Day one started with name games and team building activities.
An introduction to the project was given along with the outline and timetable of the program for participants to understand what they will explore over the next days.
Participants outlined their expectations about the seminar and what they expected to give from themselves during the course of the seminar.
Working in groups, participants discussed the meaning of youth participation and imagined their ideal worlds.
The day ended with reflection and a NGO fair, giving space for participants to talk about their organisations.
On day two the participants learned what are grassroots, the definition of grassroots and were introduced to examples of environmental grassroots movements.
In small groups they did their own research of grassroots movements and introduced these to the group by creating small posters.
They also explored youth role in grassroots movements and learned of different methods of grassroots movements and discussed in groups how different methods are more successful than others based on their local realities. The participants were able to share a lot and learn from each other during the second day.
The day ended with reflection and an intercultural night with the participants sharing stories, food and culture from their countries.
During day three the seminar hosted two Irish guests that shared their stories with the participants: Malcolm Noonan from Green Party Ireland and former director of Friends of the Earth Ireland & Máire Ní Bhraonáin from Kilkenny Forest School :Sli na Coille. The guests shared their personal knowledge of grassroots movements, their involvement in these movements, how they got involved and answered questions from the participants.
Next to that, four participants shared their personal experiences and knowledge of grassroots movements in our Human Library session. It was great to see the four participants sharing their stories with the group and the participants also engaging with the human books. Just like books they were full of knowledge!
In the afternoon participants were free to explore the sights of Kilkenny City.
Participants learned on the fourth day, about youth leadership in environmental grassroots movements and explored what makes a good leader.
During the day they also learned about horizontal, flat and consensus decision making within movements and how these different types of decision making styles are used.
A session was given on how to design a grassroots movements and the different steps that could be used in different situations to create a grassroots movement.
In the afternoon the participants came together to design a local action that could be implemented on the last morning of the seminar within Kilkenny city that was connected to a local issue.
It was inspiring to see the participants using the knowledge gained over the last four days and coming together as a group to create an action and consensually make decisions between themselves on how to proceed with their plans.
On the morning of the last day the participants took part in their local action.
The action was to support and give attention to a local initiative called Keep Kilkenny Beautiful. The group split into teams and each had different responsibilities during the action. One team was responsible for promoting the action and the work of Keep Kilkenny Beautiful by talking to locals and distributing informational flyers about the action and local initiative. The other two teams took part in the cleaning action along the river banks and also helped to pull invasive plants that were effecting local biodiversity.
It was great to see all the participants working together and being passionate about the action and local initiative.
Afterwards the participants discussed the action, evaluated what worked and what could have been improved. It was a great way for participants to see a movement in action and have practical experience.
The participants reflected on the last five days by exploring and planning their next future steps and created a future action plan for the actions they will take once they are back home.
The afternoon ended with a group reflection and a farewell party.
Everyone was inspired by each other over the five days and we can’t wait to see how our participants use the knowledge gained during this seminar.
YEE aims to unite environmental youth non-profit organisations in Europe in order to enhance international cooperation, increase knowledge about nature, raise awareness of environmental problems and to strengthen participation of youth in environmental decision-making.