A group of 14 young people from Llandrindod Wells has recently completed a very successful visit to Contrexéville, France as part of a three way exchange with young people from Llandrindod’s twin towns of Contrexéville and Bad Rappenau, Germany. The exchange visit was organised by the Contrexéville Twinning Association with grant aid from the European Commission Erasmus+ programme that enabled the Llandrindod youngsters to meet and interact with their contemporaries from Contrexéville and Bad Rappenau.
The group travelled to Contrexéville by coach and on the way were able to visit the Thiepval Memorial that commemorates almost 73,000 soldiers who have no known grave having died on the Somme battlefields from 1915 – 1918. This moving visit was made on the 100th Anniversary of the outbreak of World War I and was a poignant reminder of the sacrifice made by young people one hundred years ago.
In Contrexéville the visitors from Llandrindod were hosted in the family homes of some of the young people they met in August 2013 when a group of fourteen young people from Contrexéville spent a week in Llandrindod Wells. On their first day in Contrexéville the Llandrindod group met their new friends from France and Germany and took part in group games together. In hot sunny weather they enjoyed a cycle ride exploring the French spa resort and playing mini-golf.
On their second day the groups went to Epinal where they visited a museum and enjoyed canoeing on the fast flowing waters of the River Moselle shooting the rapids. The following day the youngsters took part in sporting activities together, including horse riding, archery and rope climbing in a forest adventure park. One of the highlights was an opportunity to experience bungy jumping between the forest trees.
On other days the youngsters were taken to Domremy, the home village of Joan of Arc, where they were able to explore the small house where the young Joan grew up. The groups were also able to take part in a Graffiti Workshop as part of the Art in Contrexéville Festival in the Thermal Park and also enjoyed a barbecue and concert at the same event.
On their final evening the young people participated in a meal together followed by ten pin bowling. At the end of their five day stay the youngsters presented gifts of appreciation to the French youth leaders who had worked hard to make the visit such a huge success. The youngsters said they particularly valued the opportunity to be hosted in families and all expressed their thanks and appreciation for the warmth and friendship they enjoyed with their host families.
The young participants from all three countries said they would like to build on the success of the exchange and hoped grant aid can be secured to enable them all to meet up again in 2015 in Bad Rappenau, Germany.