ZOOM Outdoor for Healthy Lives was a 10 day training course designed to train 24 young leaders from 6 European countries, into creating and managing camp programs for youngsters. The main activities took place between the 12th-23rd of June 2015 in Romania, near the city Gheorgheni, in the rural area Borzont.
The project is funded by European Union through Erasmus Plus program.
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This project was created as a response to a current problem: lack of sufficient youth workers trained in managing camp or outdoor programs for youngsters. These camp programs usually take place during school brakes and aim at developing the social, emotional and physical competences of children, adolescents and young adults, through non-formal education methods. They are an efficient alternative to traditional formal education which often fails to cover at least one category of these competences.
It is a well known fact that the transition from childhood to adulthood can be troublous due to the new social challenges the youngster has to face and to the numerous and different means of spending the leisure time. We strongly believe that by offering these camps or outdoor programs as an alternative, we can help participants avoid activities and contexts that can lead to unhealthy and/or risk behaviours, help them develop skills that contribute to their well being, forming qualitative relationships and entrepreneurial initiatives.
However, in order for these camps to reach their intended purpose, organizations must have leaders trained in using non-formal techniques that combine fun, recreation and learning. These leaders should be able to manage a camp program or outdoor programs, to promote it in order to attract participants and to deliver it, and in order for them to complete these tasks they must have a certain set of skills and competences well handled.

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The main objective of this project was to develop or improve these skills among the participants, in order for them to manage camps more professionally. We believe that these leaders are the business card of each organization and their skills, competences and preparation reflect directly on the services the organization offers.
Our project suggested a new and unique combination of methods and tools, which aims to develop physical, emotional, social, promotional and artistic/creational skills for its participants, equipping them, in the same time, with practical knowledge, information and tools for improving their work.
The novelty-innovation of this project is that it uses two major and different working methods-outdoor and media- and combines them harmoniously into a 10 day training course, with clear objectives, with an interesting and challenging timetable, with completely different and various techniques but which work together very nicely and efficiently in this context.

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The secondary and broader objective of this project targets the beneficiaries of our partners camp programs; children and adolescents coming from all environments, all cultures, social-economical statuses, religions, genders and backgrounds, which need to benefit from healthy, educative and productive leisure time activities.The problem with modern societies is that families get busier and busier, in their attempt to provide for the younger generations, leaving them often ignorant or neglectful to the developmental needs of their children. This phenomenon results is poor skills development among future generations and engagement in risk and unhealthy behaviours, due to unstructured and unsupervised leisure time. All partners organizations are well aware of these facts and therefore have been offering programs and camps that help youth find desirable alternatives for spending their time, for a few years.

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Specific objectives of Erasmus Plus Program -Youth aimed:
– improvement of skills and key competences of young people, including those with less opportunities , intercultural dialogue, social inclusion through learning mobility of those actively involved in youth work and youth organizations through strengthened links between youth field and labour market;
– fosters quality improvements in youth work through enhanced cooperation between youth organization and other stakeholders
– enhance the international dimension of youth activities and the role of youth workers and organizations as support structures in complementarity with EU`s external action, in particular through the promotion of mobility and cooperation between organizations from Programme countries and Partner countries and international organizations and through targeted capacity building in Partner countries.
Program Priorities set:
– promoting young people`s social inclusion and well being
– promoting healthy behaviours, through the promotion of outdoor activities and healthy lifestyles to foster social inclusion and active participation of young people
– developing basic and transversal skills, such as entrepreneurship , digital skills and multilingualism in the field of youth using innovative and learner centred approaches
– enhancing ITC uptake in youth work and non formal learning

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The project was designed to cover two major working methods: outdoor and media.
1. The outdoor component offered participants content and tools for developing their own programs in the partner organizations. By understanding and practicing the achievement of these physical, emotional and social skills, participants were able to bring more quality, structure and diversity to their regular recreational camp programs or events, other projects that involve outdoor activities. By enhancing these skills our participants learnt how to use open space exercises and processes in order to build physical and mental strength, learnt how to manage their energy and emotions, how to overcome their limits, fears and inhibitions, how to be more structured, organized and disciplined. Nonetheless, a very important aspect of this component is the values it promotes and teaches the participants: honesty, equality of rights and chances, inclusion, fair play, compassion, empathy, care, tolerance and respect.
It is well known that nature has a calming and relaxing effect on people, and it is also recommended to read and learn in open spaces as it helps maintain focus longer and interiorize more information. For this fact we encouraged the development of non-formal learning events in outdoor contexts and we made sure that our participants understood this as well. The designed activities, the experience of the trainers, the quality of the training content and the open space context of the project offered the participants a set of healthy behaviours, attitudes and values to apply in the daily lives.
The outdoor component developed the following three categories of skills and competences:
– Physical: by practicing sports and physical activities in open spaces, understanding the importance of oxygen circuit through the body and learning to challenge muscle groups in a correct and healthy way.
-Emotional: by understanding that physical practice sets a series of chemical substances in our body, making us feel happy, satisfied, energized and more focused. By learning to use these positive emotions created through exercising, youngsters would become more and more motivated to engage into physical activity in order to feel better, be healthier and more productive.
-Social: by improving communication and expression, empathy, leadership skills, team-player roles, responsibility, respect, the sense of fair competition.

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2. The media component developed the following skills and competences:
– Technical skills: using specialized photo and video equipment, software for filming, cutting, editing and effects.
– Promoting and advertising skills such as: learning to use social media as a tool for promoting projects, programs and events, learning to use blogging portals and online mood boards in order to reach more potential beneficiaries and to increase the organizations visibility, learning to create promotional contents like posters, flyers, letters and spots.
– Creativity by challenging the participants to use their imagination and artistic sense/skills together with the technical skills mentioned above in order to create media contents. They improved their knowledge about colors, lights, shapes and proportions.
The media component focused more on developing practical skills that will be useful both for the partner organization and for each participant individually:
-the partner organization will benefit from trained leaders who will be able to promote their projects and programs in a more professional way, creating more impact among local communities and expanding their visibility. These leaders will also be equipped with training and coaching skills that will help them pass on the information and tools to the rest of the organizations members and to the participants they have in camps and other programs.
-the participants will benefit from developing new skills that can help them develop professionally. The media tools and techniques used in this training are so various that is it very probable for each participant to identify something they really enjoy doing and which they can use in developing a personal portfolio, CV or even set the base for their own start-up project. We always advise our volunteers, members and participants to take the information and know-how that we provide and use it in all the suitable life areas, and we expect that the skills we focus on in this section to be of use in many areas not covered by this project.

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Teambuilding Overview
Teambuilding activities are exercises that help teams build cohesion and work through common group issues.They are used as educational tools for a variety of individuals, groups, and organizations. In addition, teambuilding activities provide opportunities for participants to
combine individual talents and abilities with an awareness of the need to develop cooperation and trust within the group.
Teambuilding also provides participants with opportunities for self exploration and growth. As individuals push themselves beyond their comfort zones, they are able to grow and learn about themselves. Because everyone has a different level of comfort regarding emotional and physical challenges, each person is encouraged throughout the program to set their own challenge goals. At the end of each activity, participants are given the opportunity to reflect on their experiences and relate them to daily life. This reflection transforms the one-time experience of teambuilding into a method for bringing about long-term, positive changes.

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Here are the tutorials created by participants during this training, tutorials that can help you develop these kind of activities in your organizations, your programs, your camps, your indoor and outdoor encounters/projects

Human bridge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U07vi17Orw
Magic carpet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO69wqVvwXg
Low ropes( Holy herma): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJLFSWt3UMc
Blind squares: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s73DXJnhFrA
Birds on wire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPhvAoH9ke8

During the training, the participants interacted a lot with the local people, created 5 videos promoting the local host village – Borzont ( Harghita county) and prepared for them a public event – intercultural evening :

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Here are the promo videos create for promoting Borzont:

More media products created during this camp will be published in a multimedia book that will be released soon- as a dissemination tool of this project.

Partners: Mladinska Asocijacija IMKA Bitola- Macedonia, YMCA na Slovensku- Slovakia, Centrul pentru Cooperarea Tinerilor- Moldova, Jeugd en Maatschappij – Netherlands, Ognisko Zwiazku Mlodziezy Chrzescijanskiej Polska YMCA w Kurnedzu – Poland.