BEST 4 - Bulgarian Education Summer Training 4 - “The young entrepreneurs of today - active European citizens of tomorrow”
The Bulgarian Education Summer Training, or BEST, is a training for young workers with a non-formal education methods aiming to further develop their critical thinking towards different topics current for our days. ESN Bulgaria is very proud to have had this project granted for the fourth time, bringing youngsters together to experience each others cultures, and together trying to work for a better future for Europe. This project contributed to the personal development and self-empowerment of young people who participated in the whole process of the project and its implementation.
For the second time BEST was hosted in Uzana, Gabrovo, where the ESNers did not only work on the different issues, but also enjoyed and benefited from the beautiful Bulgarian nature. The period of the project was between September 5th and September 13th.
For the first time a record number of 42 participants took part in this project. 4 of them were from Bulgaria and the rest of the participants were from many various European countries such as Italy, Spain, France, Denmark, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Greece, Poland, Slovakia, Portugal, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Belgium, and UK. BEST 4 was led by two advanced trainers - the Serbian trainer Dejan Akanski and the Bulgarian one Alexander Yosifov. There were also three facilitators which participated and helped actively the experienced ones - the Bulgarian girls Yoana Marinova, Melis Idrizova and Stela Glushkova.
The main topics in the training were that of project management, event management, leadership and co-leadership, social inclusion, exclusion and volunteering. The methods of non-formal education used in BEST 4 consisted of speed dating, name games, ice-breakers, team-buildings, energizers, workshops, role plays, work in small groups, feedback, etc.
The participants learned more about the new programme Erasmus+ through an interactive presentation, and also about the structure of ESN. The program was complemented by intercultural nights, with special presentations of the participants’ countries, traditions, national dishes and celebrations, and also by an original city game in the city of Gabrovo which was called “Get lost in Gabrovo”. On the topic of social inclusion/exclusion, the participants visited the kids from the “Home for Children Deprived of Parental Care.” There they interacted with the kids and played an orientation game in the beautiful nature around the woods and the fields of Uzana. The project management session was very educational from the practical point of view. The participants had 24 hours to implement a real-life project that would have an impact on the local society of the city of Gabrovo. The idea was to create a team-working environment, competitive, and inspirational spirit amongst the participants. Other interesting topics that were tackled were the emotional intelligence, the SWOT analysis on how to write a business plan, and the situational leadership.
At the end of the project all participants got a special certificate for participation called “Youthpass,” which testifies their personal involvement in the training itself after a profound self-reflection after each day.
In conclusion, we can concur that BEST 4 was truly a remarkable experience. Not only because the participants learned valuable lessons, regarding all different topics, but also because the trainers got to know so many people with from different countries with different backgrounds. The cultural nights were fulfilling and fun; learning traditional dances, and tasting various, delicious cuisines. Having the privilege of playing with the children from the orphanage was another delightful part of the project experience; an experience that all of those who participated can hold close and take away with them. Hopefully, all participants had the BEST time at BEST, and hopefully we will get the amazing opportunity to do it again.