Youth Civic Compass

Program: Active Citizens Program — Regional Fund financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through EEA funds
Project leader: Reflections on Europe
Grant value:
EUR 28 047,37
Duration: 31st of December 2021 – 30th of December 2022

Project summary:

The project “Youth Civic Compass” was financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway from the EEA Funds within the framework of the Active Citizens – Regional Fund Program by the Association of European Deliberations in cooperation with the Nansen Dialogue Centre from Croatia and the Municipality of Starachowice and the Starachowice Youth Council.

The project was created to respond to the needs of young people. Miał za zadanie aktywizować młodych, podnosić ich kompetencje społeczne i wiedzę w kluczowych dla przyszłości tematach oraz dać szansę na samorozwój i integrację ze społecznością lokalną, jednocześnie wzmacniając ich potencjał. As part of this project, we provided a number of activities and activities for young people in Starachowice

Project goals:

– Increasing youth activity

– Improving youth competence and knowledge on key topics

– Stimulating the desire for self-development and activities for the local community

– Developing soft skills of young people

– Discussing about popular topics among young people

Main activities:

Project progress:

Online meeting

We met online with our partners to work together to work out the objectives of the project and plan its implementation.

We presented our ideas, expectations and assumptions towards the Youth Civic Compass and also discussed some issues. In addition to project matters, the meeting was the first opportunity to get to know our partners from Croatia.

We agreed on the project’s pre-processing, what activities we are going to carry out and what topics the youth workshops will cover.

Obrazek posiada pusty atrybut alt; plik o nazwie 271800505_1888046098064865_4421418123299239382_n.jpg

Training for the Starachowice Youth City Council  (18 – 20 march 2022)

Throughout the weekend, the youngsters worked on shaping their own soft skills, bringing out their strengths. Building team integration and developing goals for the council’s activities were also important elements. Throughout the training, we focused on improving the council’s operations and youth cooperation. In addition, as part of the training, the City Youth Council worked on the statute and consulted with local authorities to develop a joint development strategy. On the first day, the youth were visited by the Deputy Mayor of Starachowice Mr. Marcin Golębiowski, who listened, advised and answered all questions. With this meeting, the youth had the opportunity to feel that their voice is important and also to share the problems that arise in their activities.

We also started working with an amazing coach – Damian Dec, who has been helping us so far to create a team, organize more events and organize our activities

This training was one of the turning points in the functioning of the YCC. From this training, the council began to plan unique activities for residents, while maintaining its youthful outlook on various issues and building a group of true friends. The youth learned that teamwork is the basis for achieving amazing goals. In addition to the practical skills they acquired, they also learned how to work out new activities together, sharing responsibilities according to each person’s talents and competencies. They created plans for future events in the city, and learned how to organize them. Thanks to this training, the work of the MRM has oriented itself and gotten on the right track, creating a path for future councilors.

Olga – past chairwoman of the YCC.

“This training allowed us to integrate, understand and cooperate like never before. There is incredible potential in each of us, which we now need to use well.”

Workshops for youth from Starachowice

1.Civil Education workshops

On April 12-13, 2022, a workshop was held for young people on civic education. The workshop was led by the amazing Kama Kepczynska-Kaleta.

It was two days full of finding unconventional solutions and learning through experience. Young people learned what mistakes to avoid in self-presentation by preparing a presentation in a group on a topic of their choice and then evaluating each other. The youngsters then had the opportunity to learn several techniques for conducting training and working with a group. They also focused on methods of project work and learned about various possibilities for maintaining energy in the group with the help of so-called energizers. Of course, there was no lack of time for discussions and an Oxford debate under the slogan “Is it better to stay in a small town or move to a bigger city?”. The entire training was conducted in multiple languages. Young people spoke in English during the training and additionally learned to sing songs in French and Ukrainian.

Of course, during the training there was no shortage of time for creative thinking and generating ideas for holding a Youth Civic Festival, which we will talk more about soon!

2. Workshops on intercultural education

For three days (April 20 – 21, 2022), young people from Starachowice schools took part in workshops on intercultural education led by Ivana Milas – a trainer from Nansen Dijalog Centar in Croatia. The youngsters spent two days talking about stereotypes, prejudices, diversity and what unites and what divides us, all in English.

The young people had the opportunity not only to develop their language skills, but also to test themselves in group tasks while getting out of their comfort zone. The training focused on learning through play and experiencing new things. The youngsters took on new social roles, built their own island, looked for definitions of self, culture and stereotypes, and played games like “Dugout” or “Who am I?”. All this to best understand the topic of multiculturalism and who we are in society. During the training there was no shortage of time to talk, get to know each other and spend time together.

Patryk Mielczarek

“The workshops on intercultural education were the beginning of my activities at the YCC. When I learned about the Youth Civic Compass project, I immediately knew that I wanted to take part in it. During the workshop, as well as the entire project, I learned a lot, and most importantly, I learned that it is worthwhile to act for the benefit of the city. The workshop helped me to break the language barrier, as well as learn about stereotypes and how to combat them. I am very happy that I started my adventure in this way.”

3. Ecology education workshops

Starachowice youth, on April 22 – 23, 2022, had the opportunity to take part in environmental education workshops led by Zofia Krajewska and Ryszard Kolasinski of the Youth Climate Strike.

Behind them were two days of hard work and a wealth of knowledge. The young people focused on planning an environmental campaign that they would present in the near future. An ecological competition for elementary schools was planned. The task of those taking part was to record a video promoting ecology. During the civic festival, which will be mentioned later in the post, the selection of the winning elementary school took place!

The young people worked in groups selected by their interests, then interviewed random Starachowice residents to finally present a plan for their campaign and distribute tasks among themselves. The training allowed the youth to develop their soft skills, giving them a chance to discuss and share their opinions about ecology in Starachowice. The youth themselves diagnosed the biggest ecological threats in the city, then prioritized them and chose the ones they thought were most important.

4. Media education workshop

The young people, on April 27 – 28, 2022, had the opportunity to take part in a workshop on media education led by Tomasz Gajewski – political scientist, doctor of humanities, assistant professor and deputy director of the Institute of International Relations and Public Policy.

Participants spent two days gaining useful knowledge and testing it in practice. The training focused on developing skills in the conscious and critical use of mass media and also in creating and broadcasting media messages. The youngsters discussed and looked for ways to effectively counter information manipulation and disinformation. Each participant had the opportunity to test themselves as an interviewer by gaining soft skills that will allow them to naturally stand in front of the camera or conduct interviews in the future. Youth had the opportunity to look critically at their skills and improve their weaknesses related to public speaking. As part of this training, the youth were tasked with interviewing Starachowice residents on topics of their choice. This also happened during our Civic Festival.

Youth Civic Festival

The long-awaited Youth Civic Festival took place on May 27, 2022. Starachowice youth, led by the Starachowice Youth City Council, have been preparing for the past months to organize this impressive event. The festival was held in the city’s Park of Culture.

Nearly 300 young people took part in the event organized by our Association in cooperation with the Park of Culture in Starachowice, and of course Youth City Council.

There was a lot going on – there were contests, inspiring lectures, workshops, interviews and performances by young artists. The event was very popular. Representatives of almost all schools, Starachowice citizens, seniors, and foreigners came.

During the festivities there was also a summary of the ecological action, which was carried out in our city in recent weeks. Ten Starachowice schools took part in the campaign. In the vote held during the festivities, the first place went to Elementary School No. 1, congratulations!

Young people had the opportunity to take part in inspiring lectures combined with civic workshops. Maria Dybcio talked about misinformation, Magdalena Bis talked about the mental health of young people and why it’s important to be active – Kama Kępczyńska-Kaleta.

In the meantime, participants were able to enjoy many activities. Our volunteers did face painting (and more! ), thanks to the School Complex No. 1 in Starachowice, it was possible to take advantage of the catering prepared, as well as take photos in our frames or participate in interviews carried out as part of the medical education workshop. During our event, young people could take part in contests and win interesting prizes. Using the Kahoot platform, we held contests on knowledge about Norway and the Starachowice Youth Council.

In between all that we just mentioned, the youth had the opportunity to get acquainted with the repertoire of local artists. The band Majstry, the band WhoCares?, FiFi and Young Iguana played for us.

Klaudia Chamera

“It was an amazing experience! I had a great time and learned a lot. There should definitely be more events like this in our city!”

During the festival, the participants of the workshop on media education recorded interviews with the residents of Starachowice, the results you can judge for yourself!

Study visit in Croatia

On November 2-6, a study visit to Croatia dedicated to youth policy took place, with the participation of representatives of the Youth Council of Starachowice City, the Association for the Deliberation of Europe and Deputy Mayor of Starachowice Marcin Golębiowski. The first day was dedicated to travel, so that while waiting for the bus to Osijek, the participants had the opportunity to visit the capital of Croatia – Zagreb. In the evening, after arriving in Osijek, the first meeting with project partners Nansen Dijalog Centar was held, during which the project, the visit program and a short energizer were discussed.

On the second day, the time of social activities began. Na samym początku nasi chorwaccy przyjaciele podzielili się z uczestnikami swoją wiedzą na temat wojny, która miała miejsce między Chorwacją a Serbią w latach 90-tych. Pozostałości po walkach doskonale widać w Vukovarze, małym miasteczku położonym na granicy obu krajów. Pierwsze spotkanie odbyło się w Vukovarze – z Youth Peace Group Danube, organizacją skupiającą się na promowaniu i wspieraniu działań młodzieży. Rozmawiano o języku chorwackim, a także polskim i innych – międzynarodowych. Uczestnicy mieli również okazję zobaczyć wieżę ciśnień w Vukovarze. Once an important landmark of the city, the water tower was severely damaged. In Vukovar, they also saw the beautiful murals incorporated into the residential area, which were created as part of the VUKOVART Street Art Festival.

They then moved on to the Social and Cultural Center in the village of Darda. They learned about the numerous NGOs and their projects and established partnerships for future joint projects.

The next day began with a very inspiring meeting with a representative of the “Breza” Association, which works for young people in Osijek. Among its goals is the proper preparation of young people for independent living. The meeting particularly inspired and motivated our young councilors. They talked about festivals, trainings and workshops and how to encourage young people to participate in these events. The next item was a conversation with representatives of the PRONI Center – Center for Social Education. It deals with social education and activities aimed at the local community.

The third day was equally intense. At the very beginning, our representatives met with the DKolektiv association and the Mladforma association, i.e. organizations dealing with refugees from Ukraine, among others. They talked extensively about the integration activities of foreigners into the local community. The organizations really had a lot of interesting ideas that the young people will use in Starachowice.

Another point turned out to be the highly original Museum of Personal Histories. Located there at first glance monotonously white boxes hide very interesting stories of Jews and Roma. Each box contains a plaque with a description of the person’s past, his souvenir and a description for that item

The final element of the day was a meeting in Seceran near the Hungarian border with the organizations: PLANTaža and Zeleni Osijek (dealing with ecology), the Bela Monastir Youth Council, the deputy mayor of Bela Monastir, and the PGDI organization, which runs a social cooperative that provides sheltered housing for youth.

Many things happened during this trip. Good and developing for all participants. Every activity and every meeting was some kind of contribution. There were many ideas, many solutions, many questions and suggestions. All the organizations that hosted our representatives rose to the occasion and gave them very valuable gifts, which were brought directly to Starachowice. Gifts in the form of motivation, an open mind and very awakened creativity.


The project had a significant impact on its participants. In retrospect, in addition to the significant improvement in youth policy and youth involvement in social activities in Starachowice, we also see the personal development of all those who took part in the project. We have an example of several people who, thanks to the training, workshops and all the activities carried out within the framework of this project, have grown incredibly, gained courage and became heavily involved in the youth politics of Starachowice. How the project and the various events affected the participants is best demonstrated by their statements:

Julia – participant of study visit in Croatia

“Many things happened during this trip. Things that were good and developing for all participants. Every activity and every meeting was a brick. What was created from these bricks? A solid foundation for completely new activities for the community of Starachowice. There were many ideas, many solutions, many questions and suggestions. All the organizations that hosted our representatives rose to the occasion and gave them very valuable gifts that went directly to Starachowice. Gifts in the form of motivation, an open mind and very awakened creativity. The purpose of this visit was undoubtedly achieved.”

Klaudia – participant of study visit in Croatia

“I remember the events in Croatia very well. The most memorable for me were the meetings with representatives of NGOs. Discussions and exchanges of views allowed me to draw inspiration for action. They inspired me with ideas for changes in our city. In addition, I had the opportunity to visit beautiful places and learn about their history. Amazing history lessons, interesting people and places will always remain in my memory.”

Olga – participant of study visit in Croatia

“The study visit to Osijek was very motivating. We had the opportunity to meet with many youth organizations and see how they function. What I liked most was the meeting with the BREZA Youth Labor Association. The presenter inspired us to take action and shared ideas for organizing more events in Starachowice. It was also nice to get to know the local Youth City Council. I really liked the schedule of our meetings and attractions. We had the opportunity to learn about local history, meet new people, but also talk about youth activities. I am very happy that I improved my English on the occasion.”

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