Pictured at the WestEnd Youth Centre for a celebration of the youth exchange programme were Rebecca O’Brien, Jonna Malone, Leah Ryan, Jake Murphy, Orla Madden, Shane Stewart and Samantha Kiely. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick.
On Wednesday, November 2, the youths at the WestEnd Youth Centre in our Lady of Lourdes community received their YouthPass certificates for being involved in a youth exchange to Finland.
Joanna Malone, one of the co-ordinators for this exchange used her connections in Finland in order to organise a youth exchange with her cousin who also worked with young people in Finland in schools and youth work.
“We had entertained the idea in the past if we could do a youth exchange. We looked at how we could get the funding for it, Erasmus Plus European Commission provide funding exactly for that. We did our applications for funding, it was a huge amount of work but we got there and we got the funding,” Joanna said in her presentation during the ceremony.
Youthpass is a part of the European Commission’s strategy to foster the recognition of non-formal learning. It is available for projects funded by Erasmus Plus: Youth in Action (2014-2020) and Youth in Action (2007-2013) programmes.
A group of eight youths from Finland came to the WestEnd Youth Centre during the Easter holidays along with two leaders, one being Joanna’s cousin. They had rented a place over in Ballyneety where all the youths stayed there for a week. They participated in many activities including laser tagging.
Joanna said in her presentation that due to the trip being so successful, she wanted to see if it was possible to do it again and have the Irish youths come to Finland. They decided to go in the summer, made the application for funding from Erasmus Plus. Shortly after the Junior Cert and Leaving Cert exams finished, the group set off for Joensuu Airport in the East of Finland.
The Irish youth from WestEnd Youth Center camped in woods and learned how to cook food, set up their tents, start a campfire as well as participating in physical activities like canoeing, cycling, and going through obstacle courses. They visited the Whisper Youth Center in Joensuu that Joanna’s cousin is involved in and the children from WestEnd spoke out from the audience to say how much they enjoyed staying there.
Once the presentation was over, the certificates were given out to the youths from WestEnd Youth Center and a video was played to show the audience the activities that they participated in. The video brought back memories as the children reminisced about the trip and their families were very impressed with their experience.
To learn more about the YouthPass certificates click here.
Follow the WestEnd Youth Centre on Facebook here.
For more news about Youth Centre’s in Limerick from I love Limerick click here.