Beyond Borders: respect the disability, respect the person

While searching for good practices related to gamification and social inclusion in Greece, we at AddArt feel obliged to start by presenting one of our most trusted and accomplished partners in the field, Summer Camp Tsaf Tsouf. With more than 30 years of experience, Tsaf Tsouf was one of the first summer camps in Greece to implement a 2 week programme for people with disabilities, still running since 2000.

Beyond Borders is held every year at the end of August and is supported by numerous professionals, including but not limited to: experienced educators, art teachers, psychologists, physical trainers, animal handlers, animateurs, doctors, nurses, caretakers and lifeguards. Its core principle is respecting differences in gender, religion, sexual orientation, political belief and physical or mental disabilities. This is also reflected on the programme’s aims for its participants, which are: the development of new skills, human interaction – socializing – harmonious coexistence, exploring nature, edutainment (educational entertainment) and the development of autonomy and self-care.

The programme can host any person with mental/physical/sensory disabilities above the age of 6 (up to 200 participants), while accommodation and nutrition is focused on safety, comfort and division of needs. Respect towards disability and inclusion are the main pillars of the activities’ schedule, which includes: swimming and sports, canoe & kayak, climbing, horse riding, ATV rides, archery, painting, clay sculpting, dancing, theater play, cooking, radio broadcasts, film making, talent shows, disco & beach parties, live concerts and many more. Gamification is a strong element of all the aforementioned activities, as it eases the transition of the participants from one physical and emotional state to another through team building games & energizers and by introducing common camp goals/achievements to encourage participation & inclusion.

Caretakers are the most important aspect of this annual project, since without them nothing would be possible. Beyond Borders depends 24/7 on these young and energetic professionals to turn every activity into a fun, loving and memorable experience for the participants, always following the motto “All equal – All different”. A testament to the level of professionalism under which the programme is carried out is the fact that COVID-19 restrictions provided no hindrance in last year’s implementation.

Make sure to click on the video below to find out more about this good practice from Greece!

Written by AddArt

How to Blend-IN: a game of intercultural communication

As you may have read in previous articles, as part of the project, we are gathering good practices from partner countries in the field of social inclusion. In this spirit, we would also like to highlight the Blend-IN project, from the Slovenian partner, the Celje Youth Center.


Blend-IN was an ambitious 18-month project, which was set to tackle the existing mistrust and non-tolerance among the different communities that live in Europe, through educating youth workers. The project was designed in the complex context of Europe, which is not as united as it was. Still, young people all over the continent have similar interests and problems and present the driving force for enacting positive change. Considering these dynamics, the Blend-IN partnership was driven to contribute to the pan-European efforts to promote the value brought by tolerance and diversity. As part of the project, they set up a platform on which you can play a simulation game on the topic of intercultural dialogue and communication. They have also prepared a handbook for youth workshops for the purposes of training and education in the field of intercultural dialogue and communication. The project was co-financed by the European Union’s Erasmus + program.

As said before as part of the project, they established a platform on which it is possible to play a simulation game on the topic of intercultural dialogue and in the game different scenarios are played out.  As a player, you can decide for yourself how you will carry out or solve certain problems or situations.

In today’s dynamic world of youth work, understanding different cultures and responding correctly to different standards has become key for achieving any positive results. Mastering intercultural communication and dynamic management is key when developing initiatives and creating communities, as inevitably there will be the need for both. In the Handbook, the six partners of the Blend-IN project have compiled, through their own experience, desk research, as well as qualitative interviews with professionals, some important points in the topics of: 

  • Developing and managing communities and initiatives; 
  • Intercultural communication;
  • Dynamic management; 

and Best practices in the field of intercultural communication and other simulation games. The Handbook also contains information on the Blend-IN Simulation game and how to use it, as this is the companion output of the project to additionally provide assistance to youth workers in their endeavors.

The English version of the Handbook is available here.

Involving young people in understanding social inclusion is a very important topic that can also be achieved through play and that is why we find this project so relevant.

Written by Celjski Mladinski Center.

“Cromos dels Barris”: gamification & tourism in Barcelona

When we think about tourism, we always picture far away cities, landscapes and environment. But most of the times, we miss knowing better what is going on around us at a local level.

Today, we at Fundació Catalunya Voluntària would like to introduce one of our best practices as a way to discover your city in a dynamic, inclusive and collective way.

‘Cromos dels Barris’ (Cards of the neighbourhoods) is a project that started in 2015 with two districts in the city of Barcelona. Today we are going to introduce the project in the neighbourhood of Poble-Sec, one of the oldest parts of the city (which celebrated its 150 years of existence in 2019!!), and also where the office of FCV is based.

So how does this game work? Raons Públiques (the promoter organization) has initially created 10 cards together with the Historical Centre of Poble Sec, with old pictures and description of emblematic spots of the neighbourhood. Places like the Press House or the first house that was built in the neighbourhood are included in the cards, and in order to collect them all, you have to find them and answer one of the questions written in the cards. This way, you can get to have all of them.

In Barcelona, each neighbourhood has a weekly celebration where organizations, neighbours
and in general everyone that lives or works there gets together to celebrate. The first round of cards was handed during the yearly celebration in 2019, and that kicked off the search. The first pack comes with two cards and a map, and when you reach the next place, you can get another set of cards. Later on, cards were handed in collaboration with schools of the Poble-Sec, as a group activity for classes in primary school. Also, with the collaborations of these young participants, the collection of cards is growing, with currently 16 cards (6 designed and added by the primary students).

This game has different aims. The first, of course, being getting to know better the neighbourhood and its history. Secondly, it wants to create an intergenerational activity, including everyone in families and friend groups. This way, older people can teach their knowledge, and the youngest get to learn, discover and have fun.

You can find more information on the website of the 150th Anniversary of Poble-Sec and at

Written by Fundació Catalunya Voluntària

Leading by example: gamification and education in Catalonia

To start talking about gamification, it is important to put a bit of context in the subject.

In our case, it is a bit easier to talk about the Catalan context, as Spain is a very big country, and the reality can vary from one region to another. The concept of gamification and its use outside work environment have become more popular in the last years.

But what is gamification and what does it consist of? Gamification is the incorporation of elements related to the game in daily tasks, thus allowing to develop motivation, creativity, versatility, and other skills when performing them.

However, the idea of ​​including fun, goals, and playful characteristics in learning has been around for much longer in the learning sector, especially in non-formal education. In Catalonia, youth work with NFE is a key element for youth development, as can be seen by the importance of Scout organizations.

So what is the innovative factor of gamification? This new methodology is linked, although not always or necessarily, to video games, online games, and all kinds of virtual games. In this way, it is linked to the technological development of recent years, adding the factor of the internet, applications and other elements to the concept.

In Catalonia, the Government is starting to offer courses in the formal education sector, to enable teachers and youth workers to include this methodology in learning processes. It is a relevant step that public resources are being used to further the mission of inclusive and alternative education. This is also possible as more technological devices are being added to classroom. It is important to highlight, though, the inequality these may cause between schools with higher financial support and those in more underprivileged circumstances.

Although gamification is a step to make education more accessible and fun to everyone, we should never forget the relation between social disadvantages and access to technology.

Written by Fundació Catalunya Voluntària

Scambio di buone pratiche in materia di accessibilità delle piattaforme elettroniche

Lo scorso dicembre abbiamo intrapreso un nuovo percorso con l’avvio del progetto “Scambio di buone pratiche in materia di accessibilità delle piattaforme elettroniche tra giovani con disabilità” di cui H.R.Y.O. è il partner italiano.

Il progetto, della durata di quattordici mesi, è coordinato dall’organizzazione spagnola ASPAYM Castilla y León e vede coinvolti quattro paesi europei: Spagna (Biderbost, Boscan & Rochin), Portogallo (Rosto Solidário), Bulgaria (NC future Now) e Italia. 

Grazie allo scambio di buone pratiche, le organizzazioni partner saranno in grado di accrescere le loro competenze in materia di accessibilità delle piattaforme elettroniche e di conoscere nuove metodologie per migliorare la partecipazione dei giovani. 

Ecco alcuni dei tanti aspetti che verranno analizzati per rendere le piattaforme accessibili e utilizzabili, oltre che per promuovere un approccio più inclusivo possibile:

Cos’è l’accessibilità? Cosa rende una piattaforma elettronica accessibile ai giovani e alle persone con disabilità? Quali strategie utilizzare per rendere la partecipazione dei giovani multidimensionale e per promuoverne la partecipazione civica? 

In particolare, ogni partner valuterà delle piattaforme elettroniche appartenenti a svariati settori che riguardano la partecipazione dei giovani, dalla partecipazione politica ai servizi pubblici, ai social network, alla cultura. Le caratteristiche di cui si terrà conto saranno il design della piattaforma, il livello di l’accessibilità e le tipologie di disabilità prese in considerazione. 

Per seguire lo sviluppo del progetto, seguici su Instagram @eparticipationplatform e Twitter @_eParticipation.

Let’s meet FCV

Small but ongoing!

Fundació Catalunya Voluntària has been working for more than 14 years in youth work, competence development and non-formal education. But the work goes a bit further, starting with a youth-led association created in 1999, called Barcelona Voluntària, which believed in the importance of international mobility and the power of youth in having an active role in social change.

With that said, to get to know better FCV, it is important to understand our mission, our values and our actions.

FCV wants to offer the possibility to all young people, especially Catalans (as it is the region we are based in), to develop competences through non-formal education, peace culture and volunteering. It is through local actions, through youth-led actions and a global vision that we believe change can be achieved.

An important step for this is to have inclusive groups, and have young people from all backgrounds and life circumstances. From FCV, we work in offering equal opportunities to all those young people who have difficulty in accessing NFE, youth mobility, volunteering projects, and active citizenship throughout different actions.

Solidarity comes in many ways, including the individualized access to new experiences for everyone.

Within the frame of Spread the Game, FCV is very excited to use all these inclusion methodologies within the gamification topic.

The exchange of good practices with partner organizations, with such different contexts and realities, will give us all the chance to learn, grow and improve our work, and expand our knowledge on gamification.

We are looking forward to the next steps!

Written by Fundació Catalunya Voluntària

The hidden element: searching for gamification in Slovenia

Not much research can be found in Slovenia on the subject of gamification, but something is obvious; gamification is present in many fields. In fact, one of the first Slovenian works on gamification is a diploma thesis titled “The Gamification of Advertising in Slovenia” written by Pavlič in 2016. In her work, Pavlič states that with gamified advertising, advertisers most often address young people between the ages of 15 and 25, and that gamification on Slovenian soil has not yet fully utilized the motivational material offered by the elements of game.

That is definitely true, and a good example of this can be found by observing the development of escape rooms into an interesting tool for cultural enhancement. We already knew escape rooms in Slovenia at the time, as the first one was established in 2014, but these were nothing but gamification with the purpose of the game, hardly used to achieve other purposes. Then, in 2017, the team of the Slovenian Alpine Museum was inspired by the positive response from museum visitors to its permanent exhibition, set up as a museum narrative enriched with interactive challenges, so they took a big leap forward – into “gamifying” the museum exhibit known as BIVOUAC II. Bivouac II is not a classic “escape room”, where the game is led by a moderator who guides you as you try to escape from a room. Instead, it is an innovative way of exploring a museum through games developed specifically for the project.

Gamification has developed in Slovenia over the years in these areas, ie. advertising and tourism. However, for many years we have also known gamification at school, in the form of a Reading Badge that requires students to read a certain number of books to win it. Gamification also appears more recently in some young companies, where employers use it to motivate employees. In one of the Slovenian personnel companies, employees were specifically selected through a process that relied heavily on gamification.

With a one-month CEO call, the company looked for young talent and offered them a unique one-month internship. Each step in the process was tailored to the target group; they didn’t just post a classic ad on a website, but made a video and posted it on social media. Then they made an application, which those interested downloaded to their phone in order to solve three tests, attach a CV and apply for the tender via mobile phone. The process was therefore simple and interesting, adapted to the habits of the young, talented people they were looking for.

In conclusion, we can say that gamification has been present on Slovenian soil for a very long time, without ever being addressed as such; now that it is becoming more and more purposeful, however, it is finally being written about.

Learn more:;;;

Written by Celjski Mladinski Center

Let’s meet MCC! A conversation with Katja & Samanta

Today we welcome Katja Kolenc and Samanta Hadžić Žavski of Celjski Mladinski Center, partnering with HRYO for “Spread the Game”.

So, Katja and Samanta, hi! Tell us a bit about yourselves. What led you to work in this field, how long have you been working with MCC and in what kind of position?

Samanta: Hi everyone! I studied comparative literature and literary theory – so not even remotely related to youth work. So how did I get here? After graduating, I applied for a job at a youth center because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do in life. When I came in for an interview, the director asked me, where do I see myself in five years? I started listing a few different fields to her and at the same time I told her I did not know exactly what I wanted and she replied: “Here we all want to do something but we don’t know exactly what that is.”

That’s how I knew I was in the right place.

I have been employed at the youth center for about eight months as a project assistant, and what I like most is precisely this diversity of work. The youth worker does everything: they are a consultant, a lecturer, a journalist, and much more.

Katja: It has been a little over three years now since I became the head of the project department and general program at the youth center. I know this is the best job to have and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Like Samanta said, it is so diverse and it presents me with a lot of daily challenges and opportunities to meet new people, travel to different countries, and help youngsters be the best versions of themselves and to dream big of the possibilities they have and they can take advantage of.  I love concerts, dancing, and sports of any kind.

What is Celjski Mladinski Center and when was it established? In what kind of socio-economic context does it operate?

The Celje Youth Center is a public organization, established by the Municipality of Celje in 2005 with the aim of providing young people the space to socialize, have fun and gain knowledge in an non-formal setting. Essentially, we are there because of the young people. We want young people to come to us with the most creative and crazy ideas, and we are here to guide them and help them design projects and programs, to support their creativity and ideas. We want to present a safe space for young people where they can use their potential. Of course, we are also an educational institution and offer young people a range of activities and non-formal education that is unique and interesting addressing a variety of competencies an occasionally a really good concert 🙂

From a look at your website, MCC looks like a crossroads for cultures and youths from all paths of life to meet, thanks to the hostel. Can you tell us more about your experience with it?

Young people are our target group and our joy. We implemented many youth exchanges, in which we want to bring interesting topics closer to young people and equip them with new skills. But in doing so we were lacking the infrastructure, therefore we applied to the European Regional Development Fund and with that we built the Hostel MCC in 2009.
We wanted our inspiration for the hostel to be a little bit different, so we invited young Celje artists to participate, who artistically and conceptually furnished individual rooms based on urban myths and legends. Details from these rooms were included in all rooms in various ways to present the history of our city through stories to honor important local personalities and events.

Surely you have always wanted to fall asleep with restless fish on the glistening surface of the lake, mark the room where you spent your best vacation with graffiti, dress up as a real ninja and breathe in the spirit of the socialist past, or know who the hell Alfred Nobel is: In Celje, MCC HOSTEL offers all this and more!

Wow, the hostel really sounds like a great place to meet all kinds of cool, creative people! Now please, tell us more about the organization’s accomplishments and how it has improved the lives of young people on a local level.

We are one of several bigger youth centers in Slovenia that are really project-oriented for providing the youth with international mobility and experiences. Yearly, we provide over 80 young people the chance to participate in diverse youth exchanges and voluntary projects.
The opportunities that we provide for them, either in international projects or daily activities, are our best accomplishments, and we count as our great success the joy of the youths that come to the youth center just to hang out with us.
In addition, we are an organization that is very much involved in the local community with solidarity projects that enhance the local quality of life of all generations. We have a sixteen year-long tradition of preparing the Festival of Volunteers: they are an integral part of our community and celebrating them each year is important. We also have several special festivals and events that have been part of us for long and are much anticipated each year.

Katja: And for me personally, the co-workers and the atmosphere we have among each other and with the youth is the best and gives me the motivation to do even more and better.

Since working with MCC, was there any specific time that the result of the organization’s work touched you deeply?

Katja: Yes, it did. For me, it was the first time I sent a group of youngsters to their first youth exchange ever. All of them had no prior experience and I remember checking on them through messenger to find out where they were, how they were doing and if anything was okay. And they had a great time and a great experience.

This was in 2017.

Two years later, one of the girls from the youth exchange saw me on vacation in a different country and we had a great time talking to catch up, and she told me how much she appreciated that I motivated and pushed her a bit to take part in the youth exchange. Since then, she’s been a girl that takes chances and she’s always seeking adventures and opportunities.
That she told me how much it meant to her that I insisted, in a sense, for her to take the first step means a lot to me. Sometimes we do not know how much impact we can have in someone else’s life.

Now, you are partnering with us and some other great organizations in a new project called “Spread the Game”. So what do you think MCC can bring to the table when it comes to this specific project and why did you want to take part in it?

The Celje Youth Center will bring in the project methodologies and practices daily used in our activities. Our motivation in participating in projects like “Spread the game” is to share our practices and experiences, and also to learn from others for us youth workers to be better and to provide the best activities to our youngsters. It is also a great opportunity to meet and be inspired by other experts.

That’s a very good reason to join the project, indeed. And how do you hope to improve your organization and its work through this experience with “Spread the Game”?

We hope to upgrade and deepen our knowledge in the field of working with young people with fewer opportunities, and to emerge from this project through successful cooperation with a new network of partners, from whom we will be happy to learn.

And we will be happy to keep working with you at MCC, and to learn with and from you and our other partners.

Thank you very much for this conversation, hopefully we will all be able to meet soon at your lovely MCC Hostel to celebrate together the success of our network!

Gamification in Greece: a work in progress

According to Gabe Zichermann, the world’s foremost expert and public speaker on the subject, gamification “is a process of using game thinking and game dynamics to engage audiences and solve problems”. But has Greece joined in the game yet?

If you factor in the marketing and advertising industry, the short answer is yes: from point rewarding banking systems to pizza delivery apps featuring storytelling for choosing a topping, gamification has been a part of our lives for quite a while now. On corporate management level, the Lego ® Serious Play® methodology is gaining moreground by the day, with VasilisGkogkidis being one of its most prominent advocates and facilitators through recurring training seminars around Greece.

Yet, little to no progress is being made to introduce gamification and game-based learning on the field of education, despite reports stating that they can have a direct impact on students’ motivation by improving their engagement in class, their satisfaction and their performance. Similarly promising results have also been confirmed on the field of disability and special education. Good practices can be found all around: Joshua Hartman is teaching Ancient Greek to USA college students using a uniquely designed board game, while high-schoolers in Greece struggle to memorize a language they regard as obsolete.

Erasmus+ courses actively seek to incorporate game oriented learning into Greek education and frankly, this is a much needed breath of fresh air. AddArt rises to the challenge and as partners of the Erasmus+ KA2 Spread the Game, we aim to exchange concrete knowledge and provide educators in Europe with all the tools needed in order to improve the quality of education and the level of inclusion for people with disabilities through the use of gamification techniques.

Written by Giannis Kanlis
Project Manager at AddArt

Let’s meet ADDART

AddArt is a nonprofit multi-arts organization from Greece with a core mission to add art to everyday life. Founded in early 2014 in the rich cultural fabric of the city of Thessaloniki, it consists of highly experienced members and artists who have proved themselves both in and outside of their local community.

From its outset, AddArt is perceived as a laboratory of ideas and a springboard for artistic expression based on the principle that art and culture may catalyze change and act as agents of social and economic development. “Spread the Game” is a very promising project that will allow us to delve deeper into the realities of disability, to learn more about the numerous challenges disabled persons face on a daily basis and how gamification can provide unique and viable solutions in order to improve the quality of their everyday activities.

Our organization is eager to bring our creativity and game design expertise on the table, but to also pair them with the extensive experience and deep understanding that our partner organizations have on the fields of education and integration for people with disabilities.

We believe that the exchange of good practices between countries and experts will prove invaluable in the future dissemination of the results, allowing innovative techniques and much needed know-how to flow freely and reach each one of the participating parties, and thus the communities they represent.