Eleven young people from South Antrim have made lasting links with our European neighbours from France, Finland and Estonia, combining a visit to Estonia with learning about dance and performance, thanks to GROW funding.
The group of young people from across Antrim and Newtownabbey have just returned from Abja in southern Estonia, where they spent time at a workshop with other young Europeans.
After two flights, a ferry and a long bus journey, they were ready to meet the other groups and commence their activities. The theme of the workshops was dance, and the group had a packed schedule of workshops during the day, learning contemporary dance as well as enjoying a brief introduction to yoga. They also learned about performance, stage presence and the effectiveness of stage lighting and positioning.
The workshops are designed so that they groups get to know their rural European neighbours, interacting and getting involved in future rural development projects at home and away. The visit encourages young people from rural South Antrim to take a step outside of their comfort zone and look at the world from a different point of view and learn about their peers in other countries and what they like to enjoy and what they do.
In the evenings they immersed themselves in the local culture, sightseeing around the beautiful Estonian countryside. They visited Vilnius, Latvia where they visited the Baltic Way Monument and were given a warm welcome by the locals at an Estonian folk festival. As the workshop came to a close, the groups experienced the great outdoors, camping in beautiful countryside, toasting marshmallows and further strengthening their cross border alliances around the campfire and on the final night they recorded dance performances with their new friends from Finland, France and Estonia.
Grow will host the final workshop in the project at Greenmount College from August 4 to 8.
The Rural Youth Project is being run in partnership with Local Action Groups in France and Finland, and the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster. The project is funded by the NI Rural Development Programme 2007-2013.