• +40 724 000 351
  • contact@albaeglesia.org
  • Viscri 36, Brașov, România
RUBY 2024 Project – Activities and results

RUBY 2024 Project – Activities and results

 

The “Youth Exchange RUBY: Rural-UrBan Youth Connection” Project, acronym RUBY, that took place in Dicomano, Italy, ended on 15th of June, 2024. The project was funded within the Erasmus+ Programme, KA151-YOU – Accredited projects for youth mobility, in 2023, selected by the National Italian Agency for Youth.  

The consortium leader of the project was ICSE & Co – International Centre for Southern Europe – Italy. The partners of the project were: European Academy of Strategic Training and Business (EAST) from Croatia, Alba Eglesia Foundation – Fundația Alba Eglesia from Romania, Cēsu Novada Vecpiebalgas Apvienības Pārvalde from Latvia, and Asociación Rumbo A Europa from Spain.

The project has gathered 33 participants from the 5 partnering countries: Italy, Croatia, Romania, Spain and Latvia who participated in:

  • Workshops
  • Debates
  • Team building activities
  • Local trips
  • Energizers
  • Intercultural nights with cooking traditional food and dances.

 

Workshops 
There were 5 workshops conducted by each national group. The Italian Workshop was related to the trend of 0 km food, food that is produced in an ecological way, that doesn’t pollute too much and that travels less to get to their customers.

The second part of the worksop was dedicated to cooking a local food, “tortelli mugellani”, pasta with potatoes, cheese, garlic and parsley. The workshop showed the participants how the food sector can increase the sustainability in tourism and also provide a local experience for visitors and tourists.

The Croatian Workshop was related to the main challenges of mass tourism in Croatia, that affect in a negative way the environment and the local communities, especially in the most sought-after destinations like Dubrovnik, a UNESCO Site in the southeastern region of Croatia. The participants had to find solutions to overcome these challenges and to present them to their peers.

The Romanian Workshop was related to the effects of mass tourism in 2 UNESCO Sites in Romania, one rural site, Viscri and one urban site, Sighișoara. These are 2 important tourist destinations in the centre of the country and recently, have started dealing with mass tourism and a big flow of visitors and tourists.

The participants role played local stakeholders and tried to identify challenges of these 2 sites and potential solutions to overcome them.

The Spanish Workshop was related to the topic of making parties and celebrations more sustainable. Spain is one of the European countries that has a lot of parties and celebrations throughout the year that gather many visitors, tourists and local people and thus boost tourism in general.

Participants also had to select parties and celebrations across Europe on a map created by the Spanish group. The second part of the workshop was dedicated to finding potential solutions to make these parties and celebrations across Europe more sustainable.

The Latvian Workshop involved all of the participants in an alternative type of activity in which the young people had to write and draw, using an app called Gartic Phone, about the things they found interesting throughout the entire project and everyone had to guess those things.

This workshop also tested the attention and memory of the participants. It proved to be both a relaxing and an out-of-the-box learning experience for the youngsters.

Debates
The main debates of the project were related to finding solutions for a more sustainable tourism. As seen in the information highlighted by the coordinators, there is a continuous tension between the needs of the visitors and tourists and their contribution to the local economies and the needs of the local communities, environmental protection and availability of resources.

At the same time, the European Union is trying to balance between these 2 sides and also to transform tourism, making it a greener industry with the help of digitalization.

Some of the potential solutions identified by the participants at the youth exchange were:

  • adding more fees for visitors and tourists
  • promoting local products and local producers
  • establish new tourist itineraries with locations that are not crowded or usually exposed to the flow of tourists
  • organise new tourism activities and local experiences that would bring money to the local economy
  • increase the education level for craftsmen and people working in tourism that depend on the income provided by visitors and tourists
  • involve more stakeholders within the decision-making process
  • adding more regulations to be imposed upon tourism stakeholders, etc.

 

There was also a session of debates in which participants had to be more creative and come up with solutions. The session required participants to create a photo collage depicting a problem related to mass tourism and to provide a potential solution which could be illustrated through photos.

Team building activities
The team building activities were designed to make participants cooperate with each other and to learn how to handle various situations using the power of collective action.

Some of the most interesting team building activities were: describing the house of the participants using their native language and body language, while each participant had to draw the house; moving the blanket on which the participants were standing without using hands; hands game – where people had to form a circle while holding hands; cup stacking – building a pyramid of glasses using rubber and thread and without touching the glasses, etc.

Local trips
The participants at the youth exchange made local trips in the region of Mugello, the northern part of Tuscany. Young people went in groups as part of their role-play task as a tourism agency in the search for a sustainable trip for different types of clients: sports family, motorcycle enthusiasts, old couple celebrating golden wedding, women coming for a hen party, etc.

Each group visited specific places, such as Scarperia e San Piero, Pontassieve, Borgo San Lorenzo, Firenzuola, Sant’Agata, and many others. The participants had to film iconic landmarks of these places, provide information about these locations and present a final video to the representatives of the Mugello Tourist Office.

Energizers
Energizers consisted of fun and relaxing exercises with all of the participants before the beginning of project activities. During these energizers, participants had to perform a specific task or exercise. Some of the energizers entailed a competition between the young people while others were all about involving everyone and making everyone feel included and welcomed within the project.

“The Pistolero”, “Ninja”, “Chickens playing rock, paper, and scissors”, “This is a story of my little pony”, “Telephone Game”, “Hi, Ha, Hu”, were just a few of the energizers played by the young people at the youth exchange.

Intercultural nights
The RUBY Project also implied the organisation of 5 intercultural nights: Italian, Romanian, Croatian, Latvian and Spanish, where the 33 participants could know more about the culture of each partnering country within the project.

The participants from each national group cooked for the rest of the participants 1 traditional meal using the produce and ingredients brought by the coordinators. The cooking session was very interesting and challenging as participants had to cooperate together, prepare the food and deliver the meals for the rest of the young people. This session required participants to communicate very well their ideas and to understand the logistics behind preparing and serving meals.

Another important part of the intercultural nights was represented by music and traditional dances from each partnering country. After the end of each dinner, participants listened to music from the countries of the project and presented some of the moves from the traditional dances they know. The intercultural nights reminded the participants the importance of keeping culture and traditions alive as they define each generation and influence our perspectives on the world.

Project results 
By participating in this project, the young people:

  • Found out more about how some of Europe’s tourist destinations implement measures to make tourism more sustainable
  • Learned how to work and cooperate together despite their different personalities and perspectives
  • Developed an inclusive dialogue, based on ideas and solutions, regardless of the ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc. of each participant
  • Improved their communication and public speaking skills
  • Implemented green practices during the project activities and accommodation
  • Involved in local experiences and identified practices that can improve the sustainability of tourism
  • Presented insights from their country regarding mass tourism and measures taken there to diminish the negative effects of it
  • Learned about tourism in rural areas and the challenges faced by the rural communities that are tourist destinations
  • Understood the similarities and differences between youth from rural and urban areas and ways to connect youths from both areas.

 

By participating in this project, the partnering organisations:

  • Increased their capacity building skills in working with young people
  • Identified some of the most important needs of young people in terms of social interaction and cooperation
  • Developed their network of European partners
  • Gained international experience on project management, etc.

 

“Youth Exchange RUBY: Rural-UrBan Youth Connection” was also a great opportunity for the 33 participants to discover a different life perspective, outside day-to-day life, how personal decisions influence in a positive manner the overall society and to understand better how sustainability can become a larger part of our lives, especially when travelling.

Decisions we make can affect people and nature around us so it is important to be conscious about the things we do.

From recycling separately, choosing public transport and green travel, using local or at least products that can be found in one’s region, making use of public spaces in a respectful manner, reusing various materials, choosing products with a long life-span, adhering to rules emplaced by the local communities we visit, committing to visits sustainable itineraries, respecting nature to interacting with the local people to understanding diversity around us and accepting different perspectives, young people can contribute to improve sustainability and to reconsider the things we take for granted in the public spaces and in nature.

Apart from the project activities, the participants spent free time together, forged new friendships and created beautiful memories that will last in the years to come and will remember them of the golden days at the Youth Exchange RUBY in Italy.  

Our biggest thanks go to the project coordinator, ICSE & Co – International Centre for Southern Europe from Italy and to our partners: European Academy of Strategic Training and Business (EAST) from Croatia, Cēsu Novada Vecpiebalgas Apvienības Pārvalde from Latvia, and Asociación Rumbo A Europa from Spain.

We like to thank the participants from the Romanian Group for their involvement and professionalism and to the group leader, Elena Cautiș, for leading the group and demonstrating her leadership abilities.

Stay tuned for more photos of the project and future projects by liking and following our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/albaeglesia and our Instagram page – https://www.instagram.com/albaeglesia/.

If you have any questions regarding youth involvement and you are interested in knowing more about our organisation, do not hesitate to send us an email at contact@albaeglesia.org.

As our organisation continues to grow, we are looking forward to becoming partners in more European projects and thus allowing more young people from Romania to participate in our open calls and get selected to travel in Europe and to enrich their knowledge and experience.

 

DISCLAIMER 
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.