Euromed Youth Center
VISION - SOCIETY - CREATIVITY
Status: The Euro-Mediterranean Youth Center (EYC) in Nopigia Kissamos is a department of the Orthodox Academy of Crete (OAC), a welfare Foundation, serving the promotion of the area and the cultivation of free dialogue on the modern problems of life at a national and international level.
Establishment: 6. In June 1988, following a decision by the OAC Board.
Location: The OAC purchased an area of 170,000 m2 in the eastern corner of the Gulf of Kissamos, in an area of excellent natural beauty, which stretches 200 meters along the coast and extends upwards onto a hill, offering a panoramic view. Apart from a small village to the west (2 km away), the entire area is still uninhabited, ‘virgin land’.
Transport: The EYC is 6 km from the OAC and 100 meters from the new national highway, which leads to Kastelli (15 km), Chania (29 km), the Airport (42 km) and Souda Harbor (35 km).
Structure: The site is going to be redeveloped into a youth village, which will maintain viable elements of the traditional rural life of Crete, combined with modern activities and the interests of young people.
Studies: There are two complete architectural studies (from the Technical University of Graz, Austria). Also, from the Organization for the Development of Crete: a feasibility study, and environmental impact study. Such studies need to undergo an update, during which the current data and the needs arising from them will be taken into consideration. A part of the provisions has already been implemented and is under operation:
- Chapel of the Transfiguration of Christ.
- Outdoor stone-built theater with about 600 seats. It has been serving the artistic needs and activities of the EYC since 1992, as well as those of the broader area.
- Residences of guards and staff
- Vineyard and traditional wine press
- Traditional spring
- Olive grove
- Tools for traditional sowing, harvesting, and threshing (there is a newly constructed threshing floor)
- Temporary accomodation and catering facilities
The following structures, along with others, are planned to be developed on the site:
- Facilities accommodating young people in twin bed and multi-bed rooms, as well as young people with special needs.
- Sketes (blocks of small houses) for adults, who will be occasionally hosted by the Center, so that they can share their knowledge and experience with young people, and contribute to the creation of the appropriate peripatetic atmosphere.
- Department of research of youth problems-library (specialized in the issues and interests of young people).
- Sport facilities (old and modern sports on land and at sea, facilities for mountain climbing, pilgrimage tourism, etc.).
- Workshops (ceramics, carpenter’s workshop, wood carving, basket weaving, processing of semi-precious stones, blacksmith’s forge, electric and electronic instruments, audiovisual equipment, etc.).
- Arts: Theater, music, painting, sculpture, folk handcrafts, music and dances of Crete, etc.
- Special emphasis on Orthodox ecclesiastical arts (the iconography workshop already operating at the OAC is scheduled to be transferred to the EYC)
- Options for training and the intensive study of ancient and modern Greek (especially for immigrants).
- Main features and vital functions of a Cretan village (square, coffee house, threshing floor (ready), bakery, wine press, silk mill, the Mediterranean Apiculture Institute).
Experiences and perspectives: various activities have been developed at the EYC from 1990 onwards. Already more than 2,000 young men and women from Greece and 43 other European and non-European Mediterranean countries have been hosted in groups. The stay of each group usually lasts for three weeks.
Life at the Center is founded on two main principles: sociality (especially within the spiritual sense of the term ‘society’) and creativity. The main purpose of the center is to serve young people at a regional, national, international, inter-Orthodox and inter-ecclesiastical - ecumenical level, offering them opportunities for meeting ,
reconciliation, learning, work and cooperation.
The title ‘Euro-Mediterranean’ is not meant to be exclusive: it only stresses the main purpose of the center, which is to primarily engage in the problems, needs and challenges faced by the young people of Greece, and the other European and Mediterranean countries, but also young people and youth organizations from other continents .
The center offers young people from the global Greek diaspora opportunities for mutual communication, familiarization with the places of origin of their ancestors and with the people currently living in those places. Children of Greeks of the diaspora who plant a tree at the center (in the ‘Immigrants’ Garden’) will receive an official certificate that the tree is theirs forever!
Sowing - harvest - threshing: We indicatively mention this special program, which began running in 1997 for many years. It gave especially primary school children the chance to see authentic older forms of agricultural life and work. Thousands of students, along with their teachers and parents, have participated in the program.
It is anticipated that greater emphasis will be placed on issues of protection of the natural environment, in cooperation with the Institute of Theology and Ecology (ITO - OAC Branch) and the Museum of Cretan herbs - ITO Department.