This event had it all; Numerous civil society organizations from all over Greece, a variety of events and happenings taking place, a great weather, and thousands of people and especially youngsters taking part in interactive activities, visiting stands, and being informed about actions, contributing to a good cause, and creating a big, strong, and empowered community!  What are we talking about? But of course, for the “Connected We Stand” Festival; a Festival embarrassing Volunteerism bringing together cultural, environmental, and social actions which was organized for the 4th year in Thessaloniki by IASIS NGO, CONNECT YOUR CITY, Municipality of Thessaloniki, X.A.N.TH., Infinity Greece, AddArt, Fabric Republic, ESN Thessaloniki, EPSYKA.

Our organization had the pleasure and honour not only to take part in the Festival, but also to bring 31 youngsters from 5 different countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, Greece, Serbia, Türkiye) to join it, and to implement an interactive workshop based on non-formal education. When we found out that during the same week that the Festival was about to take place, we would be implementing our Erasmus+ Youth Exchange project “Go Locally – Lead Globally” in Katerini, it didn’t take us more than 1 minute to decide to join it all together and give the opportunity to our participants to experience a Festival dedicated to volunteerism and civil society; after all, our project was all about Youth participation,  active citizenship and what Youth can do and/ or have the right to do in order to contribute to our society.

But the goal was not just to attend the Festival, it was also to present and promote our project, non-formal education and Erasmus+. And what was the best way to do so if not with the provision of an interactive workshop?! Our participants facilitated the Youthpass Islands; a ‘learning-by-doing’ team game to introduce Youthpass and the eight key competences for lifelong learning. The objective of the activity was to introduce Youthpass and its competences as a tool for self-assessment of the learning process having as an aim for each team to get their “YOUTHPASS-PORT” stamped, after visiting each island and fulfilling certain tasks related to each one of the 8 key competences. With this “learning-by-doing” activity we invited all citizens to discover the magical world of Erasmus+ and its opportunities, we shared our project results and experiences and motivated young people to join similar activities and become more actively involved in their local communities.

Participating in the festival gave us a great opportunity to

1) interact with the local community of Thessaloniki and with civil organizations from all around Greece

2) present our project and its results and become the project’s ambassadors; promote the project as a good practice example of inclusiveness and active youth participation,

3) promote the Erasmus+ programme and the Youthpass certificate,

4) promote non-formal education tools and methods by demonstrating and implementing a workshop based on non-formal education (the Youthpass Islands).

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