Back to nature – here we go!

Back to nature – here we go!

Our work camp has finally started!


The groups from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary and Germany met last week in the sunny Walberberg with a very positive attitude. After a warm welcome, we spent the first afternoon getting to know each other and playing funny games. As the Jugendakademie Walberberg hosted the closing event of the Una Rock project on Saturday evening, we had the chance to enjoy a live concert.

On Sunday morning we discussed about the agenda and expectations, as well as the camp rules, whereas in the afternoon teambuilding activities helped the group understand how to work and collaborate together.

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The whole Monday was dedicated to different workshops, such as dealing with diversity, cooking and creative upcycling. The youngsters were divided in two small groups and, as a result, one of them prepared a delicious dinner, whereas the other created a very original Ewoca Twister out of an old bed sheet to play together in the evenings.

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On Tuesday the work in the garden began: the idea of this year was to build a bare foot path in the Jugendakademie. Together with the group we went through the whole process step by step, including how to share tasks, which shape to give the path and what kind of materials should be used to fill it. The afternoon was dedicated to workshops on consumption sustainability and human rights. In order to have a general idea of the surrounding area and nature, the group was involved in orienteering to find the nearby lake in the woods.


On Wednesday the group went to visit Cologne and discovered some nice places of the city center through a city rallye. Unfortunately the weather was not perfect to sightseeing, however everybody enjoyed the stay out!

The further we went with the realization of the foot path, the more interested youngsters were: Thursday was entirely dedicated on working in the garden and preparing the shape of the path. First of all the group had to take the trees from the neighboring area to use them as edges of the path. Only then they could start to cut them in smaller pieces to build a border on the sides.

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On Friday morning the group went on digging the ground and realizing little by little the shape of the path.


In the afternoon a workshop about coal exploitation took place, in order to make the youngsters aware of the problems and effects which derive from the exaggerated consume of coal. This workshop was particularly useful when it comes to our next excursion: the Hambach coal mine in NRW.



The second week started with a very interesting excursion to the huge open air mine in Hambach, used for lignite.

Here is some information taken from Wikipedia:

Begun in 1978, the mine’s operation area currently (as of 2011) has a size of 39 km², with the total area designated for mining having a size of 85 km². It is the deepest open pit mine with respect to sea level: the bottom of the pit is 299 metres (981 ft) below sea level, the deepest man-made point on the Earth’s surface.

With the help of a guide we explored the rests of one of the most ancient forests of the planet (12,000 years old), the Hambach forest, extremely reach in biodiversity and home to hundreds of species. Nowadays only 1/5 of it remains, as the rest has been destroyed by the exploitation of the coal mine.


The view of the mine is a nightmare, if you think that before the whole place was covered by green nature..


Back to the Jugendakademie, there was still work left for the following day: the path needed to be shaped a little more, but it was done quite quickly. Then, another important step took place: what kind of materials were to be used in order to fill in the path? The group sat all together and had very nice ideas for each section!

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Between working slots there were of course relaxing moments, such as an afternoon to the swimming pool and another to the climbing wall. Everybody really enjoyed!

So the time to finish the path has arrived! On the last two days we had an official presentation in front of the public and a couple of local newspapers came to write an article about it. Everybody was extremely satisfied of the work done. Here are some pictures:

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The last day has come: some more minutes to walk once again on the path, take the Youthpass and hug everybody. What a great experience!


All the best to everybody! Thank you all!


Trash treasure in Dubica

Trash treasure in Dubica

24.07 Departure from Cologne:

Today we learned for ourselves how complicated and slow travelling still can be in the Europe of 2016.


Our train did not arrive in Cologne at 17:45 as planned, our total delay at departure was already 4 1/2 hours. But in the end, we did reach Budapest. From IMG_20160725_111351there we continues on the bus, together with the group from Hungary. We arrived together on Monday, 25th of July at about 21:00. The Bosnian group welcomed us with open arms.

We start in Dubica

The next morning we already had to get up at about 08:00, because we had breakfast at a restaurant. After we ate, we were shown the youth centre, where we also got to know one another through games. Then, we were shown the city and the “Oasis”, where we later started out work. The city has several shops for drinks, clothes, games and supermarkets.

Hisilicon K3
Hisilicon K3

The next day, we then got to the “Oasis”. Previously the fallow land was full of trash. We are planning to make the area available for use within the next two weeks. Using mainly recycled building materials, we want to build an oasis.

IMG_20160729_112244For this, we formed four different groups, each with tasks to fulfill, e.g. collecting stones from a ruined house, cleaning stones, digging paths, and erecting tents. We finished before dinner. In the mean time, we could explore the city on our own, or generally enjoy our free time.

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Wood for the BBQ cabin is being prepared

One evening, we made a trip with the bus to Martin Brod, where we looked at the waterfalls.


In the following days, there was work at the Oasis, which we, again, did in groups, e.g. building a sandbox, which, in my opinion is much too small. Later we will erect a BBQ cabin and build furniture.


(By Max & Mavin)

Ewoca camp 2015 Gömörszölös

Ewoca camp 2015 Gömörszölös

After the arrival to Budapest and travelling to Gömörszölös, we enjoyed our project with the active contribution with the participants of 21 Hungarian, German and Bosnian youth (plus their group-leaders) aged between 16-21.


The project offered various a solution for economical and social problems with the means of sustainability and self-preservation education.  We offered work and learning by doing in a beautiful encouraging and safe environment, used every day the best possible.  Some needed more care (home-sick, alienation from group etc. ) and some needed more freedom/independence so we offered space for their contribution. Some of the Hungarian participants offered non-formal games themselves, so we gave them responsibility and they took over for the hole evening!!!

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The location of the programme in Hungary was Gömörszőlős, which is part of the “living village” network. The benefit of this eco-village is that in addition to the specific programmes, the participants had the chance of various “village experience” like horseback riding, field work, animal care, volunteering for the villagers, local walks in the untouched nature, music programs, sports, etc.

As told: learning by doing approach helped us to make toys, food, tools for agriculture, sustainable heating, and had the chance to test their personal soft skills engaging in social activities with the locals and selling their products on our self organised and advertised market.

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For this 2 weeks period we also had in mind not to have too much programs inside one location so we made two trips outside Gomorszolos. One to the near highlight of the region the longest cave in Hungary (and one of the longest in Europe) and a day program around the cave’s area. We invited the participants to taste the local cuisine (they will never forget the taste of Lángos i think…) and took a long walk inside and outside the cave. The second trip was organised as a reward too, as we finished the camp in a good way, after selling our products at the local market, so we went to a surprise beach trip to the local lake. To mention during the two weeks we had about 10 when the temperatures were over 30 and some over 35 degrees.


The local community (the kindergarten and the  Roma local garden, together with the TV channel of the region visited us and the participants helped to host them, and gave reports about their experience and played with the small children. To see the small children playing with the toys, we made was an emotional catharsis, the best reward of hard work.

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As the weather sometimes blocked outside activities and we had planned to do so, we also gave an introduction to the digital storytelling method and the online hate speech topic as an alternative topic to the sustainability-farming-öko one.


Each teamer hosted a small workshop on the European opportunities on EVS and other volunteering. I think we will see many of them taking part in this type of activities in the future! Also the career adviser/coach had many clients, who got useful and deep advices and assessmentDSC03239 DSC03327 DSC03505