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de (18-12-2011)

This week was the first time that a group of high-school students here in Campia Turzii met to get together with me for the start of our newest project called Through A Lens.  For over a year, they’d wanted to have a photography club of sorts but hadn’t the resources or the guidance to go forward with it.  With the help of their school counselor, myself and the support of the Parent’s Association, we were able to assist these really excited students with their dream to have a unique afterschool program.  Youth in Action Europe approved our grant this month for 5200 Euro for materials to begin working with 15 interested teens here.  The following excerpt is an overview of the Youth in Action program here in Europe as published on their website:

Youth in Action is the EU Program for young people aged 15-28 (in some cases 13-30). It aims to inspire a sense of active citizenship, solidarity and tolerance among young Europeans and to involve them in shaping the Union’s future. Youth in Action is a program for all! It promotes mobility within and beyond the EU borders, non-formal learning and intercultural dialogue, and encourages the inclusion of all young people, regardless of their educational, social and cultural background.

Each week for six months, we’ll meet to go over various photo themes, practice English and presentation skills for the public, selecting the most interesting photos based upon quality, individual message and market appeal for tourism.  We plan in the springtime to hold an exhibition of their work along with a new calendar and postcards which we will be creating together.  As the developer of this digital photography/creative writing program I’ll be providing weekly resource materials, heading up and compile the lessons and Powerpoint presentations which include technical and creative skill set instruction and training up to four participating teachers on how to bring this kind of a course to their students in the future. The participants in the project will be taking photos of family, traditions, cultural events, everyday life and their own personal passions.

I can’t wait to see what progress the artistic dialogue and interactions between these students and the community will bring.  Not to mention what kind of photojournalistic tendencies all of them have. This first presentation was impressive in that I could see their confidence brimming through already.  So I look forward to working with them and getting to know what they see through their individual lens.  It’s a great team and they’ve got lots of promise.

I must thank the folks at Youth in Action Europe and of course our Parent Association President, Mrs. Iuliana Pop, and Vice President, Mrs. Corina Bozbici for all their enthusiasm and assistance in getting this project funded and off the ground.  It’s not something that I could do alone and as Peace Corps volunteer, it’s really nice to be able to partner with teachers and parents who care to do more and who will continue these methods and practices for the good of their young people later on.

So don’t discount our young people.  I won’t.  All around the world, there are thousands of them working on teams such as this on projects that vary from replanting trees in the forest to assisting with wellness programs in hospitals.  Whether it’s humanitarian or just interesting, today’s teens want to learn, create and manage ideas and activities which transcend the classroom.

These teens of ours here want to make something to be proud of in six months.  We’re all already proud of them for their desire, their humor and individuality and their energy.  And I know that the final product is not what’s the most important.  It’s the time we’ll all spend finding our connections to each other while learning by doing, week in and week out. A famous philosopher once said, “Young people are fitter to invent than to judge; fitter for execution than for counsel; and more fit for new projects than for settled business.
— Francis Bacon


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