The YES (Youth Empowerment Seminar) was back in person for the first time in 3 years! It took place around 65 km away from Berlin ⎼ in Werbellinsee, Germany. Not our first time there, and yet another wonderful one!
The volunteers arrived on the 25th of June to be able to turn the campsite into the YES camp in time for the arrival of the students on the 27th of June.The event reunited around 90 volunteers and 250 students from all around the world. In total, 32 countries were represented.
The volunteers were divided into sub-teams to make everything work smoothly. Each of those teams could be identified by the colors of their T-shirts:
- Black for the Core Team who actually planned the whole week,
- Orange for the Security Team ⎼ they made sure to keep everyone safe,
- Green for the Counselors, there to help students and volunteers if needed,
- Fuchsia for the IGLs (International Group Leaders), the ones who discuss the exchange and the process of going back home with the students,
- Turquoise for the Freestylers, helping around wherever necessary and taking care of all the other tasks that just need to be done during the YES,
- Purple for the Educational Team, who were running the sessions in one of the tracks following the theme of the event.
Claim Your Digital Space
This year’s theme was “Claim Your Digital Space”. All students had four tracks connected to the subject they could choose from: Social Life: Online vs Offline, Media & News Literacy, Future of Work & Education, Digital Arts & Creativity. We had also guest speakers joining us on-stage to show their point of view on the topics related to the matters discussed in the track sessions. Each day, everybody was meeting in the plenary sessions to reflect on what happened the day before and put on track the day to come.
Even if the main aim of the YES is to create an engaging and educational program, it is also a place to share experiences, memories and have some fun. This year, we had some “spirit activities” taking place all around the YES-site ⎼ such as volleyball tournament, karaoke-night, an art therapy session, a pub quiz and many more. All of those activities were organized by the Community Coordinators with the help of the Spirit Activity leaders (coming from different YES teams) to reunite both students and volunteers through fun activities during free time.
After the Talent Show and the final YES Party on the 1st of July, the students left the site with some touching goodbyes,and went back to their home countries, while the volunteers stayed one more day to dismantle the whole site before they split up to go back home again, already looking forward to the next YES.
As frequently said all along the week, “sharing is caring”. During the YES, participants and volunteers share everything: the meals together at the cafeteria, the beach to relax or play at, their opinions and feelings on so many different matters…