'Step-in' in kryoneri
- Seminar on Youth Exchanges

for multipliers from Martyr Communities of Greece

“Step-in” is a training seminar created and conducted by the Association Filoxenia that is based in Kryoneri Korinthias in Greece. It focuses on youth exchange and seeks to empower local multiplicators to conduct their own projects.

For whom?
The seminar has been tailored for multipliers from Martyr Communities of Greece.

But… what are Martyr Communities?
Martyr Communities in Greece are places and communities of suffering, sites that have suffered greatly from Nazi atrocities during the Nazi Occupation of Greece in WWII.

The seminar consists of two units. The first has been completed in Kryoneri (12-15 November 2015) and will finish with the second unit in Lechovo Florinas in Northern Greece (17-20 December 2015).

Up to now eleven persons from six Martyr Communities are participating in the seminar, seeking for ways to strengthen their communities’ civil society and to develop their own youth exchange projects.

PART I: Step-in in Kryoneri -the first step towards youth exchange for Martyr Communities

The NGO Filoxenia has great experience in youth exchange and volunteering programs, strengthening local civil society and bringing together people from Europe and around the world. Kryoneri, a picturesque village in Northern Peloponnese is home to the NGO, which exists since 1995. After Filoxenia's invitation in a study visit concerning Martyr Communities, organized by the German Foreign Office in December 2014 in Berlin and consecutive various meetings with representatives from Martyr Communities, Filoxenia decided to respond to the communities’ request and to offer the named seminar. For this cause Filoxenia planned the seminar, secured financing through the “German-Greek Funds for the Future” and compiled a seminar conduction group of three people with different backgrounds, to offer maximal insights and experience from around Europe.

Group discussion

Group discussion

As described the seminar consists of two units. The first focuses on the basics of a youth exchange project. How to organize an exchange, how to find resources to support the project, which priorities have to be set and what aims can be brought forward for a youth exchange program. Apart from the basics the seminar emphasizes on team-building activities, games and ways to bring young people together. The experiential character of the seminar allows theparticipants to experience ways of team-building and to discuss how those activities can be used in their communities. What has been especially challenging for Filoxenia’s Team is the age range of the group that ranged from 19 to 60 years-old participants. However, this barrier has been easily overcome.

Team building games

Team building games

The first part of the seminar has been completed successfully and it involved: enlivened learning through team-building activities, basics on youth-exchange, basics on financing exchange programs, as well as visits to local sites that function as attraction points for locals and foreigners. For a wholesome experience of a youth exchange the group came in contact with local people and products and has had an insight into different structures that strengthen the local society and local economy.


Experience and constructive criticism

According to the seminar evaluation that was conducted by the seminar participants and analyzed by the seminar leaders has provided great insights for the seminar and its improvement. The most important points are highlighted below.

  • The seminar provides a great base to build on for youth exchange.
  • The seminar conductors have communicated and transmitted the materials comprehensively.
  • The seminar should be longer (more time needed).
  • The seminar should have a “Part-Two” to deepen knowledge.
  • The seminar should be offered to more Martyr Communities.
  • More ways to find partners outside of Greece have to be analyzed.
  • More ways to find financing for youth exchange have to be discussed.

Following the constructive criticism of the participants, the trainers’ team will do its best to follow through in the second part of the seminar that takes place in the end of December 2015. Furthermore the trainers are discussing ways to develop this program in order to strengthen the traumatized communities and to empower their local society by empowering theirselves through know-how transfer.

Filoxenia’s Team

Filoxenia compiled a team of trainers for the seminar that consists of the following persons:

Hana Sebestova
Panos Poulos

Mrs Hana Sebestova, ΜΑ Arts teacher / Youth Worker /  Council of Europe's Human Rights Educator (Κryoneri Korinthias) is currently living in Corinth Greece and has studied Fine Arts & Music in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Hana has lived in multiple European countries and has conducted various international youth exchange programs over the last years.

Mr Panos Poulos, Dipl.-Pol., Youth Advisor, Project's coordinator (Κryoneri Korinthias) lives in Kryoneri and found back to his place of origin after studying in Berlin (Germany) to become a political scientist. Panos gained his first youth work experiences in Germany, returned to Greece in 1995 and is a founding member of Filoxenia. He accommodates over 20 years of youth work experience.

Mr Charalampos - Babis – Karpouchtsis MA.-Pol. (www.polisis.eu), Political Consultant (Berlin) is a Greek political scientist based in Berlin, Germany. Originally from Thessaloniki, Babis has lived in Greece, Germany and the UK and has been working as a group trainer and seminar conductor with a focus on Greek and German politics for the last three years.