This story started on the 4th of July of 2016: a whole night at the airport, too nervous to sleep. “Share Your Colors” was the second part of a series of international exchanges about self-identity, LGTBQIA+ issues and social media. The first one was called “Active Rainbow”. They are financed by Erasmus+ program and supported by Olde Vechte Foundation. This exchange was improved by including social media and networks to get a global perspective of LGTBQIA+ phobia and raising awareness about diversity.

Both of the projects took part in Ommen, a little town in the east of the Netherlands. It was a bit cold, windy, small but also… magic. And the host organisation, the Dutch Olde Vechte Foundation gave to the participants the best accommodation we could imagine. There, we found the best place for 40 people, who were sharing and discovering themselves.

Everything started on the 5th of July, entering in a room all together. There, the adventure started. First, we had some starting activities, explanation of basic concepts and rules to know how to care about our people and house.
Our daily routine was long and hard. We had just some free time in the morning to get ready and then: work, work and work. All the workshops and activities were implemented by non-formal education, by giving to the participants the same responsibility to create and do as the facilitators did.

The most important characteristic of the project was the importance of the team work. This strategy was incredibly helpful for the participants. It made the process of creating fluid and equal for all of us. It also created a space to feel heard and valued while working and not vulnerable. There, we could share and build a project or presentation in fields that not all could know about, for example: media, production, filming, editing, digital technologies, publicity, etc.

The reflection groups tried to help the participants to reflect their feelings during the whole process. The groups helped on finding a way to keep learning day by day and creating their experience. It created a safe place to talk about all that can worry them. But in my experience, the groups also need the leaders to be involved and this not always happens. And this was the key to start writing our youthpass as a personal tool.

For me, all of that created a good feeling on me, because there was a lot of time and effort there to make it by ourselves. Not just to live the exchange as a work made by an organizer. I wanted to make “Share Your Colors” mine and let a part of me there too.

Now if I remember what I felt saying goodbye to Share Your Colors, I won’t hesítate. I want to take part of the next step and keep it up… I want to be there to be, to feel and to share my colors again.

Thanks to Cathy and to the Team for all the effort and to Olde Vechte for hosting these amazing projects.

Elena M. Gallardo
Participant of the Youth Exchange “Share your Colors”, Olde Vechte Foundation (Ommen, The Netherlands)

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