Vezirköprü Doğa ve Spor Tutkunları

Vezirköprü Doğa ve Spor Tutkunları was first built as an informal youth group 10 years ago.A group of young, approximately 10 individuals, people who are keen on environment, nature, outdoor and sports issues decided to form their group to being a pioneer movement in this field in the town. Due to the lack of a youth center in the town at times, the youth needed a leader for their activities and project ideas. Mr. Bülent ÇAM, a teacher of English and voluntary table-tennis coach became the leader of the group due to his experience in national and international projects.

We started to apply and implement local and regional projects and activities such as environment protection, sports tournaments, and outdoor activities. Having implemented the first national project about the use of bicycles for the protection of nature which was funded by the Turkish Ministry of Youth and Sports, the group got larger and needed to get a formal identity to maintain capacity building and internationalization.

After converting to an NGO, the organization has broadened its scope of activities, number of members, and impact in the local community, particularly the youngsters. Both the management staff and the members of the organization are unpaid and everybody works with a spirit of volunteerism. Today, the vision of the organization is to participate in transnational projects in order to broaden its network and gain an international identity to provide the opportunities of EU programs to its members.

What are the activities and experiences of the organization in the areas relevant to this project? What are the skills and/or expertise of key persons involved in this project?

The organization focuses on including the youngsters in the social community of the town by gaining their key competencies and soft skills related to their interests. The age range of the target group varies between 15 and 25. We are the only non-governmental organization in the town that deals with the needs and problems of the youth. As a rural area, our town is mainly disadvantaged in terms of education and training due to the lack of these types of institutions in the town.

Therefore, it is crucial for us to equip the youngsters with key competencies for their own future and their community. In order to meet their skills, we provide training such as developing communication skills, interpersonal and intercultural learning, and foreign language competencies. We also organize panel discussions to learn the expectations and needs of the youngsters’ such as occupation, democratic participation in their community, and establishing their family and individual development. Analyzing the needs and profiles of the youth is essential for establishing a peaceful, safe and tolerant society because we believe that they are going to sustain what they receive from the previous generation. And now, we focus on helping them at the international level and scope by participating in transnational projects to make use of good practices in EU countries.

The representative Bülent ÇAM is a teacher of English, a trainer, and a youth worker. He has coordinated and participated in different types of EU projects in the field of adult education, school education, and youth. He has attended several pieces of training organized by the National Agency about project preparation and implementation. In addition, he attended TCA for developing the skills of youth workers in order to foster the youth’s training and participation in the projects. Due to his occupation at school, he has ties with youth and is able to get in contact with diverse profiles easily. He has also relations with the town’s youth and sports directorate which lets him reach the youth and NEETs waiting for new skills.

The trainer and secondary contact person Rahmi GÜNİNDİ is also a teacher of English at a state school and the first person to coordinate an EU project within the town. He is affiliated with the Public Education Center which provides education initially to adults as well as youths. He has coordinated a project related to ‘Basic Developments of Adults’ and a youth exchange on ‘Preparation of Youngsters for Adulthood’. He has certificates and awards for successful project implementations.

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