Another confirmation of the ever growing importance of European Youth Capital titles at European level. Varna, as former finalist for 2015 and 2016, but a city which takes up the challenge for a third time too, had the ambition to plan a project called ‘Youth Capitals in Action’. They applied for a special strand within the Youth in Action Programme (4.6) they gathered a six-city-partnership and all this effort resulted in a positive result just at the end of the year.
‘Youth Capitals in Action’ will concentrate on the following topics and exchange trainings:
- Large Scale Event Management – the aim of this training is to build upon participants’ skills in the context of large scale event management within the frame of the European Youth Capital initiative; to develop their knowledge and application of management processes when working with youth target groups; to enable participants to apply principles of events management to a practical situation based on the individual experience of each team representing their event management expertise in organizing European Youth Capital initiatives. Some of the main topics and experiences to be presented and discussed are: event design and themes, human resources issues, financing and events, sponsorship and fundraising, marketing and communications, the role of information technologies, risk assessment and management, events law and administration, health and safety requirements, contingency planning, event operations and ethics, event coordination, team work and group performance, evaluation, feedback and local legacies.
- Funding & Fundraising – the main aim of this training is to provoke participants to effectively share their background and expertise in funding and fundraising to support their European Youth Capital initiative by summarizing best practices and successful stories on fundraising; to essentially outline important groundwork that must be accomplished before starting to look for funding; to learn about the action steps necessary for contacting, engaging and recognizing donors, managing fundraising events to support the Youth Capital initiative. Some of the main topics and experiences to be presented and discussed are: developing a fundraising strategy and mindset, drafting fundraising sales pitch, preparing a budget, managing emotions and dealing with rejection, identifying potential funding sources, raising funds and maintaining donor relationships, communication and presentation skills, managing meetings, drafting a funding proposal, organizing a fundraising event, recognizing donors.
- Partnership Building – this training focuses on analysing types and principles of partnership building necessary to organize a successful European Youth Capital initiative; how to bring together organizational capabilities and human resources in the form of skills, experiences and ideas to tackle common problems that are beyond the capacity of a single organization; which are the main types of partnerships to be developed in order to prepare and implement a European Youth Capital initiative. Main topics and experiences to be presented and discussed: principles of partnership – trust, mutuality, solidarity and accountability; types of partnerships to be developed – networks, coordination and collaboration; requirements of an effective partnership – roles and involvement of institutions, NGOs, business sector and local people; sources of conflicts in a partnership, how to address and reduce conflicts; joint management of activities.
- Volunteers Management – the main aim of this training is to identify the elements of the successful volunteer management within European Youth Capital initiatives, to provoke participants to assess their own volunteers’ management strengths and needs within each of the elements; to explore each element of the volunteers management cycle through a variety of activities and discussions; to create a common ground for sharing expertise and resources between participants in order to improve their volunteers management skills. Main topics and experiences to be presented and discussed: preparing volunteers’ needs analysis and profiles, recruiting and selecting volunteers; orientation and induction programmes for volunteers – training, mentoring and coaching, teaching by example, dealing with difficult volunteers; retention of volunteers – time, talents and tasks, volunteer-mentor matching process, effective communication, engagement and in-service trainings, recognition events; developing an action plan and administrating the process of volunteers management.
- Final Evaluation Meeting – the objective of this final meeting is to analyse and evaluate learning development and outcomes among participants. It will be focused on gathering information about how European Youth Capital initiatives reflect the local youth policy development; what are the outcomes of becoming a Youth Capital of Europe and underlined best practices in preparing EYC initiative; how the present project has supported the process of preparing and/or evaluating own EYC initiative; effectiveness of the project management processes; participants’ satisfaction with the project’s results; changes during the project in objectives, schedules and outcomes; lessons learned.
Each training and evaluation meeting will be attended by 38 participants, 15 of them will be representatives of the foreign associated partners, as follows: City of Turin – Youth Departments (Italy), SHARE Federation – Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Fondacao Bracara Augusta/ Municipality of Braga (Portugal), Community Enterprise of Thessaloniki Municipality – Thessaloniki European Youth capital 2014 (Greece), Municipality of Maribor – European Youth Capital 2013 (Slovenia). Trainings will also be attended by 23 participants from the Municipality of Varna, the Steering Committee of candidature of Varna EYC 2017 and representatives of the youth NGO sector in the city involved in the preparation process of the candidacy of Varna for EYC 2017.
This project represents another key moment in building the general working framework for the Network of European Youth Capitals as set in the meeting in Thessaloniki one month ago.