From 05th to 08th of August in Sopotnica, an M3 project meeting was held within the Erasmus+ Sport project SHE LEADS. This meeting was hosted by the Mountaineering Association of Serbia. The initial plan was that candidates for mountain guide training, examples of good practice from Italy, Slovenia and Serbia, and project team members to attend the meeting. However, due to the various difficulties caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, representatives from Italy were unable to attend the meeting.
The first activity within the M3 meeting was the Exchange of Experiences – a meeting of women guides – examples of good practice with guide candidates from Serbia. In a very constructive atmosphere, examples of good practice conveyed their experiences, impressions and advice to younger colleagues. They were talking of various stages of the guide business, from the beginning to the highest peaks, problems, difficulties but also beautiful things that await them in the guide business. The candidates for the guides also had the opportunity to ask questions which contributed to turning the meeting into a real interactive exchange of experiences, which was the goal. The general impression is that this activity was really valuable for all potential new female guides and that there was a real honest synergy. After a joint dinner and a brief socializing, examples of good practice and members of the project team spent the night at the Mileseva monastery as the candidates continued their preparations for the upcoming exam.
The second day of the meeting was fully devoted to outdoor activities led by female guides. In good weather and surroundings, examples of good practice together with members of the project team had the opportunity to visit some of the most attractive hiking points in Prijepolje, part of the Canyon of the Milesevka River and the top of Celina, but also to enjoy the charms of rafting on the River Lim. A joint lunch was arranged in a local pond where the host made sure to present the gastronomic offer of this region with local products in the right way.
On the third day, outdoor activities were continued by visiting the Kamena Gora. The project participants enjoyed hiking in a beautiful setting. There is also a visit to the local tourist household, which also has a kind of ethno museum. Upon returning from hiking, a visit was organized to the treasury of the Mileseva monastery, where really valuable exhibits from our history are kept. After a short rest and respite for lunch, outdoor activities continued with a tour to the town of Milesevac, a mosque in the village of Hisardzik and st. Savas cave. Participants in the project had the honor and privilege of being personally hosted by Vladika Milesevski Atanasije at the Mileseva Monastery. In a very pleasant conversation, guests had the opportunity to learn about the history of the monastery and its importance for the preservation of our religion and traditions. Saturday was also a very important day for guide candidates. That’s the day when, after nine days of training, they took the mountain guide exam. We are pleased to note that all the girls involved in the project passed the exam and received their guide badges. And not only that, the general impression of the teaching team is that this is one of the most successful generations to have attended training.
Sunday was a day to visit a town of Prijepolje and sum up the impressions. But like the icing on the cake, sunday marked a very important date on Sopotnica. In the courtyard of the mountaineering home, a memorial ceremony was inaugurated to the first president of the Serbian Mountaineering Society, Jovan Žujovic, to mark the 120th anniversary of mountaineering in Serbia. We are extremely proud that we were all able to attend an event like this together in the company of the most prominent people from mountaineering in Serbia. This was also the best way to complete activities within the M3 meeting.