Erasmus+ KA2 Youth Project: OUTDOOR ACADEMY
Our Case Study
Over the last 19 months, five organizations from Poland, Italy, Greece, Germany and Romania have been working together to develop an Erasmus+ project ‘Outdoor Academy’. The main objective of the project was to create a long-term program of the outdoor education, in order to foster competencies within leadership, communication and project development.
The Outdoor Academy kicked off in February 2017 with a meeting of international experts at the foothills of the Polish Tatra mountains. There, we laid foundations for our international collaboration. Our team of experts, trainers and youth workers gathered together for a further two times over the course of the project, meeting in Italy in the summer 2017 and then again in Greece in July 2018 to review and finalize the project.
The Outdoor Academy has delivered three main outputs, which constitute a positive and innovative contribution to both local and international youth work. Firstly, our team of experts developed a 6-month outdoor education program, which will serve as a practical tool for educators and trainers working with different target groups of young people. This manual was tested for each country by the implementation of five pilot projects, delivered by experienced trainers and facilitators. Pilot courses are used to collect feedback on the applicability of the program in differing contexts and with a different number of involved participant.
The third and main output of the Outdoor Academy is a Handbook for trainers, the Outdoor Education: From Theory to Practice. This publication provides an overview of the theory of outdoor and experiential education alongside practical scenarios and activities that can be used by trainers in the youth field. It is the culmination of 19 months of knowledge exchange and interaction between our team of international experts, on the one hand, and the product of our assessment of the practical pilot projects, on the other. We believe that it will be useful for the development of their theoretical knowledge of outdoor and experiential education and to implement long-term educational projects of their own.
One of the many highlights of the Outdoor Academy project was its international scope. On the personal, professional and institutional levels, the project is a strong and lasting network between the trainers, experts and youth leaders involved. As this strategic partnership comes to an end, we reflect not only on what we achieved over the course of the last 19 months but also on the follow-up initiatives and projects that await.
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