The story of Camp SDG#13

From August 21 to 26 this year, as part of the Climate change leaders/Youth-led solutions project, we realized the SDG13 daily eco camp, supported by YMCA USA, which was attended by eleven 16-23 aged young enthusiasts from Bitola, interested in the environment, sustainable development and eco-activism.

The first three days of the camp were for providing inputs in the topic, learning and deepening knowledge about sustainable development goals with an emphasis on the 13th goal for climate change. The first day of the camp took place in the Youth Center in Bitola, while the next two days continued outdoors in the City Park which was unanimously chosen by all participants as a suitable place for learning about the environment through outdoor education. The activities each day lasted 3-4 hours with a combination of workshops and exercises.

We introduced the participants to the mission of the YMCA, they got to know each other, had the opportunity tо present independently all 17 goals of sustainable development and to learn about the circular economy through the HP Life courses. They were presented with examples of eco-activism, both in our country and from many places around the world, as well as the development of current environmental problems and proposing solutions for them. Tips for preserving nature through games and interesting outdoor activities were also discussed and suggested. The third day was specifically dedicated to air pollution, causes of pollution, steps taken to reduce it and what we as individuals can contribute to cleaner air. In addition to others, the topic of modes of transportation, their efficiency, economy and availability was raised here. Each working day ended with an evaluation of what was learned from the current day.

During the event, the European Mobility Week was announced and the possible activities that we as participants of this eco camp would take to share some of the knowledge with other children and youth in an interactive and fun way. It was decided that on the last day of the eco camp, a final event will be held, fully planned and implemented by all participants with their ideas and suggestions, of course with the full support of the YMCA team. The participants were divided into 3 teams, and the following day a meeting was held with each of the coordination teams where 15 ideas for outdoor activities were selected to announce and support Mobility Week.

On 26.08.2023 under the motto Learn. Share. Get involved. Get active the open event started in the City Park in Bitola with pre-prepared games for children, Jenga, slackline, a workshop for making pin badges, an improvised training ground for cyclists, educational games and the like. The goal was greater awareness of cycling, healthy lifestyle and environmental protection. The event was attended by a large number of young people from our city and we introduced many surprises for the best visitors – cyclists. We are happy that at the event we cooperated with corporate partner Alpsko, as a great supporter of organizations that support a healthy lifestyle. After two hours of activities with the children, we ended the event with a bicycle tour through the streets of Bitola with cyclists of all ages from our city, as a call for the installation of cycling lanes in order to make it easier and safer for the cyclists who are more and more numerous in our city.