In the beginning the association was mostly a family project whose main social action was organizing summer camps (at low values and free for children from vulnerable groups) and Training for Summer Camp counselors.
Many children who participated in the summer camps returned for several years, creating a true family and friendly spirit. As time went on it was clear that inclusion was the main value of the project. Summer camps and trainings had always been created rooted in this value: fulfilling the aim of integrating children, youth and adults from all walks of life regardless of race, religion or culture, providing moments when they feel confident and integrated not only in their experience on summer camps and trainings, as well as on their friend’s group, school, within their families and community. Learning through practical experience about tools for life.
The association was legally established on June 21st 1994 and it’s statutes published in Diário da Republica – III Series, No. 184, 10/08/1994, p. 14560. It was created as a non-profitable educational and recreational association. In 2009 the association’s statutes were changed so that in 2011 it could become a Private Social Solidarity Institution (PSSI). It is also in the National Register of Youth Associations (Registo Nacional de Associações Juvenis) (R.N.A.J.) since 2001. During the year 2015 it adapted new statutes to the new laws of the PISS.
The association progressed developing different programs not only for children and youth but also for adults and elderly, reflecting greater inter-generational awareness in their actions.
What followed was an exponential period of educational programs and strategic partnerships (mainly in social sphere), which offer the national and international community equal opportunities for learning, recreation, inclusion, creativity and social empowerment of the individual.
The association has began its work with different vulnerable groups in schools, families, institutions, communities, what are some examples as follows:
1994 -To the present date: Summer Camps Program Novas Descobertas – with institutions and social-oriented projects – e.g. Art Summer Camp – inclusion through the arts (ENCONTROARTE) Project “escolhas” PISCJA ; CASLAS – Lagos Youth Home); evolution towards regenerative action since 2010, the summer camps are currently a social and educational program for regeneration with more than 26 years of concrete experiential socio-ecological learning and experienced by young people from 6 to 18 years old.
1999 – To the present date: Counselors Training Program PND + Educational Volunteer Experience (for youth and young adults from vulnerable groups);
2000 – 2009: Cultural Exchanges, International Work Camps (France, Norway, Poland, Egypt, Italy and Germany) and the creation of an international association website (under the European program “Juventude em Ação”);
2000 – Present Date: Community events and activities of local impact (in partnership with the Portuguese Youth Institute – Instituto Português da Juventude);
2001-2015: Courses in the areas of intergenerational and social inclusion (e.g. traditional crafts, activities and other traditions.);
2001-2013: Creation of free spaces of leisure activities for disadvantaged communities in the Algarve (under the support of “Apoio Juvenil e Apoio infraestrutural” and “Instituto Português do Desporto e da Juventude”);
2002-2004: PND Traditional Portoguese games (all over the country, joining parents, grandparents and children and in partnership with several Portuguese municipal chambers);
2007- To the present date: Permaculture Design Courses, internships and courses for Permaculture Teachers as well as training actions for environmental and social regeneration (e.g. S3 sociocracy, Permaculture teachers training …)
2009-2012: environmental education program for schools (including the Portuguese school educational programs from 1st to 12th grade –program certified by the ministry of education);
2013 – To the present date: “Ecosystem regeneration Camp” program – local and national work camps offering free practical training of soil and ecosystem regeneration (two camps per year, spring and autumn)
2014 – To the present date: International Work Camps focusing on regeneration temathics: programs financed by the Portuguese Institute of Sport and Youth, with more than 5 partners: “Planting the rain” (2014); “Plating Climate Changes” (2020).
2015 – To the present date: “Days on the farm: schools and groups” – education for social and environmental regeneration, for schools and groups focused on the theme SUSTAINABILITY.