On April 13 in the Erasmus+ project “Mobile Program For Youth Learners” (MoPYL) implemented by representatives of Krimulda ev.luth. congregation, a focus group discussion was organized, in which the participants – a teacher, a social worker, a non-formal education worker and manager, a volunteer in the social field and an expert in Christian values - discussed the results of survey about the values and role of teenagers in society conducted within the project. It should be recalled that the project develops a non-formal education curriculum for the development of youth leadership skills, and based on Christian values, or the fruits of the Holy Spirit, it is “brought to life” in the congregation`s Sunday school classes for teenagers.
At the beginning of the year, in all three member states of the project – Latvia, Romania and Spain, a survey was conducted among 14-15-year-old youth to find out their opinion about their abilities, values, relationships with family and peers, as well as their place and role in society and involvement in social processes. When surveying 304 young people, it was concluded that family relationships, success at school and the ability to make decisions and act as they see fit, regardless of other people’s opinions, are very important to them. The main values of life, according to them, are the ability to be happy, honesty and loyalty, tolerance and respect for others, self-improvement and self-motivation. Sociability, respect for authority and earning money were also rated highly. The ability to enjoy and experience, as well as loyalty, are the most important personal values for them, followed by motivation, ambition and respect. Religion, faith and politics are less valued. Among the Christian values, joy, love and trust are indicated as the most important.
Their opinion is divided about the role and contribution of young people to society. Half of the respondents believe that the society values them as irresponsible, the other half – that young people have an important role in society and that they make a significant contribution to the local community, willingly engage in volunteer work and positively evaluate informal education opportunities and activities.
The invited field specialists expressed their satisfaction that the values of the new generation are based on solid foundations, namely family, education and individuality of personality. On the other hand, the participants of the discussion recognized the assessment of young people about their role in society as corresponding to the real situation. Some young people are really active in youth, volunteer or other organizations, organizing events and supporting and involving different groups of society. On the other hand, the other part does not have the desire and motivation to get involved in organizations and contribute their efforts to the benefit and development of the local society. As the representative of the field of informal education emphasized, young people do not always remember about respect for each other and those around them, about manners, tolerance and responsible behavior when they are on the street, at school or in some interest group. In order to promote the desire to do volunteer work, specialists called for the use of social networks, which are so important for young people, and various digital tools that fascinate the young generation. “The direction and values of our young people’s lives have taken the right course, and this gives hope that civic activity and volunteering are in good hands,” concluded the panel of experts.
The results of the survey and focus group discussion make it possible to understand the values, needs, and expectations of young people, as well as to adapt the content and methods of the leadership training program to them, not only within the framework of this project, but on a much wider scale. The results of the research will be available for use by organizations working with young people in various fields.
It should be reminded that the curriculum for developing leadership is intended for young people aged 13 to 15 years. The training content for the development of personal and social skills of teenagers is based on basic Christian values, which include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trust, gentleness and self-control, and is an integral part of the formation of a person’s personality. The developed curriculum will serve as a support for educators and other specialists who work with young people in areas such as education, religion, culture and others, thus ensuring the transfer of results to various sectors. It will be freely available in the digital environment in Latvian, Spanish, Romanian and English.
The project is co-funded by the European Union. The project is implemented in the “Erasmus+” program in cooperation with the Agency for International Programs for Youth.
“The project “Mobile Program for Youth Learners” is financed with the support of European Commission’s programm “Erasmus+”. This publication reflects only the author’s views, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained there in.”