The latest news from the European Youth Card Association.
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European Youth Card to be launched in Germany! Reisenetz joins EYCA
Reisenetz e.V. – the German Association for Youth Travel is the latest addition to EYCA having joined the Association in March. The partnership was made official during the ITB in Berlin where Jarkko Lehikoinen, EYCA President, and Klaus Eikmeier, CEO of Reisenetz eV, signed the agreement granting Reisenetz the license for the European Youth Card in Germany.

With a history spanning nearly 30 years, Reisenetz is the leading youth travel network in Germany, bringing together almost 100 member organisations. The mission of the network is to work for quality youth travel that creates positive, enriching experiences for young people. Central to the network’s work is a firm belief in cultural diversity and making travel accessible to all children and young people. In 2015 alone, Reisenetz and its members helped over 6 million young people travel to more than 60 countries.

Speaking of the newest EYCA member, Jarkko Lehikoinen, the Association’s President, stated: “We are very happy to have such an amazing organisation join our association. It’s great to see their commitment to youth mobility and the outstanding work they do to professionalise this sector and maximise the value of travelling for children and young people. The youth card will be a very powerful tool to further this goal for the benefit of all young people across Europe.”

Sandra Türk, Reisenetz Director, said: “So far, our focus has been on the promotion of youth travel in Germany and on ensuring quality. We have mostly operated in the background, using the channels of our members to get in touch with young people. We are very much looking forward to extending our portfolio with an attractive product with a physical appearance to make us, our services and our objectives more visible. We believe that the European Youth Card is a fantastic means to reach out and work with young people directly.”

The European Youth Card will be launched in Germany during the course of this year with a specific focus on youth travel.
European Commission & EYCA renew agreement for EVS European Youth Card
All young people who join the European Voluntary Service in 2017 and 2018 will receive a free European Youth Card to help them make the most of their mobility experience. EYCA and the European Commission have been collaborating on the EVS European Youth Card project since 1999, issuing free youth cards to around 100 000 volunteers in the past 18 years.

The new agreement estimates an increase in the number of volunteers in 2017 and 2018, continuing the rising trend of previous years.

Signed in December 2016, the agreement includes the launch of a dedicated EVS European Youth Card app in mid 2017. Volunteers will be able to choose between a plastic card and a digital one, available through the new app. The app will also allow volunteers to see discounts near their location in their destination country, at home and when travelling.

Manel Sanchez, EYCA Director, welcomed the new agreement: “The EVS European Youth Card is one of the most important projects for EYCA and we are delighted to continue our collaboration with the European Commission for the next two years. The project speaks to our values and our conviction that cross-border mobility and volunteering can have a positive impact on the lives of young people and the communities they are working for. We are very proud to be part of the EVS adventure of thousands of young people.”
EYCA launches regional consultations on youth mobility and the EU Youth Strategy
Titled "Youth mobility and the European Youth Card: the way forward to a new EU Youth Strategy", the EYCA project aims to bring together young people, EYCA members and policy makers for five regional meetings and a European round table on the role of youth mobility in the next EU Youth Strategy.

Co-funded through Erasmus+, the events will be hosted by EYCA members Movijovem (Portugal), Czech Council of Children and Youth (Czech Republic), CJP (the Netherlands), Young Scot (Scotland, UK) and the Croatian Youth Hostel Association (Croatia). All of EYCA's 40 member organisations will participate in the meeting in their region with a delegation consisting of a cardholder, a national policy maker and a youth card representative. 

Each event will consist in a structured discussion among young cardholders, policy makers from countries in the respective region and EYCA member organisations on topics such as youth mobility and the role of the European Youth Card in promoting and facilitating it, youth participation and community engagement, priorities for the next European framework on youth issues, etc.

The results of the regional meetings will inform a European round table which will take place in Brussels in the summer of 2017. A delegation of cardholders will present the conclusions of the regional meetings and will discuss the outcomes with guests from the European Commission, European Youth Forum and other organisations active in the youth field.

The recommendations resulting from the EYCA project will feed into the Structured Dialogue process as well as national youth policy development.
EYCA, ERYICA and Eurodesk organise communications training for youth workers across the 3 networks
After years of informal cooperation, the main European youth information and mobility networks formalised their partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding signed in September 2016. The highlights of the new partnership are a joint position paper to inform the next EU Youth Strategy and a training for youth workers from across the three networks.

The training will take place in Brussels, from the 5th to the 7th of April and will bring together 34 youth workers from 18 countries and communications specialists. The aim of the training is to explore new ways to reach more young people so that youth work and youth information services become more accessible to as many young people as possible.  

The  training is co-funded through the Erasmus+ programme of the EU.
Young Scot launches call for young woman to be mentored by the First Minister of Scotland!
On the 8th of March, International Women's Day, Young Scot launched the First Mentor programme where a young woman from Scotland will be mentored for a year by Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland.

During the launch of the programme, the First Minister said: “Mentoring a young woman is a highly effective way to enhance her career chances – giving her the confidence and knowledge to strive for her ambitions. I repeat my challenge to women leaders in Scotland – if you know a young woman of great potential, become her mentor. Her success will be yours as well, and you will have both learned from the experience. That’s how it works.” 

All young women aged 18 - 23 can apply for this unique opportunity.

At the same time, Louise Macdonald OBE, Young Scot Chief Executive and EYCA Board member, has been appointed to chair the First Minister's new Advisory Council on Women and Girls. The body will raise awareness of gender issues, champion the rights of women and girls, and advocate for changes that can be made across society to deliver equality. 

Congratulations to Louise and the whole Young Scot team for the amazing work!
EYCA - Council of Europe seminar on countering violent extremism and youth radicalisation 
From the 29th to the 31st of January, EYCA members, policy makers, representatives of NGOs and companies came together in Nicosia to explore how the European Youth Card can be used to promote peaceful communities and to counter violent extremism and youth radicalisation. The seminar was organised by EYCA and the Partial Agreement on Youth Mobility through the Youth Card in the framework of the Cyprus Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

The seminar showcased great practice examples of how the card can be used as a tool for inclusion, insights from researchers and specialists working with young people from excluded groups, policy makers from the Council of Europe and some of its member states and inputs from the corporate sector on Corporate Social Responsibility programmes and the commitment companies make to support integration. 

The full seminar report is available
EYCA joins the European Pact 4 Youth and organises CSR seminar
Boosting youth employability and entrepreneurship by working together with the corporate sector has become a new strategic direction for EYCA. To advance this area of the Association's work, EYCA has officially joined the European Pact for Youth and has organised a seminar focusing on opportunities for cooperation between its members and companies for the benefit of young people.

From the 15th to the 17th of January, EYCA members, representatives of ENGIE, CSR Europe and the Embassy of Andorra to Belgium met to explore how to join forces and create better and more opportunities for youth employment and entrepreneurship.

ENGIE representatives gave participants an overview of the company's work in supporting the communities where they operate and their young people. Expanding on the commitment of companies to making a positive contribution to society, a representative of CSR Europe presented the platform's initiative - the European Pact 4 Youth. The Pact is a mutual engagement of business, European Union leaders, youth organisations and educational institutions aiming to develop partnerships in support of youth employability and inclusion, to find solutions for a pro-youth, pro-innovation sustainable Europe.

Participants shared ideas on how NGOs and companies can cooperate, exchange know-how and pool their respective resources to help young people successfully navigate the school to work transition.

The seminar was hosted by ENGIE and was followed by a networking event at the Embassy of Andorra to Belgium. 
The EYCAtcher is published by the EYCA Office
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European Youth Card Association · Rue D'Alost · 7-11 · Brussels 1000 · Belgium

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