Young people from Argyll and Bute have welcomed a group of visitors from Germany for a successful exchange visit.
A total of 15 young Germans spent an action-packed week with their local hosts in Oban and Rothesay.
The visit followed a trip last year by the Argyll and Bute group to Amberg-Sulzbach in Bavaria, which is twinned with this area.
The project been declared such a success, the exchange is set to be repeated.
During their time on Bute and in Oban, the group tried a host of activities.
Highlights included a mini highland games, a ceilidh with musicians from Argyll Ceilidh Trail, gorge walking in Musdale and the chance to try bagpipes and drums courtesy of Rothesay and District Pipe Band.
Theme of the exchange was health and wellbeing and the group completed and compared health diaries and the results of a survey they carried out between themselves.
They also visited a number of community projects in Oban and on Bute to find out how they contribute to health and wellbeing in their communities.
Both the Rothesay and Oban groups were full of praise for the exchange programme.
Jennifer Murray said: “It was good to meet up with the German group again, renewing friendships and making new ones.
“It was interesting to see the differences between Scotland and Germany in the health and wellbeing survey results.
“I really enjoyed the gorge walk but the highlight was being able to show the Germans around Bute and my home town of Rothesay.”
Fellow participant, Gene Palmer of Oban, said: “On both the German and Scottish legs of the exchange we all learned a lot more about the health and wellbeing topic at hand.
“We learned the difference in culture and various vocabulary that created a strong bond between the two groups, who will stay in contact online.”
During the exchange, the Scots and the Germans compared their attitudes to diet, exercise and mental and physical health. Overall both have a positive outlook and a similar level of physical exercise, and identified lack of motivation as the biggest barrier to exercise in their age group. The German young people have a healthier diet and the Scots use social media more.
The Argyll and Bute teenagers – all members of youth forums – will now aim to identify some approaches to address the issues raised in their research.
Staff from Argyll and Bute Council’s youth services team organise and support the exchange project.
Funding for the project came from the council, Argyll and Bute Trust, Foundation Scotland, Argyll and Bute and Wellbeing Network, Bute Drugs and Alcohol Forum, Bute Common Good Fund, For Bute and Rothesay Rotary Club. In-kind support was provided by Historic Scotland and Mount Stuart Educational Trust.
NOTE TO EDITORS
Argyll and Bute and the Bavarian region of Amberg-Sulzbach have been twinned since 1967.