Cardiff Youth Council Exchange to Stuttgart February 2018

The long running relationship with Cardiff’s sister city Stuttgart has been a productive one with more than 30 years of youth exchange programmes. In the last couple of years Cardiff have hosted a number of groups that have included a school group who travelled to Cardiff from Stammheim and Stuttgart Youth Council in turn CYC have been hosted on a number of occasions.

During these visit CYC became increasingly interested in German culture and the way they approached education and youth work. CYC received an invite from Micha Klamm of the Stuttgart Youth Service stating they would be welcome to come anytime.

With this offer in mind CYC then highlighted some funds, sort authorisation from youth service management, choose representatives and organised the study visit.

Micha Klamm, put together a programme which showed the visiting group a wide range of projects and a chance to meet with young people and workers to share their experiences.

Here is our story .

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On a very brisk morning in Cardiff city centre we met at the steps of the National Museum for Wales’s, ready to embark on our journey. After loading the minibus and making sure everyone had their passports (David) and euros we set off in the DofE minibus to Gatwick Airport.

After check in and  swiftly moving through security we were in the departure lounge and eager to go on our big orange and white bird (EasyJet Flight) to Stuttgart
After a very short 1 hour 20 min the plane descended, after a flight through the sunset, we hopped on the minibus and took a short journey (on the wrong side of the road!) to the international  Youth Hostel.

From the top of the hostel, looking out onto the city was magical, the city lights lit up the wonders of Stuttgart in an orange glow. Upon leaving the glass elevator, which took us down to the hostel, we were fed and had time to explore the hostel and our rooms. at this point all most of us wanted to do was to sleep after a long day.

After a quick meeting  to discuss the weeks program and getting to finally meet our host Mr Klamm properly it was time for bed

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Day One

The next morning we headed off to the Rathaus for a tour and to meet Roland the lead worker for the Stuttgart Youth Council. Roland took us on a tour of the Rathaus and to various projects around the city that SYC had been involved in was very interesting, informative, and it taught us all about how their youth council works, its influence over decisions made throughout the city and their relation with the city mayor.

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Later that day, we got to visit the famous Stammheim Jugendhaus were we got to meet Chris, Daniel & Yannis. After meeting the staff we got to go climbing at Climbmax Climbing World, a well-regarded climbing centre which has held many competitions.

We also got to go back and visit Stammheim Jugendhaus where we interacted with local young people and engaged in several games such as; table-football, Ping-Pong and ‘Just Dance’ as well as have our evening meal.

After a long day it was finally back to the Youth Hostel for a good nights sleep.

Day Two

Following a good nights rest,we where up nice and early on  the Wednesday so that we could have a tour of and have a dialogue session with students at Grundschule Stammheim arranged by the school worker Fitch. It was great getting to meet with the children and for them the be able to practice their English speaking skills. They had so many questions for us, all about our country and our lives there. We taught them about our city and also taught them some Welsh.Many of us gained pen-pals during our visit to the school as many of them were enthusiastic to stay in touch.

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After visiting the school it was off to Jugendhaus Mitte for lunch, we had authentic traditional German foods which consisted of a buttery potato salad and Maultaschen. After lunch, we played a city game called ‘TipsnTrips’. This took around 2 hours and had us searching all around the city (a very unusual, fun and interactive way of sightseeing) for landmarks and their origins.

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In the evening we attended a reception at the Rathaus, at which we were honorable guests, and engaged in conversation with many of their young youth councils. Some of us exchanged details in order to stay in touch for when they visit us in July/August. We then played a few rounds of bowling which became very competitive very quickly and was very enjoyable.

Day Three

Thursday, we visited the  Wilhelma Zoo  and
Botanical Gardens where we saw many animals there and took a ludicrous amount of photos, also spending time in the gift shop buying souvenirs  for ourselves and loved ones.

After many hours of ogling at the animals,  it was off to be hosted by Das CANN Jugendhaus  who prepared us a lovely curry, which was just what we needed after being out in the cold all morning. After lunch we popped in to the Skatehalle Stuttgart next door and a skateboarding lesson.  Several of us struggled to pick up the confidence and skills needed to make the most of the skateboarding but a couple of us were very natural with balance and attempting tricks on the boards. Though it was difficult, it was very fun to try something new.

In the afternoon, we visit the city state parliament and met Brigitte Losch, a Member of their Green Party who took us on a tour of the building, answered questions we had and fed us some pretzels and juice. That evening we were hosted by Jugendhaus Sillenbuch and their recently elected members of Stuttgart Youth Council. SYC members prepared us piazzas and we then spend the evening hanging out and find out about what it is like being a young person in our different cities and what were the proprieties in each other cities.

Day Four

On our last full day in Stuttgart we had some free time to explore the city centre and to buy souvenirs and also visit the main library, which was such extraordinary building which looks very bare upon first glance, but once you reach the top floor, it can be seen that within the blank white walls there are rows upon shelves upon columns of books spanning across several floors of the building.

 

In the afternoon we once again met up with Chris at his centre Jugendtreff Sieben Morgen, which bizarrely is next to the famous Stammheim prison. Chris introduced us to  OpenMike, a graffiti artist who gave us a lesson on how to draw in a graffiti style and worked along side us in developing and designing a  large scale graffiti mural about our time in the lovely city across outside the youth centre. once the project was finished it looked pretty amazing. Openmike then gave us a demonstration of his other talent Rapping by spitting some lyrics – which sounded even more impressive in German.

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After saying our farewells to Chris and Openmike it was onto one more youth centre. This time Kirsten and her SYC members hosted us in Jugendhaus Nord, preparing a lovely meal and again getting time to have dialogue sessions with the recently appointed SYC member’s about some of the issues young people face in Stuttgart and what the priorities of the city were.

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Diolch – Danke – Thank you

Cardiff Youth Council would like to thank all the young people, staff and centers that made the exchange possible with special thanks to our wonderful friend Mr Michael Klamm from Stammheim Jugendhaus, who without this exchange would have not been possible.

It was really inspiring to see how Stuttgart has invested in services for young people across the city, from the incredible centres that are used for a variety of activities within each community, to how the Youth Council is funded and supported.

It was amazing to spend time with youth centre members and Stuttgart Youth Council reps to talk about the issues that we are facing in our day to day lives and some of the
similarities.

It was also incredible to be given the chance to explore this wonderful city and meet with
some key decision makers along the way.

We are now be considering how we can return the fabulous hospitality that we received and host a group from Stuttgart in July and august 2018 in Cardiff. Building on the long
friendships and twinning arrangements between North Ely Youth Center and Stammheim Jugendhaus. We look forward to seeing some of the wonderful people we have met in a few months’ time.

 

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CYC’s Stuttgart Adventures: Installment drei!

So, it’s time for the third installment of Adventures of CYC in Stuttgart!

We began the day by spending a few hours in Stuttgart’s zoo; where we saw vibrant flamingos, adorably cuddly gorillas, munching fruit bats (who are far from the scary blood sucking stereotypical bat), exotic bird species from tropical areas of the world, and many more.12177735_1067327783300529_1984376527_n 12179076_1067327589967215_318836819_n 12179161_1067327643300543_150747236_n12179242_1067327773300530_1557668953_n

The zoo was highly enjoyable and even for those who weren’t head-over-heels for animals before, I think it’s safe to say that there’s definitely a new found soft spot for at least some these beautiful and majestic creatures. (ft. Stuttgart’s very own Dory and Nemo – safe and sound)

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One of our CYC members, Luke has a new found friendship with this fluffy mammal. Meanwhile, this undying love between Mae and Alaw was rediscovered.

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Our mischievous mob did have to bid farewell to the zoo and move onto the next element of the day; the city tour! This was our opportunity to see and view all the great projects that our counterparts are working on currently. And so it starts…12190507_904995216256811_516770768_o

One thing all touring members did notice was the fantastic amount of artwork around the city. Albeit, graffiti, street art, architectural prowess or just the skyline at dusk. 12193118_904995616256771_832413885_o

Art Throughout Cardiff Collage

All of our members left this inspiring tour with a fresh view on urban life. We had the opportunity to see one of Stuttgart’s many urban rooftop gardens, which now, of course in the midst of autumn, has been turned to a venue available to hire for those parties or gatherings you may wish to host.12185781_503519366474025_24201805_o12016292_904995379590128_2079971825_o12179425_904995346256798_276784724_n

Even this seemingly plain multistory car park holds so much creativity, on the walk up you would just see sneak peaks of each individual artists stamp on their area.

12193156_904995326256800_195727158_o Just along the outskirts of this carpark was one of the projects Jugendrat Stuttgart had been working on for 3 years. Consisting of Dutsch inspired skate ramps which doubled up as a ‘chill zone’, 3G Football pitch and a wall for legal graffiti.

To end our hectically busy, yet highly rewarding day, we wound down and visited a youth centre on the other side of the city and cooked our own meals. After filling up on lots of scrumptious food, games of pool were played while our 2 lovely singer song writers accompanied us with more of their original creations.

Thank you Stuttgart for another wonderful day!