Successful week at the Youth Exchange!
Last week, NAC Breda hosted the EFDN’s ‘Breaking Barriers Through Football’ Youth Exchange in their home city of Breda, the Netherlands from the 26th May until the 1st June 2019. Coming from diverse backgrounds, the Youth Exchange brought together a group of young people from EFDN Members Bayer 04 Leverkusen (Germany), Fundação Benfica (Portugal), Mifalot (Israel) and NAC Breda, providing them with fun educational and cultural activities, workshops and discussions to support them in making a difference in their own lives, and in their local communities. Not only did the participants take home their Youth Pass Certificate, demonstrating the skills and competencies they learned throughout the week but also great memories and new friendships.
The first day saw the participants taking part in activities such as a ‘Human Bingo’ to get to know each other better in a fun way. This was the first step to creating a convivial environment and an understanding of the benefits of cultural diversity by asking questions, sharing their favourite hobbies, and find similarities no matter the social and cultural background. The NAC Breda staff members then organised a stadium tour at their Rat Verlegh Stadium, with the participants given a quiz to test their knowledge.
The second day started with a ‘two truths and a lie’ game, following up by an active ‘group energizer’ at the Katjes Kelder holiday park where everyone had to suggest a stretching or warm-up exercise, in preparation for playing football and swimming. The afternoon at the Polderevents was probably the highlight of the day where the participants took part in a variety of sports and teambuilding games in a healthy team competition. The purpose of these activities was of course to have fun but also to build bridges and make sure that everyone could work on their self-confidence, communication and cooperation skills.
Workshop & Blind/Walking Football
Wednesday kicked off with the participants debating one of the most current and relevant topics for the younger generation, ‘Digital Awareness’. The discussion touched on questions such as how often they use social media, could they live without it, why is it so important to them, what content do they post, and give their opinion on the advantages and inconveniences of the digital world they are living in. During that day, the participants also participated in non-formal learning activities including Walking Football and Blind Football. They could experience the difficult but not all impossible task of scoring a goal without being allowed to run or being able to see. The main objective of the activities being to raise awareness, fight stereotypes and increase the level of tolerance.
Breda Tour & Arcade Games
After a busy 3 days, the participants were able to enjoy some free time on Thursday where they were able to get lost in the small alleys of Breda City Centre. To emphasise cultural understanding, each evening was dedicated to a specific country and Thursday was the turn of the Dutch who prepared their native dish of pancakes for the other participants, followed by a presentation of their country’s culture.
The last day saw the group divided into small teams for a ‘Scavenger hunt’, providing a visit to the historic city from a different and fresh perspective. With the sun shining, the scavenger hunt took the group to the lovely parks, Breda harbour, and some of the most famous places in the city such as the Sint-Joostkapel chapel, the Koninklijke Militaire Academie (Royal Military Academy), or Grote Kerk (the tallest landmark in Breda with the church standing at 97 meters tall). After having lunch at the NAC stadium, the group had a blast playing bowling, darts, pool and a host of other arcade games together.
Coming from very different backgrounds, the participants of the EFDN Youth Exchange were united by the common interest in football making the exchange a fantastic opportunity to break down cultural barriers. Additionally, the exchange aims to give each of them valuable tools to enable them to actively make a difference in their own lives and in the lives of those in their local communities. We would like to thank all the participants and staff for their engagement throughout the whole week and the European Union Erasmus + programme for making this possible.