Marion and Valérie of the Valenciennes Development Council initiated the project in November 2019 to help young people take ownership of their own Development Council. Facilitated by Célicia Theys and Jean-Louis Lamboray (The Constellation Belgium), the meetings in 2020 allowed the group to build a common dream for Valenciennes and to reflect on how to materialise it. Thereby was born the project of the Talents Festival of the Valenciennes Region which was to be held in June 2020. Its objective: to allow young people to showcase the area’s talents and to offer an experience where everyone, having become aware of their talents, is encouraged to express them with confidence and joy.
COVID-19 has of course turned these plans upside down, transforming the daily lives of the young people. They juggle schoolwork and other commitments (civic service or other). Many are also driven by the desire to reconnect with their own creativity and engage in activities that do them good. A WhatsApp group helped to keep the link alive, and Zoom meetings allowed to share experiences and activities undertaken to unwind (drawing, meditation, yoga, cooking, writing, nature…). Jean-Louis and Célicia also worked several times with Marion and Valérie to find ways to accompany the youths in the most accurate and coherent way.
Thursday, the 2nd of July, we reconnected meeting in a park. The youth told us about their experiences, their desires and their needs. Organise the Festival in the public space to celebrate life and talent? Create a movement on the internet to put people’s talents in the spotlight? Or, quite simply, reconnecting to ourselves, our talents and desires, which brings us alive and connects us to others. Whether the concrete project is successful or not, Marion assures us that “this process allows us to realise that the path is more important than the destination,” and she affirms that, for her part, “the path has transformed her.”
Authors: Anne Brouha and Celicia Theys