth Council meet each other
  • To introduce the theme of the weekend, which is the EUSALP

A great challenge for our organizing team that had to be creative. The solution was found with a scavenger hunt in the streets of Innsbruck. We separated the young councillors into 4 teams and made sure that each alpine language was represented in each group.

Then we gave them a roadmap with a map and 5 challenges:

While discovering their room at the Grilhof, the young people were amazed at the view on the Austrian mountains. The scavenger hunt and the trip were challenging and a well-deserved break allowed the young people to prepare for the more official part of the day.

The rest of the afternoon included a short quiz about EUSALP, a time of exchange with Sophia Kircher, vice president of the Tyrolean parliament, and the official picture of the first EUSALP Youth Council.

The meeting with Sophia Kircher was facilitated by Gianluca who allowed everyone to express themselves and make this meeting serious, dynamic and pleasant. We had defined 3 questions on which to exchange with Sophia Kircher, through the testimony of her experience as a young female politician.

  • Forms of youth participation / Have you had experiences in youth participation organizations or structures (youth parliaments, other organizations,…)? If yes, how did it work and how did you experience it? Did you feel like you were able to make a difference?
  • Expectations towards politics and understanding of your role as a representative of the youth/ What do you expect from politics, what should politics move and bring forward? How do you see your role as a representative of youth in the EUSALP, which is subject to such expectations?
  • Resources to advance your own points of view and interests/ How can you engage further? What resources and steps are needed, following our online modules – communication, outreach and lobbying?

We were lucky with the weather which let us take the official picture outside which is always better.

Saturday, August 28th

Dynamic wake up for a studious afternoon

A surprise awaited the participants who will rarely have the opportunity to live this type of experience again. Have you ever done bobsleigh in summer? The members of the EUSALP Youth Council can now say yes!

When we discovered the track and walked to the top we realized it was real. A pilot of the Austrian Bobsleigh team at the helm, 4 passengers packed like sardines at the back and off we went for a minute of excitement. Don’t worry, everyone was fine and we were awake for the day of work that awaited us.

In the afternoon the program was to work on the rules of procedure of the EUSALP Youth Council. A method of organization of this working time had been proposed to the youth by the facilitation team. But once this method was presented, some members of the group suggested another method that would allow the youth to be totally autonomous in the construction of this working time. During 3 hours the youth council members worked in total autonomy. One young person took notes on the computer, another moderated the discussions and the group started to write down the mission statement of the EUSALP Youth Council.

“The EUSALP Youth Council is an official body of the European Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) that aims at building bridges to enact youth-led change in the Alpine region…”

Everyone gave their opinion and little by little words, then a sentence, then a text came to fill the original blank document. This method worked to a certain extent because the group was too large to allow those who were less fluent in English to participate as actively as those who were more fluent.

The group became aware of this problem and decided to work in small groups. Thanks to this change in the organization of work, some of the councillors were able to become more actively involved in the creation of the EUSALP Youth Council rules of procedure.

The day was particularly productive and long, so a more festive moment was planned in the evening. The group had the opportunity to visit a typical Austrian restaurant in the center of Innsbruck. Considering the size of the desserts ordered, one can say that the day had required a lot of energy. Fortunately, the meal had given the group some strength and they decided to enjoy the nightlife of the city with an experienced local guide.

Sunday, August 29th

Preparing for what's next

The last day of this busy weekend was to allow the groups to continue to finalize the previous day’s work or to participate in workshops proposed by members of the EUSALP Youth Council. The councillors were invited to answer questions from our media team in order to produce a video in interview format. Finally, a time of reflection and evaluation of the weekend was planned to be able to evaluate the weekend and try to improve it during the next editions.

An activity was proposed by Ludovic Kasperki and allowed about ten young people to realize a fresco of the climate. As presented by Ludovic:

“The Climate Fresk aims at raising awareness and improves understanding about climate change. It is a ‘serious game’ highlighting and explaining causes and consequences of climate change, based on collective intelligence and creativity, whose content is based on IPCC reports. The content is suitable for novices as well as for starters. More than 180 000 people in France and worldwide experienced it, during public sessions but also and mainly in universities and schools, in associations, in companies and for elected representatives.”

Finally the moment of debriefing had arrived and the activity was really inspiring and motivating for the future. The young people were invited to choose 2 cards among the illustrations of the game called Dixit. Then each participant could explain his choice to the group. It was a very special moment because everyone was really sincere and attentive.

The time passed much too fast during these 3 days and each participant left with the desire to live this kind of experience again.

In the near future

So what's next?

There are now several deadlines for the EUSALP Youth Council members:

  • First of all, the finalized rules of procedure document had to be sent to the EUSALP Executive Board on September 15th. It is a first success for the Youth Council which will be able to present this document during the next EUSALP Executive Board, which will take place on October 6th in Grenoble. The 2 representatives of the Youth Council during this event will be Tadej Jezernik and Margot Pitel.
  • Then the members of the Youth Council organize themselves internally. For each country 1 person in charge of the communication must be designated. This will facilitate the internal and external communication of the group.
  • At the request of the Youth Council, a tth face-to-face meeting will be held in addition to the 4 annual meetings originally planned. It will probably be held in November.

The members of the EUSALP Youth Council are already often asked to participate in events and contribute to the work of the different partners in the Alpine region:

  • They were invited to participate in the meeting of the Action Group 4 on mobility, which took place in Nice last week.
  • On October 7th, 2 members will participate in the event of “city-mountains cooperation” organized by the agglomeration of Grenoble and the EUSALP French presidency.
  • A Youth Council member will present the work of the Youth Council at the event “Europe’s present and future: the contribution of young people to cross-border territories” in the framework of the European Week of Cities and Regions on 13th October.
  • In partnership with UNIMONT, the EUSALP Youth Council will contribute to the Dubai Universal Exhibition through the event Youth4Mountains.