Europe's young people hold fast to the European dream
European Youth Exchange of the City of Detmold
"Water: European Right and Responsibility"
Nine European countries, 45 young people and the item "Water: European Right and Responsibility". This item "Water" was the common and connecting element that brought 45 young people from nine countries and their ten team leaders to Detmold. In a week full of information, workshops, discussions and joint ventures, they learned about the flow of water from the source to the tap, about the Water Framework Directive, they discussed the differences in their home countries, talked about political influence on access to water and possible difficulties for the EU and the world if it is not granted to all people.
The young Europeans came from all twin towns and districts of Detmold and Lippe and took part in a colourful Erasmus+ youth meeting organized by the city of Detmold and co-financed by the EU. In their home countries they had already dealt intensively with local water conditions, with the ecological footprint left behind by all consumer goods. Together, the young people reflected in Detmold about how to contribute actively to the preservation of water quality and what environmental contribution they can and have to make.
Martina Gurcke, Team Europe of the City of Detmold and organiser of the meeting, reports: "We had a meeting of engaged young people who are committed to Europe, who are aware of their responsibility for the future and the environment, and they really intend to shape it actively. I am enthusiastic about their political interest, responsibility and prudence in planning their lives and how willing they are to play an active role in their countries".
Nikolaos, a Greek participant from Detmold's twin town Oraiokastro, was elected deputy mayor after his return to Greece and immediately announced that he wanted to organise an Erasmus+ youth meeting in his home country with his participants. And so town twinning goes into the next generation where young people see the importance of networks at the basis level. The young Europeans gave their hopes, wishes and visions of the future directly to Birgit Sippel, Member of the European Parliament, and thus experienced first-hand access to politics.
A week full of new impressions and new friendships will continue to unite the young people. The first reunions have already been planned. Then they had to say good-bye, there was again plenty of water, but this time in form of tears what really was a good sign for the success of the youth meeting!
Young Europeans present the results of the Youth Exchange in dancing form
"From Folk to Zumba - What moves Europe?"
This was the motto under which young Europeans met in Detmold in 2014. The 44 young people from Detmold and the partner cities of Detmold presented the results of the ten-day youth meeting on the market square: they surprised the market visitors with a flash mob.
"We move Europe": this was how Spyros Theodoulis from Oraiokastro summed up the results of the youth encounter. In workshops, the young people had worked out the opportunities opened up by the European Union and how the association of states determines everyday life; above all, they had practically addressed the question of "What moves Europe? Because: dance was in the foreground of this year's meeting. From the Sternpolka to the Sirtaki, the young people tried and rehearsed typical national folk dances and united the different dance styles to a flashmob - which they also successfully performed at the weekend at the Trachtenfest in Schwalenberg.
Not only traditional, but also modern dances were on the programme: last week the young dancers showed their skills in front of the WDR camera during a Zumba hour.
Youth Exchange 2014
"Typical prejudices could be overcome during our time together, with the exception that Italians and Greeks always come too late" said Michelle Gering, the team leader of the youth meeting, with a smile on her face. The deputy mayor Christ-Dore Richter welcomed the young people from Oraiokastro, St. Omer, Hasselt, Verona, Zeitz and Detmold to the final presentation in front of representatives of the city council. The Youth Exchange was a great opportunity to improve language skills, strengthen the European sense of community and exchange views on everyday life in the various home countries.
Above all, friendships were made. The participants were given the opportunity to do so not only during the dance rehearsals, but also during the varied supporting programme. The young people visited the Detmold Open Air Museum, went bowling or sat around the campfire in the evening. Nathalie Seiferth from Zeitz told enthusiastically: "From the German schools I only know this typical group formation, I did not experience that at all during the last days - we did everything together and that was great".
The positive group feeling and the good cooperation are also reflected in the jointly written song, which the young people presented on the occasion of the presentation of the results in the Detmold town hall. The Youth Exchange was made possible thanks to the support of the European Union through the "Youth in Action" programme.
If you are interested in further youth encounters, please contact the contact persons of the European team.