The latest news from the European Youth Card Association.
View this email in your browser
To mark the 17th anniversary of the agreement between EYCA and the European Commission to issue European Youth Cards to young people in the European Voluntary Service, this edition of the EYCAtcher is dedicated to youth volunteering. 
Read on to find out how EYCA members and the Association as a whole develop projects and activities at the local and the European level to support, encourage, celebrate, and recognise volunteering. 
European Youth Cards for young people
in the European Voluntary Service
Since 1999, EYCA and the European Commission have been working together to provide all young people in the European Voluntary Service with a special EVS edition of the European Youth Card for free. Around 90,000 young volunteers have received the EVS European Youth Card so far.
To support and promote the EVS, EYCA has also started to develop a set of special competitions and actions dedicated to young people in the service.
In addition, many EYCA member organisations are involved in the programme and are certified EVS hosting and sending organisations.

The partnership between EYCA and the EVS programme started from a shared belief that volunteering across borders can help young people expand their horizons and gain valuable professional and personal skills. 17 years on and the project is going strong and expanding with new initiatives that aim to reward volunteers for their work and inspire other young people to join the EVS. 

The first such initiative was this year's 
EVS European Youth Card Awards - a celebration of the achievements of young volunteers. The competition was designed as a platform where EVS volunteers could share their unique volunteering experience with other young people from across Europe, to inspire and encourage them to start their own adventure. Volunteers were invited to make a short film about their service and share it on the competition website. Click here to see the videos submitted. The two EVS volunteers whose stories received the highest number of votes from the public were rewarded with all-inclusive trips to Greece and Cyprus, sponsored by EYCA member organisations in these countries. Here are the winners' stories in their own words: click here to read about Mariia's EVS story and here for Lorena's. 
72Hours: a volunteering marathon  
Czech Council of Children and Youth, Czech Republic
Nearly 30,000 volunteers working on 620 projects during 4 days, from 8 to 11 October 2015. This is 72Hours, the volunteering project implemented by the Czech Council of Children and Youth, the EYCA member organisation in the Czech Republic.
The aim of 72Hours is to encourage young people to volunteer their time and show them that by working together they can make a real change in their communities. 

The 2015 edition of the project, the 4th edition so far, has set a new record in terms of the number of volunteers involved. This year's theme was 'Let's plant a tree, for instance with the mayor'. Following the 72Hours invitation, many mayors from across the country joined young people in community activities and volunteered their time as well. In this way, 72Hours helped to strengthen local communities and build partnerships between young people and their local council and city hall.

In addition to planting trees, all types of community work were strongly encouraged, such as doing something positive for the most vulnerable members of the community, cleaning a park or painting a kindergarten. 

The project received extensive media coverage with public figures such as sportsmen, film directors, and Internet celebrities supporting the initiative.

Supporting the recognition of skills acquired through volunteering
Working together with organisations from across Europe, the Czech Council of Children and Youth also supports the recognition of the skills young people acquire during their volunteering activities. 'Roads to recognition' aims to support volunteer organisations to exchange good practice and further develop methods and tools for the recognition of skills acquired through volunteering activities. Click here to find out more about '
Roads to Recognition'!
Supporting young people to be the voice of their generation
British Youth Council, England, United Kingdom
 The British Youth Council, the EYCA member organisation in England, has a long tradition of supporting volunteering and has received several awards, including the 2012 Queen's Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award, for its work in this field. One of the most important programmes the organisation runs is called Youth Voice - a volunteer social action that encourages young people to be the leaders of their generation.

The programme is open to volunteers aged 12-18 who put themselves forward to be elected or nominated, as representatives of their local communities or special interest groups. These Youth Voice candidates often stand for election in their local school or youth centre for positions on the local youth council or Youth Parliament and their role is to inform and influence local decision makers.

To make these opportunities effective, they are provided in partnership with local and national Government who want to have the input of young people into their policy development and decision making.

The British Youth Council also provides training and support to these young people, with 2,500 Youth Voice volunteers taking part in direct training programmes every year.

With the support of this programme, over a million young people take part in elections and around 10,000 youth representatives campaign on issues such as bullying, transport, education, and votes at 16. Over 320 young people sit in the Youth Parliament. Last year over 876,000 voted in a referendum championed by Youth Voice volunteers, called Make Your Mark, which prioritised the most important campaigns, with Mental Health topping the poll. The most important topics are subject of an enquiry and report which goes to the UK Government. 

To find out more about Youth Voice, please visit the
programme's website

Celebrating volunteers
Young Scot, Scotland, United Kingdom
For the past 10 years, Young Scot, the EYCA member organisation in Scotland, has organised a high profile event celebrating the achievements of young people in Scotland - the Young Scot Awards. 
The aim of the Awards is to showcase the inspirational work of young Scots and provide all young people in Scotland with amazing role models and the idea that each one of them can be a force for change in their lives and their communities.
One of the categories of the Young Scot Awards is dedicated to volunteering. The Volunteer Award celebrates the selfless contribution of a young person who gives up their time and energy free of charge to help others and make a difference in their community.  

In 2015, the winner of the Volunteering Award was 17 year old Ryan Ledgerwood from Glasgow. In care since he was a toddler, Ryan has lived in 13 care homes. He uses his tough life experiences to help other vulnerable young people. After leaving school early, Ryan started volunteering with Penilee Community Centre. Over the past few years, he has carried out more than 1080 hours of volunteering. 
Click here to find out more about Ryan and his amazing volunteer work. 

Ryan also poured his energy into political participation by being part of the Youth Commission on Smoking Prevention. Established by the Scottish Government, this Youth Commission of 17 young people conducted extensive research into how a smoke-free generation might be achieved by 2034. The Government have taken the recommendations from the group and their work is feeding into the Scottish Government’s tobacco control strategy.

Ryan's work as a volunteer sets an example to all young people and gives them the inspiration and confidence to be the change they want in their communities.
Copyright © European Youth Card Association, All rights reserved.
This EYCAtcher is published by the EYCA Office
European Youth Card Association, Rue D'Alost 7-11, 1000 Brussels, Belgium.
tel. +322 8806843; e-mail:

With the support of the European Commission. The information contained in this publication does not necessarily reflect the opinion or the position of the EC.
The European Youth Cards are supported by the Council of Europe in the framework the Partial Agreement on Youth Mobility through the Youth Card.
Contributors: EYCA Office and EYCA member organisations
Pictures: European Youth Card Association, EYCA member organisations