Fun and friendship with visitors from across the seas was experienced in Rhondda Cynon Taf this summer thanks to the Council’s successful International Youth Exchange.
Organised by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Services For Young People, a group of ten young people from the County Borough joined two youth leaders to host their partner organisations from the Continent a trip to remember!
For two weeks the International Youth Exchange was based at Dare Valley Country Park in Aberdare and welcomed 30 young people from France, Germany, and Poland.
Throughout the visit their main objective was to complete a project, called “Creativity and Entrepreneurship”, which involved issues affecting young people across Europe.
Funded by the British Youth Council’s Education and Culture, Youth in Action Programme, the entire event was a huge success for all those involved.
One important aspect of the project was undertaken by working in partnership with Rhondda Golf Club who gave a huge amount of support and assistance throughout, culminating in a “Dragon’s Den“ style scenario, where each of the four Teams of enthusiastic young people pitched their business ideas for a Golf Youth Academy.
The “Dragons“ themselves included John Jermine (Chairman of Welsh Golfing Union), Colin Gardiner (Former winner of Rhonnda Businessman of the Year) Zoe Thacker (Golf Development Officer for South Wales), Gareth Hughes (Rhondda Golf Club Captain) and Wyn Hughes (Rhondda Golf Junior Leader).
The young people are an inspiration and they all worked hard at the many meetings, workshops and activities which took place over the course of the fortnight, including the intercultural aspect of the visit.
Another of the highlights was the opportunity to sample plenty of Welsh food, music and traditions and visiting places of interest such as the Museum of Welsh Life, Y Senedd and Barry Island along with a whole host of venues in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning Cllr Eudine Hanagan joined Rhondda Cynon Taf Mayor Cllr Sylvia Jones and visiting Mayors from all three countries during the visit.
Cllr Hanagan said: “The annual International Youth Exchange gives young people taking part the opportunity to learn about other countries’ cultures, customs and languages, both past and present. It also allows them to take part in a unique opportunity to learn more about each other, have fun and make new friends.
“This year is very special for us in Rhondda Cynon Taf as the event took place in our County Borough and I was able to witness first-hand how much of an absolute success it was. Our young people gave the warmest of welcomes to the European visitors and ensured they all had a wonderful time on their visit to Wales.”
For further information on international Exchanges, volunteering, or Conferences, please contact Service for Young People – Jan Watkins or Kerry Rees- on 01443 744000.