Wicklow Town hosted Europe en Scene 2011 – The Year to Volunteer
Wicklow Town became a hub of multi- cultural activity in July. Wicklow was chosen to host ‘Europe en Scene 2011, the year to volunteer ‘ which ran from the 4th to the 10th of July. This event consisted of a week of active participation in a multi cultural exchange project involving teenagers aged between 14 and 17 from 7 different European towns. The towns which participated are all twinned with Wicklow Town or Montigny le Brettoneux (France), a twin town of Wicklow Town, they included Tirgu Mures, Romania, Kierspe, Germany, Denton, England, Marostica, Italy, Montigny le Brettoneux, France, Eichenzell, Germany and of course Wicklow Town, Ireland.
Europe en Scene is a common project built by all the countries, the goal was to learn that we all live in a different place but we have the same life, the same problems, the same purposes, it is a link between people from different back grounds and European countries based on the principal of European Integration.
The aims of the project were to demonstrate the simplicity of the exchange of experiences between towns and communities, to learn more about the culture of the host town and to improve people’s general opinion towards the EU. It was an opportunity to showcase Wicklow Town to students, teachers, Mayors and officials from all the towns involved with a view to getting them to encourage others from their towns to visit Wicklow Town in the future. The theme for this years event was Volunteering. A total of 66 people from 7 different European towns participated in Europe en Scene 2011 – The Year to Volunteer.
Europe en Scene involved a programme of events, which included daily workshops based around culture, linguistic diversity, active European participation, music, dance and drama, participative group work and cultural events including the exploration of local heritage sites, including Wicklow Gaol and Glendalough, demonstrations of local music, dance and sport, visits to local schools and volunteering groups along with local beauty spots such as the Murrough, Black Castle, Wicklow Head and Brittas Bay. Participants all performed together in a public concert on Saturday evening the 9th of July, which was attended by Mr. Liam Alyward MEP and Mr. Harald Siebel, representative of the German Ambassador to Ireland along with 300 local towns people. The concert portrayed the participants’ learning of individual and collaborative pieces on the theme of volunteering.
This event was a perfect opportunity to involve all local people, from different age groups, to participate in volunteer activities relating to the event, through the provision of sightseeing tours, excursions, and through demonstrations by local musicians, artists and sportspeople.
Europe en Scene brought the concept of town twinning alive for the people involved, and also the residents of Wicklow Town.
The event brought Europe to life for the participants and demonstrated the common interests, values, cultures and identify we all share.
Wicklow Town Council and Wicklow Town Twinning Association hosted this event with the support of the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union.
Some of the participants’ comments were:
‘I like everything, it was a wonderful experience’ – Romanian Participant
‘I loved the week’ – English Participant
‘I loved making friends with people from different countries’ – German Participant