On 31st January 2019, 7 young people from St Margaret College Senior School set of for their 2-day trial expedition as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award – Bronze Trail which is run by the Aġenzija Zgħażagħ youth workers in Kottonera. For the past three months they had to learn important skills like plotting a route, navigating with a map and camping. These skills were tested and used successfully during the trail walk.
Here is a glimpse of their experience – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diOPxOypbbM
The young people had to be self-sufficient during the hike. They walked form Cirkewwa along the coastline to Ghajn Tuffieha, camped there for the night and set off the next day over Gnejna, Bahrija to Mdina. Their objective was to observe nature and enjoy it. The youth experienced awesome views, the stunning countryside and even encounted the local wildlife by visiting the Ghadira Nature Reserve and observing birds and animals in a protected environment. After 2 days of perfect weather conditions the group arrived at Mdina, exhausted but happy, already talking about the qualifier walk which will be done in early May.
At the end of the walk, one could notice the air of satisfaction on the young people’s faces. Kewell stated “I really enjoyed the walk even though it was really tough.” Chris on the other hand cherished the planned route and commented that “It is nice to walk and observe nature. I have never been to this part of Malta.” Neil was only disappointed about the food selection. He expressed “I will only change the food menu. It was a great experience. Looking forward for the qualifier”. When meeting them on Monday morning, they were already making plans for the qualifier.
At the end of November 2018, 29 young people between the ages of 13 and 17 from 3 different countries came together for a multilateral youth exchange through the Erasmus + funding. After weeks of preparation by the Maltese youth from AZ@K, they welcomed their guests from the partner institutions in Ireland, Balleyfermont Youth Service and from Macedonia, Metamorphosis in the Youth Activity Centre in Marsaxlokk.
The theme of the youth exchange was sports. The young people through various workshops had to create a video clip, organizing a sports day and develop a social media awareness campaign. They actively explored the subject to become aware of the importance of sport in everyday life and for young people, while learning important skills during the interaction with each other.
Besides the workshops, the young people had various outdoor activities which included a trip to the Science Museum Esplora, an adventurous hike to Ghajn Tuffieha followed by camping, and adventurous sports like archery and abseiling the next day. To promote the concept of inclusion the youth practiced Paralympic sports which included wheelchair basketball and frame football.
After 6 days, the young people said goodbye and started their journey home with new friendships, skills and the awareness of the importance of sport in everyday life. All participants will receive their youthpass certificate. Though the exchange is over, the young people have taken on the commitment to promote the work they did in schools and their local youth centres. This will be done through the inspirational sports clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PatH2vt3szs&t=28s and posters created by the participants themselves.
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