The Social-Health Campus “Youth Against Aggression” took place for the second consecutive year from July 2 to July 5, 2023, in Burgas, bringing together young people and youth workers from six Bulgarian cities: Stara Zagora, Dobrich, Pernik, Montana, Gabrovo, and Plovdiv.
On July 3, we opened the campus with a working session. It included various ice-breaking and team-building games that helped the youth bond and gain confidence within the group. The young participants engaged in activities such as “active listening,” encouraging them to perceive and convey information more effectively. The conducted power brainstorming session on the topic “Words that Hurt” directed our attention to the wounds that are not visible but leave lasting marks. The training concluded with group work, where each group aimed to identify five instances of aggression, five short-term solutions, and five long-term solutions to counter the issue. The facilitators of the working session were youth workers from the Youth International Center-Burgas.
In the afternoon of July 3, the group dedicated their time to an excursion to St. Anastasia Island, where the participants had the opportunity to enjoy nature and the maritime atmosphere. An on-site discussion briefly acquainted the guests with the island’s history and mystique. The participants delighted in the magical sunset, the beachfront, the “Assumption of the Virgin Mary” church, the lighthouse, and other emblematic attractions of the island. Additionally, each participant received a certificate as an “islander” and witnessed a wedding ritual.
On the second day of the program, the group visited the construction site of the future building of the Youth International Center-Burgas in the Meden Rudnik district. The project leader, Stanislav Mazhgulov, guided the group through the building, acquainting the guests with the vision, functionality of the premises, and progress achieved in the implementation. Various social and health programs that will be provided to the community were presented.
Later at the Sredets Municipality Children’s Complex, Director Marin Dimov introduced the participants to the activities and challenges associated with the realization and financing of such a complex in a small town with a declining population and young people who leave to seek a better future in larger cities. Youth and colleagues were impressed by the facilities and resources offered by the complex. After the discussion, they had free time, during which they had access to a pool table, dance hall, gaming consoles, foosball, musical instruments, drawing supplies, board games, fitness equipment, a dojo, a beach volleyball court, and much more.
The second edition of the Social-Health Campus “Youth Against Aggression” concluded with an evening program that included a screening of the short film “Where Are You?” by the young talents Gabriela Bozova, director and lead actress, and Greg Stilyanov, lead actor. Both personally introduced our audience to the film’s concept and the filming process. The musical program continued with impactful performances by Maria Petkova (vocals and ukulele), a student of the National School of Music “Prof. Pancho Vladigerov,” who performed original songs and covers of “Creep” and “Feeling Good.” As a finale, youth from Plovdiv and Dobrich took on the role of folk dance instructors.
The Social-Health Campus was a full and positive experience that left us with hope and confidence that empathy and emotional intelligence are the keys to a better future without aggression and with mutual understanding among us.
Project No. BGLD-2.001-0002 “Establishment of the Youth International Center Burgas” is implemented under the “Local Development, Poverty Reduction, and Enhanced Inclusion of Vulnerable Groups” program, funded by the EEA FM 2014-2021.