The Erasmus+ Sport project, entitled Skills for Health & Sport in EU Small Communities, is carrying on with great fanfare. In fact, the third stage has just happened: the one that saw Mestna Občina Krško, a Slovenian town of 26,000 inhabitants, hosting the other delegations from Gaglianico (IT), Viana do Alentejo (PT), and Svilengrad (BG).
The Slovenian administration has given its best to show its territory, its attractions, and its best practices dedicated to sports activities for the whole community and especially for youngsters.
The entire team made up of four delegations met on Tuesday, September 6 at the Tri lučke, a fabulous location surrounded by vines, and with a fantastic view over the city of Krško. During this occasion, the adventure of the Italian group also ended: they reached the structure by bicycle, departing from Italy several days earlier, and covering some 700, some 900 km, and about 2,000 meters of positive elevation gain. The company’s goal was to raise public awareness and raise money for prostate cancer research.
Wednesday, the day started with a visit to the sports facilities, on the occasion of the Športofešta, a day (in reality it then extends to an entire promotional week) dedicated to youth sports, a mini summer sports Olympics dedicated to school children. We were able to appreciate the vastness and quality of the facilities, the organizational skills of the staff, and the overall result which is clearly motivating students of that age range to practice sports. Both indoor and outdoor, the kids lived an intense day, full of emotions that they will never forget, just like our delegations, who were able to try some sports, such as tennis, ultimate frisbee, climbing, archery, rowing, and a few others.
In the early afternoon, after a leisurely lunch in the most historic restaurant in Krško, we spent some time visiting the ancient and precious library of the city, which houses books of immense value. This library has been replaced by a brand new structure, just inaugurated, and in step with the times.
Later we were able to stroll throughout the cute town, visiting some monuments and the historical museum. All these spaces are well preserved and cared for. The pedestrian center is neat, colorful, and quiet.
Day 1 ends with a splendid and tasty dinner, and some joyful dancing.
Thursday opens with the long-awaited visit to the Krško nuclear power plant (Nuklearna Elektrarna Krško). We had the opportunity to be guided by Jure Jazbinšek, a nuclear physicist, to discover the venue that is already forty years old, will still live twenty, and is hyper-modern. We went throughout the World of Energy, an area dedicated to visitors in order to get to know about the PWR reactor that characterizes this plant. Facts and figures, comparisons with more ordinary energy sources such as gas and coal, the safety protocols, and the efforts for constant renovation. Then, before leaving the facility, the delegations also saw the area dedicated to the youngest: an incredibly smart and efficient space to explain the world of nuclear physics and energy production in an easy and immediate way to students.
After a good dose of science, experiments, and curiosity, the group turned to the purest fun, reaching the RaceLand Adrenalina circuit for a Go-Kart challenge. First a briefing, then some practice, and finally the race: we started with the idea of having fun, but then a bit of competitiveness came out! The fact is that at lunchtime all the competitors had a big smile on their faces! An ideal activity for team building carried out in an avant-garde structure as always.
In the afternoon the weather conditions change radically, and the rain comes. This way the planned canoe ride is canceled, due to the presence of many lightning strikes. Here is the solution: jump on board the minibus heading to the Cistercian monastery in Kostanjeviška na Krki, an absolutely unexpected place, enormous in its dimensions. A quick visit to the whole complex, and then the delegations carry on with another destination: the Kostanjeviška caves. It is a system about 2 kilometers long at the foot of the Gorjanci mountain range characterized by the lively karst terrain with Cretaceous limestones. In 1937 the floodwaters formed the nowadays entrance, while in 1971 electricity was introduced which thus allowed the current route, about three hundred meters long, to be opened to the public.
Superb evening at the Tri lučke, with dinner in the company of the mayor of Krško, Miran Stanko, and three orchestra professors from the local music school who, with two violins and a cello, made the evening magical. The evening was therefore an opportunity for the exchange of gifts and gadgets, but above all, of information and comparisons between the mayors of the various communities involved.
On Friday morning seriousness and commitment are on the pot again to face the long-awaited moment of confrontation represented by the round table organized by Luka Šebek, the president of the sports association Krško. The delegations sat down at Dvorana v parku (meeting hall at the park) to discuss topics of sport and health, starting with an interesting and fundamental survey by Eurostat about sporting habits in Europe, and continuing with a discussion based on another series of data, collected in the previous days directly by the participants of the table. It was a very constructive moment, and above all able to provide inspiration to all those who participated since the group spent almost three hours debating not only on a general line, but also on details that can make a difference. It was also important to share the current situation in the different contexts from which the delegations come, often different in habits and culture, but also very similar in targets and needs.
The main common goal on which it is necessary to work is precisely to find ways to motivate young people to play sports as much as possible, also combining the concepts of health and fun. The task is not easy because you have to face different situations according to each country, however, it is the right way to go to obtain solid results.
At the end of the round table phase, a representative from each delegation was interviewed by the television broadcaster e-Posavje about the project and the experience lived in Krško.
In the afternoon, a pleasant visit to the Grad Rajhenburg (Brestanica Castle) took place. The venue carries with it a very long history that begins between 1131 and 1147, when the castle was built on top of a 60-meter-high rock, between the confluence of the Sava and Brestanica rivers. Inside, a spectacular restoration has renewed the common areas, while preserving portions in the Romanesque and Gothic styles at their best. In 1881, Rajhenburg Castle was bought by Trappist monks and converted into a monastery and remained active until April 1941, when the German authorities transformed the area into a deportation camp for Slovenes. In 1947, the Trappist order was dissolved and the castle was nationalized. In June 1948, a penal and correctional facility for women was established. In 1968, an exhibition on Slovene deportees was established at the castle. Ever since, the structure has been predominately serving as a museum and an event venue. After the denationalization procedures concluded in 2004, the castle became the property of the Municipality of Krško.
All good times sooner or later come to an end, and the Krško administration has been able to make the last evening together very special with a fantastic tasting of local wines, a phenomenal dinner, and a joyful party afterwards. All together it was the icing on a wonderful cake.
Summing up, it can be said that these meetings prove to be of enormous value. They facilitate the sharing of information, the exchange of ideas, allow people to know different realities from your own, and identify goals and solutions for everyone. Surely it is also important to do follow-up work to evaluate the results within the individual administrations. In this specific case, Krško has shown that it is particularly focused on motivating pupils to practice sports, on taking care of and maintaining the countless sports facilities at a high level by investing in material, people and know-how. A strong analysis of the work that is being done, and precise planning of future actions to be put in place are certainly the flagship of the Slovenian administration in terms of sport.