Mountain Running Championship in Poland – a GREAT MIXTURE OF YOUTH AND SPORT, 25-26 July 2015 – Międzygórze

During 21 days, Europejskie Forum Młodzieży hosted 33 volunteers from 12 different countries in the project YOUTH – Youngsters Originate Unique Team of Harmony, co-financed by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), in a frame of Action 1 (Large scale European Voluntary Service events) of ERASMUS+ Programme. Volunteers travelled from countries such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, Macedonia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Croatia, Ukraine, Turkey, Georgia, Romania and Austria. The main aim of this project was to help the Municipality of Bystrzyca Kłodzka and ULKS Sport Club “Bystrzyca Kłodzka” in the Organization of the XXIII Mountain Running Championship of Poland.

The first week included team building activities such as energizers, name games and workshops in groups about various topics including Erasmus +, EVS, breaking stereotypes, etc.. which I found very useful in terms of getting to know each other and get closer to those people with whom I would spend three weeks in the same building. Every day each country group was presenting their culture and sharing information and facts with the group. At the end of the week I felt that we were an entire group and were ready for future work.

Nana Mevlupishvili

Georgia

The second week was mostly spent on the mountain, preparing the running tracks, arranging the marks for the paths, getting to know the tracks and check points of each run as well as meeting the people from the Municipality with whom we were cooperating. Together we managed to have everything ready in time for the Championship to go ahead as planned.

First I have to tell you, that I wasn’t sure about the project because of the topic. Cleaning mountains and preparing running tracks doesn’t seem like too much fun. But actually it was. I enjoyed every single moment of the project.

Katerina Stehnova

Czech Republic

The two days went off without a hitch and the competition was most definitley a success. During the competition we had an information point where people could find out more about the voluntary service, EFM work, YOUTH project, amongst other useful information. We also provided activities for children with balloons and face painting.

During our three weeks there was always time for fun with parties, barbecues and various games. It was very interesting for me to talk with people from other countries and learn about their traditions and customs so different from mine.

Ana Ramos

Portugal

After finishing the competition it was time to clean the mountain and leave it  as well or even better than when we arrived on it. Despite some tiredness, teamwork and team spirit made this taskfly by and it was the final proof that the whole group was fully committed with the project. All volunteers and organizers also had a brief public meeting with the Mayor of Bystrzyca Klodzka in order to receive certificates of appreciation.

Besides learning about sport event organisation the project taught us new things about different cultures and people and improved my English language. We also had free time where we were able to explore Poland’s nature around our home. During one weekend I rented a bicycle and biked more than 200km, visiting about ten different cities and a lot of villages in Poland and Czech Republic, communicated with local people and enjoyed Poland.

Peteris

Latvia

21 days went in the blink of an eye and the entire group of volunteers returned home, hopefully a bit richer than when they arrived in Poland. It was a great experience with a lot of different challenges but in the end it was all a learning curve.

During the project, I learnt teamwork, communication, problem solving,  project planning, task management and also self confidence. It was a great way to gain experience in a new field and I became more open minded.

Merve Aydin

Turkey

It is common knowledge that being a volunteer is a noble choice. Nevertheless, a considerable number of people are reluctant to take part in something when there is no financial outcome. People have a tendency to overlook the fact that the pleasure gained from a voluntary act surpasses material enjoyment.  My personal experience might change the beliefs of some skeptics as far as voluntary work is concerned. Will we be capable of leaving our pragmatic needs behind and focus on willing actions? It remains to be seen.

Szondi Denis

Romania

In order for everything to go well, the first week was spent trying to integrate youngsters, allowing them to know each other, to exchange their cultures, thoughts and ideas. There was still a lot to do and it was important to create some strong bonds between us all. Polish lessons were provided so that the volunteers had the chance to learn the language but also to communicate better and integrate with the local community. Due to the fact that most of the activities took place on the mountain and that it was a sporting event, the first two days were spent training volunteers in First Aid .This way, volunteers were also prepared to help in case of the injury or accident of any participant or spectator of the competition, as well as of any volunteer.

We had the chance to enjoy the wonderful landscapes and mountains of Poland! I’d never seen forests like it!  Poland is beautiful! 🙂

Sara Cobos

Spain

During the weekend, the first morning of the championship was struck by a fast but heavy storm that made the paths a little slippery but still usable. Despite this, all volunteers were ready and on their post, supporting and encouraging the runners, providing them water whenever they needed and preventing them to run the wrong way.

In the end the whole project was a great success and  the objectives were accomplished. The volunteers had 3 fantastic weeks in Poland. Many friendships were made between young people all across Europe, as well as the volunteers from all around the world. It was a unique opportunity to meet people in such a beautiful part of Poland.

Aleksandar Jordanovski

Macedonia

Finally, the last days were spent preparing the final arrangements of the project, writing Youth Passes and Final Reports but also getting to know Poland a little better. The volunteers had the opportunity to see more of the Lower Silesia region as well as its mountains and hill tops thanks to some hiking.

Each and every open-minded person who claims that has a healthy lifestyle should take the `EVS pill` at least once during their lifetime as a testimony of their willingness to help. The phrase “There is no such thing as a free meal” needs to be scrapped. Remember not to talk the talk if you cannot walk the walk.

Szondi Denis

Romania

With so many different cultures you have to learn to be tolerant, patient and open minded. You have to be outside of your comfort zone.These experiences will enrich you personally and professionally.

Sara Santos

Portugal

In conclusion, I think this was an amazing learning experience which really helped me to get to know myself better and my place in the world. It also showed me that people all over the world are the same, with the same problems, dreams and aspirations and that an open heart and mind work wonders. I really hope that more and more people will experience this kind of thing and that it will help them and the people around them in their life.

Bruno Pavlovic

Croatia