The European Dream
Youth Conference


European Dream
Let's take the Future in our own Hands!

In the project week „European Dream“ students of the VBS-HAKIII Schoenborngasse discussed their hopes and dreams of the future of Europe together with other youngsters from Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Sweden, England and the Czech Republic.

The event took place from May 5-9, 2008 at the Kreisjugendheim Ernsthofen. Ernsthofen is a small idyllic village in the Odenwald. Our partner school, the Goethe-Gymnasiumin Bensheim an der Bergstraße, had invited us to this youth conference. Prof. Martina Hofer participated with two students from the Nicole Falschlehner 2BKA (2007/08) and Christian Nestler 2AKA (2007/08),

On May 5, after the welcome, the students carried out a number of activities, which helped them get to know each other. Furthermore, the conference organizers presented the agenda and invited the young people to exchange their mutual expectations. Later, the youngsters were informed about the techinique of scenario building, learned how to analyze decisive factors and how to design a framework for their visions of the Europe of the future.

The morning hours of May 6 were spent preparing scenarios in teams. First, the students acted out a number of open-air plays which aimed at giving them a new sense of togetherness. Cards were handed out to them, and on each card a special way of greeting was named. Those who had the same cards, had to find each other and then created their own group symbol. Finally, each group created its own "Europe 2020" scenario. Of course, each group had to find a place somewhere on the grounds of the Kreisjugendheim, so that each group could work independently and without disturbing the other groups.
The students spent the afternoon at the Kletterwald Darmstadt, and the day was finished with a first evaluation round.

On May 7 in the morning, a bus took the students to Heidelberg, where they had some free time to visit the city centre, and in the early afternoon met again and boarded a boat on the river Neckar. In Neckarsteinach they got off the boat and walked uphill to a small village called Dilsberg. The tour was strenuous but also a lot of fun. Dilsberg is rich in half timbered houses, and is even home to a chocolate manufactory. The studens also visited the church and the castle.
After having returned to the Kreisjugendheim Ernsthofen, they were all hungry, but after dinner they continued working and drafted a specification of their visions of “Europe 2020”. In the course of this work, they also analyzed some questions which still had to be solved.
On May 8 the conference was finished with the presentations of the various scenarios and with an evaluation.

The students enjoyed this conference very much, and they all felt sorry, when they finally had to say good bye to each other on May 9

© Dr. Susanne Pratscher and Mag. Martina Hofer

Invited by the Goethe-Gymnasium (Bensheim an der Bergstraße), two students (Marika and Georg Marx, 1BL) and one teacher (Prof. Brigitte Müller) could participate in the Youth Conference in Ernsthofen near Darmstadt in 2011/12. This year, the motto was "Let's take the Future in our own Hands!"
On Day 1 the participants arrived from Germany, Austria, Finnland, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Israel. In order to get to know each other, the young people played „Geo-Caching“: that was fun and it also helped them make friends quickly, as good team work was essential for this game.

The future workshop started on Day 2; the motto was „Riots of Europe’s Youth“. The participants could choose betweensix different workshops: Education, Democracy, Environment, Unemployment, Get Active und Human Rights.

v.l.n.r. Tale und Tina (Deutschland), Marika (Österreich),
Charlotte (Frankreich), Anna-Maaria (Finnland) und Justin (Deutschland)
In the so-called „Imagination Phase“ the youngsters could express their ideas in a piece of art. The focus was on creativity and vision - not on reality. Marika joined the Get Active group, Georg found new friens in the Unemployment group. Of course, each group could present their findings to the other groups at the end of this phase. Amazing pieces of art had been created.
In the evening, the organizers had a lot of fun at hand for the young participants, and soon everybody was tired. The night at the comfortable youth hostel brought recreation, which was essential, as the youngsters needed a lot of energy the next day.

They worked hard on the project during the morning hours of Day 3. It was not easy to draft realistic projects, which fitted their future visions of the day before. In the afternoon, all partiipants went on an excursion to Heidelberg.
First the students explored the city in the course of a "treasure hunt", then they strolled through the city center, visited the castle and had a lot of fun!

On Day 4 the students were invited to present their projects – to the other groups and also to journalists and photographers, who had come to Ernsthofen. That was very exciting for the youngsters. Now the young people are eager to implement some of their revolutionary ideas!
Before the young people finally had to say good bye, they spent a harmonious evening with a barbecue - and Georg could show the others, that he is also an expert in this field.

Finally Day 5 had come and all the participants went back home. Friendships across borders and even continents had been started and will hopefully grow in the future. Georg and Marika will get the possibility to implement their project ideas at our school, and - of course - their classmates will support them.

© OStR Mag. Dr. Susanne Pratscher and Marika Marx, 1BL (2011/12)


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