Generation Unlimited: a generation full of ideas and goals
Generation Unlimited bootcamp in Dilijan brings together adolescents and young people to develop solutions to development issues.
The celebration of the Republic Day in Armenia took a special meaning this year, as over 50 adolescents and young people, of 14 to 24 ages, representing Armenia’s six regions and the capital city of Yerevan came together in Dilijan for the Generation Unlimited Bootcamp. Over two days, participating teams worked to further develop their ideas and turn them into projects that can be implemented to tackle social issues in their communities. As one third of young people do not work or study in Armenia, initiatives such as Generation Unlimited, also aim to unleash the creative and entrepreneurial potential of young people and prepare them for the labor market.
At the Bootcamp, we spoke to a group of participants and here’s what they told us about their experience.
“I had the opportunity to present my programme to experienced professionals, get their advice to develop it further with new ideas. It is the purpose of my life. All of this contributes to my goal of building my future in Armenia. If young people are able to find work in our country, they will not think about emigrating and will contribute to the development of the country.”
“This was the first time I heard about an elevator pitch – managing to present or sell your project in the time that it takes for an elevator to go a few floors. At first, we couldn't even imagine how it could be done, but we prepared well and gained a lot of knowledge of how to present and implement a project. In general, these opportunities are crucial, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, physical interactions were limited, so these types of opportunities allow us to make new friends, new contacts, and new connections.”
“I learned a lot of new things about marketing, like how to prepare an attractive slideshow and promote a product. I realized how important it is to consider who your customer is, how you can differ from your competitors and how to build communication by emphasizing this uniqueness. By participating in Generation Unlimited, we also became interested in other things. For example, we learned new things about climate change as a team. It's been really fun!”
“I learned new things here that I did not know before: how to properly present my ideas, how to improve my public speaking skills and put together my speech. Programmes that promote youth activism are much needed. There is a lot of active youth in the regions. There should be adequate opportunities for them to make a difference.”
“This is my first time participating in such a programme. There are very few opportunities like these in our village, if at all. We were the first in our school [to participate] and I am glad that this will serve as an example for other young people in the school to participate, learn new things, and not miss out on this important opportunity. I think I am better prepared now if in the future I decide to start a business.”
“For me, the most important aspect [of the program] is that I heard the opinion of professionals and other young people, understood some of the issues and benefits of my project and how to improve it. It was an interesting experience that gives us the opportunity to think more broadly, create and present an Armenian product in an Armenian way of thinking.”
“For the past three years, I have taken several online classes, which have been quite boring. Offline learning and these types of opportunities are so much more efficient. These initiatives push us, the young people, to leave our comfort zones so that we can grow and develop.”
“I learned a lot of new things during the course, but I was most impressed by the problem tree. I had never analyzed a problem this way. You write the issues in the middle [of the tree], the reasons in its roots, and the consequences in its branches. This method allows us to understand the problem and offer solutions. In this short time, I learned to express my thoughts better and to learn what my peers living in other regions think.”
“Out of 109 applications, 12 projects from six different regions—Kotayk, Shirak, Vayots Dzor, Yerevan, Tavush, and Syunik, were selected. I am thrilled that young people have the opportunity to offer concrete solutions to specific problems in their communities. As a result, they get to know each other and get acquainted with the problems of other communities in Armenia as well. Our goal is for them to leave as a part of a larger, cohesive community and think of collaborative solutions for both their communities and for all of Armenia.”
As a result of the Bootcamp, eight projects were selected by the jury to receive US$1,000 to implement their project as well as receive further technical support from relevant professionals. Out of these eight, two projects will be further selected to compete in the global Generation Unlimited competition in July.