"Our mission is to assist in the reformation of Ukraine consistent with European standards, as well as to introduce democratic values and develop civil society in Ukraine."

From the Statute of
the Center for European Initiatives

Youth Exchange "Subcultures," Motycz Leśny, Poland, April 2009


  • NGO Center for European Initiatives, Sumy, Ukraine;
  • Association of Youth Welfare and Social Work, Furstenwalde, Germany;
  • Foundation Happy Childhood, Lublin, Poland.

Supported by: Polish-German-Ukrainian Youth Collaboration, Potsdam

Date conducted: 13-19 April 2009.

Place conducted: Motycz Leśny, Poland.

Participants: 26 youth from three countries (11 Ukrainians, 9 Germans, 6 Poles) , aged 17 to 25 years.

Subculture through the eyes of youth

Just completed was the exchange "Subcultures," held in a youth center in the small town of Motycz Leśny near Lublin. The project was conducted by Foundation Happy Childhood (Lublin, Poland) in partnership with NGO Center for European Initiatives (Sumy, Ukraine) and the Association of Youth Welfare and Social Work (Furstenwalde, Germany). It was financed by the international organization “Polish-German-Ukrainian Youth Collaboration” (Potsdam, Germany).

The primary objective, which brought together active youth from Poland, Germany and Ukraine, was a discussion of interesting topics for youth around subcultures, the history of youth movements in the world, their impact on the development of culture, especially music, and eliminating stereotypes associated with different subcultures.

For seven days youth participated in various workshops on subcultures such as hippie, punk, Rastafarian, metal, soccer fans, emo, and Goths. It was a difficult discussion and debate - total immersion into the world of subcultures.

During the hippie workshop participants created stylish hippie Tie Dye, became acquainted with and put on real emo makeup, learned much during the game-terranova "House of Subcultures," and become real Goths in the Gothic night. Very memorable was the role-playing game (LARP) from members of the Fantasy Club Lublin. During the game participants performed roles as hippies, metal, and emo, all under the laws of a certain subculture.

For a little change from the "House of Subcultures," there was an excursion east to the Polish pearl Zamosch, and sightseeing to the historical monuments of Lublin. In the evening again it was back to the theme of subcultures, but this time purely national, which, frankly speaking, was very difficult to do. The only "Ukrainian" subculture that came to mind was our notorious "Gopniky" (generated post soviet society).

There was no official common exchange language. During the presentations and workshops interpreters were used, but this did not prevent understanding. Most of the participants could speak English, German, or French. They say about Ukrainians and Poles - there is no problem understanding each other. Additionally, music was an international language. Breaks, dinner, and around the fire bacame small musical sessions.

The last day was for summarizing, and the delivery of certificates for active participation in the youth exchange. Time passed very quickly. The program left a memorable impression, and many pleasant acquaintances.

Julia Sakunova, Group Coordinator  


Denys Bandylko, Rivne

"It was really super! An interesting program. You can say that subcultures surround us, so I'm happy that I learned a little more about some of them:)

Good company, wonderful mood! What else do you need? ;)
Most football fans are interested in the situation and traditions of the struggle between the clubs.
Also, hard metal. New to me was Rastafarian, their so called ideology.
The "cultural" program had many activities, but all one theme (for example the search for envelopes with questions and the role-playing game) – the quest was simply awesome – it was just what we needed. I can’t wait to see it on film:)"

Oksana Bondarenko, Sumy

“This exchange was totally useful for me in many ways: I was able to extend the knowledge of youth subcultures, listen to experts on these issues, play, meet with old friends and find new ... =)
Extremely pleased with the quest ... It was just super!
Loved the role play, the trip to Zamosh and Lublin, subcultures, of course tie dye ... and in general everything.
We hope and believe that such exchanges will happen more often.
In the end, I would like to express gratitude to all organizers of this project and of course to the participants."

Darina Nakonechna, Kyiv

"As for me, this exchange was very successful and exceeded all my expectations. Actually, the chosen theme (subculture) was very interesting ... But how we got acquainted with it, during this exchange was not only informative and helpful, but very funny (thanks to the organizers and active participants from Ukraine, Poland and Germany). Through a variety of role-playing, presentations, competitions, we were able to belong to many subcultures: punk, hippie, Rastafarian, Goths, football fans .... It was also very fascinating to compare the manifestations and features of some subcultures in 3 countries."