Youth Power, CARE partner organization, in the period from 19 July to 2 August 2018, organized BMC summer program for young people. Young women and young men, who are members of the Be a Man Club Mostar, during the last days of July, despite high temperatures, were very active. They participated in the Summer Youth Program, which was aimed to provide an opportunity for young people to learn in a fun and participatory way, but also to immediately use the gained knowledge in practice.
In the first week of the summer program, young men and women were part of the workshop “How do I support my friends?”. As part of this workshop they discussed what friendship represented for them, when did they last talk with their friends and how they acted in situations when their friends needed help and support. Through the role play, they had a chance to see different approaches to solving problems that their friends faced with in their everyday lives. At the end of the workshop, they have reached conclusions together on the role of friends in their lives, the importance of friends, choosing and finding friends and how to recognize when someone is a good friend and what characteristics they see in themselves as a friend.
During the second week, the participants of the summer program were taught what the campaigns for young people were, what the integral part of one campaign was, and what steps should be taken in order for a campaign to be successful. Initially, through the brainstorming activity, they created their own definition of a campaign which they used later in the workshop. Through a series of games, they stimulated their brainstorms and then started to design a campaign on the occasion of the International Friendship Day, which was marked on 30 July.
The last week was full of activities. First, on Monday the participants implemented a smaller campaign on the streets of the city on the occasion of the International Friendship Day. It is important to mention that this campaign is the result of the work of the participants of the summer program and it represents their gained knowledge transformed into action. As part of the campaign, they stopped passers-by and asked them to write down on a piece of paper message what the friendship represented to them and what they would want to say to one of their friends. The whole campaign has been filmed and after the summer program, a promotional video will be prepared that will show you what these young people have achieved during the 20 days of their active engagement in learning and gaining practical knowledge.
This was followed by a prize for active work and efforts in the form of a one-day trip to the pool in Blagaj.
The last activity of the Summer Youth Program was held on Thursday, 2 August. Young women and men have shared their practical knowledge they gained during the previous activities with the focus groups in which they discussed the creation of a new regional campaign for the Be a Man Club.
In the end, all participants were given certificates for the successful completion of the summer program.
Elma Čomor and Amra Ćatić, members of the Be a Man Club Mostar, have transferred to us their experience from the summer program for young people in which they participated, and we talked about their past participation in the BMC workshops, activities and how they learned about this club.
Elma Čomor: “I found out about BMC in November when Tina and Ruža held a workshop at the American Corner. I went to a meeting and I liked it all, from the topics we discussed, pleasant people and relaxed conversation to some games that we played. I kept coming to the meetings and soon I met a lot of nice people and I blended in very well. Now I am even gladder because I know everyone and I am not embarrassed when speaking my mind, and meetings are more fun. In the meantime, I have become much more relaxed, I don’t feel uncomfortable talking in front of many people, I became more relaxed and I believe that it is easier for me to approach people in the street activities, but also I have learned a lot about both healthy habits promoted by the BMC and the leadership. I am glad to be a part of the BMC because first of all, it provides a healthy alternative to young people, good company and so to say “keeping them off the street” where they do not have good role models. At this summer program I was particularly pleased that we all had a good time and hanged out, but I am really glad that I have learned a lot about compassion, friendship, and mental health, and I have realized that I can actually help people who do not have a lot of self-confidence and it is difficult for them to cope in the society, and there are a lot of people like that today.”
Amra Ćatić: “First I heard of BMC from classmates who were members of the BMC, so I got interested because it provided the opportunity to meet new people, exchange experiences… Also, schoolmates talked about the activities that were implemented but also about trips with young people from other cities. After the presentation held by BMC members in my school, I decided to become a member of the same. Although there were some negative comments that circulated in my school, after going to the first meeting I realized that this was not true. Of course, it had a positive influence on me. First, I became more responsible and more engaged. I also met new people and thus made new friendships that I was very pleased with. Presence at the meetings enabled me to openly and safely express my opinion on topics about which I would have never talked about otherwise, but also about those which are the most common in our everyday lives. I feel a change in the way of communication and in the conversations with peers as well as professors. I believe that BMC fulfills its primary objective and that is to promote healthier lifestyles. Also, in the meetings and workshops, we talk about topics that are specific and quite common in our society, but also about those that we would never discuss at school. BMC also fulfills its goals in view of implementing street activities attended by a lot of young people and thus achieving that BMC and everything it promotes is heard of. In the summer program we talked about the importance of friendship and based on that we implemented a street activity on the occasion of the International Friendship Day where young people wrote messages to their friends, regardless where they lived. We also talked about the campaign, what it meant to us and whether we were members of the same. Generally, this was a very nice experience together with educational conversations.”
This activity is implemented within the project “Promoting healthier lifestyles among youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina by challenging gender stereotypes”. This project is supported by the Swiss Government and the OAK Foundation and implemented with the support of CARE International Balkans.