With your stories!
It was an Amazing Week! Now the Amaze Me Leader is over. What a week it has been! It has taken over a year to plan and organize this event and it feels it was truly worth of it. It is time for thanks. First of all I would like to thank the adventurers! Thank you for coming to Finland! You have actively participated in different activities during the week. You have played our national game pesäpallo, experienced typical Finnish day beside a lake and felt positive effects of sauna, visited several rural businesses and villages etc. These all are aspects of Leader. Leader is about good life and well-being in rural areas. It is a tool to activate people to develop their neighborhood. Leader is a gateway for making new ideas to come true both in rural businesses and societies. It is an excellent tool for local development, but the power of Leader rises from people. In this work we need both young and old people, people from all
ages and from different backgrounds. During Amaze Me Leader you have shown again young people’s positive and innovative approach for new thigs. I hope your week in Finland has empowered and activated you for local development in your own neighborhood. Rural Europe needs you all! I know this week has built valuable networks between you. Perhaps you could make a transnational co-operation project some day? Amaze Me Leader has been organized and hosted by LAGs Pohjois-Kymen Kasvu, Veej’jakaka, Rajupusu, Piällysmies and Länsi-Saimaa together with South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (XAMK). Thank you all for your great effort! You have done your work with passion and joy. And that could be seen in practice. It is run difficult to run this kind of seminar, but everything has gone smoothly. It was
especially delightful to see how the students of XAMK were working, what a great professionalism! Local villages, enterprises and municipalities have hosted adventurers. Thank you for your time and hospitality! You were the ones who showed what the benefits of Leader-work are in practice. It was excellent to follow you conversation with young people. I hope there will be continuation for Amaze Me Leader in the future. We are encouraging also other countries to host Amaze Me Leader! Leader – for ideas on human scale!
Juha-Matti Markkola Network Expert, Finnish Rural Network Support Unit
How was it? Was it Funland?
So, this week has gone so fast and a lot has happened.
This week contained actions and tasks so much – we really needed lots and lots of LEADER SPIRIT!
We are glad, that you have achieved the most important goal in our adventure seminar .... The right ATTITUDE! We truly hope that you have a lot of new experiences and some new ideas that you can take home . We had an amazing time with you all! Have a safe trip back home and maybe we will see each other someday in the future. Love, Your adventure hosts
Katri and Sarah
“Nobody is smith when you are born”. Leader money have done a lot of good in all the villages we visited. And how proud everybody was presenting their achievements! I’m very proud of these people and also of us: the organizers and participants. we were eager to try everything and learn from Leader-funded entrepreneurship and rural development. We also got familiar with different cultures and habits. Remember: Let’s have FUN! – with Leader!
WE PRESENT YOU THE CAR TEAMS!
CAR 8 3
CAR 15 4
GET-TOGETHER IN HELSINKI CAR 1 Off to a good start It was a Sunday and the Latvian group departed at 12:20 to Helsinki. It was the shortest flight that we have ever experienced. It was only 45 min. When we came to Helsinki, we were given our rental cars. Then we went to the Gustavelund hotel, our meet up place and first night accommodation which was cool. We had the chance to meet each other, had a really good dinner and a good rest.
I expect more and more adventures and activities. We just hope that this week is going to be amazing. I have a feeling that this week is going to be full with activities and laughs. On Sunday we met our fellow Amaze Me Leader Adventurers. A great mix of Nations, Scotland, Finland, Latvia and Estonia. Everybody is super friendly and have the right attitude for the trip.
We are all excited for the week to come, the unknown makes it that little bit more exciting! After our welcome meeting we were put into our car groups - it's a great way to make sure we all mix with each other. I am sure there will be a lot of laughs along the way as well as new forever friendships. N! IT O G N BRI 6
DAY 1: FINNISH NATIONAL SPORT AND NATIONAL PARK Hosted by Leader Pohjois-Kymen kasvu
CAR2 Morning We woke up after a great night in a warm, comfortable bed. We all sat down for a huge breakfast to give us enough energy for the day. Moral in camp was good. Everyone seemed excited to get the day started. The trip We set off in our groups to navigate our way 7
through the Finnish countryside with a fantastic navigation app, X-Routes. I (the 18 year old,non driver from Scotland) stupidly offered to be the navigator for this trip. After an hour of blatantly missing turn offs, we decided to switch to the smarter option, our Finnish game designer who drives. We got to the first activity, baseball an hour late, but from what I saw if everyone leaving, it looked like a lot of fun. On a mission to not be the last ones to the next challenge we set off with haste, sticking with the same navigator and driver as before.
Activities In Repovesi, Baseball field Juva and Vuolenkoski We were the second group to arrive at the national park, where even in the car park we were greeted with amazing landscaped. After a quick trip to the dry toilet (which, admittedly I was a bit timid to use) we set off on a beautiful hike towards the lake and up a mountain. I am a rather over weight, city go-er, who is much more comfortable going for lunch than a jog. This hike was a bit of a test... after a bit of huffing and puffing and a bit of freaking out every time I tripped over a tree root, I made it, in near
Pesis menee kylille (baseball goes to villages) â€“ project costs 87 000 euros, of which 69 000 is provided by Leader and the EU. The idea of the project is that a professional sports team offers a possibility for kids to try sports for free in their home villages within Kouvola. The project also includes a virtual school for pesĂ¤pallo
enough one piece, to the top. I'm not sure what I can even say about the surroundings. I'll leave the pictures to speak for themselves. After this, we headed to where would be staying for the evening. I am writing this currently lying in a sleeping bag in an old town hall, surrounded by the sound of 54 happy, chatty participants. We arrived to a huge, delicious dinner. We were asked to do a small evaluation, before being invited to some traditional Finnish saunas and for a dip in the pond. It was the perfect way to unwind. We all spent some time playing games, eating barbecued sausages and chatting by the fire. I'm proud to admit that the Perth and Kinross Leader team were the first to venture into the pond, and that myself and Ida bet all the guys at mรถlkky. I think per-
sonally my favorite parts of the day have to be the driving and the hike. It has been completely amazing seeing a bit of rural Finland, and I'm excited to see more. Entrepreneurs Business Today met people who make the most of their tiny town. This town has around 500 residents, but through enterprise they really put themselves on the map. From the people with the portable sauna, to the national park who gave us the task of coming up with ideas on how they can improve what they already do. We've had a taste of everything.
Repovesi national park is a part of RVK tomorrow, a co-operation project for tourism SMEs funded by Leader. The goal of the project is to explore new business ideas for tourism and hospitality related to Finnish nature and to co-operate under one name.
This is Megan, signing out before the light from the iPad annoys everyone trying to sleep. Onward to day 2 8
DAY 2: RURAL LAKELAND FINLAND AS A RESOURCE FOR TOURISM Hosted by Leader Veej’jakaja
CAR 3 Morning The morning was an early one. Everyone was feeling tired but also excited for the day ahead. Breakfast was served and after we made our way to the next checkpoint. Half way our car made a stop by a lake where one of us needed a swim to wake up. Activities in Niinisaari Once our destination was reached, the entire camp 9
split into three groups. Each group had different activities throughout the day. Our group first of all went on a walk through the near by forest with a local tour guide. After this, we made iron nails at the blacksmith and learned about other entrepreneur opportunists such as kayaking/canoeing or enjoying the sauna. As final activity we picked blackberries and tasted the wine which had been produced by the local wine brewer.
Highlights The day was a very eventual and engaging but very fun and not too much. One of our favorite parts of the day was with the blacksmith making our own nails. This was a new experience and interesting to learn how these metal pieces are made in parts of Finland. However there were a few challenges such as the back breaking work of picking fruit berries by hand out of the fields and the challenging mind Koskenselkä campsite games set out before bed Puumala time when everyone is tired Later that day we traveled to and sleepy. our campsite for the which we a few mini-games which the X-Routes team which included making paper airplanes.
Okkola Holiday Cottages, Goosemeadow blacksmith’s parlour and the Temola Winery have all received 35% EAFRD/Leader funding in their investments in machinery, premises and realestate.
CAR 4 Morning We rolled off our camping mats feeling slightly tired but grateful for the warm and filling traditional Finnish porridge we were served for breakfast. The people at Vuolenkoski were very welcoming and we all loved the sauna and swim the night before. We started out on our three hour journey. Driving had been smooth so far so we were surprised to see the flashing lights of a police motorbike behind us an hour into the journey. He breathalised our driver but of course found no alcohol. Laughing and joking with us, the policeman sent us on our way. We then stopped for well deserved ice cream and, of course, Heidi bought her favorite liquorice!
He took us on a tour of the forest, telling us the history of his family business going back several generations. KoskenselkĂ¤ campsite Puumala It was a long day but very rewarding - and our team really bonded over the evening tasks with the X-Routes team. Everyone has different skills in our team and using our different talents effecActivities in Niinisaari Next, we heard from an en- tively has been a big chalWhen we arrived at the next trepreneur who makes berry lenge but we are getting there! checkpoint at Niinisaari we wine during the summer went straight for lunch. We months. After harvesting were part of the orange team some berries ourselves, we so went to hear from a black- tasted some of the wine, smith, who let us hammer which was delicious. our own nails, and his wife who showed us where they Finally, we heard from anothrent kayaks, canoes and er entrepreneur who owns their sauna. They stressed the restaurant, cottages and that good internet was really path in the forest. He asked important for attracting us to look for practices we customers and exporting could use in our own counproducts. tries and suggest new ideas. 10
DAY 3: FINNISH SUMMER COTTAGE LIFE AND SURVIVING IN THE NATURE Hosted by XAMK Car 5 Morning Breakfast was very good and everyone sat with people they hadn't spoken to already. Activities at OravanpesĂ¤t We all really enjoyed the fishing, learning how to make a fishing rod from scratch was very cool and a good skill to have.
Everyone enjoyed getting out onto the lake canoeing. It was hard work but the view was worth it. We went to bonfire and listen to live music by an accordionist which was magical, a great end to the day. Awards were given out and our
group got runner up for the ideas we gave to national park. Chloe also got a gift for posting a dinner picture. To finish off the day most of us headed to the sauna - this was the first time on the trip we had the chance to go to a smoke sauna. Entrepreneurs business They set up the business in 2007 offering holiday cabins. The resort has cabins and 4 saunas - one smoke, one electric and 2 wood- and is now open all year round. Their main customers are people who want to stop overnight when canoeing from Juva to Sulkava. The resort also offers canoe hire. They also do events throughout the year. They also collaborate with other busi-
nesses in the area to offer more to their customers. Best part of the day and challenge overcome Venla- playing volleyball, it was good fun and something she had never played before Aneta - making fishing rodchallenge overcome was sleeping in tent Angelika- Sleeping in the kota (pancake hut) which was warm and quiet. Chloe - fishing also- challenge of putting worm on hook.
with every next day. Yep the day everyone was waiting for. Sleeping in tents and for some just outside on the bench has to be good. Great. It was just great.
Car 6 Morning In the morning of the third day of our Amazing journey we felt quite exhausted because yesterday was quite a lot of rush and driving around. The cottages were extraordinarily comfortable so we had an excellent sleep though and by the end of the breakfast we were ready for the next drive. Our next destination was in OravanpesĂ¤t ("the squirrel nest!") and surprise surprise it turned out to be the day of relaxation and
we had all the time to enjoy everything these kind people had to offer starting from canoeing and fishing, ending with some unique sauna experiences. Enjoying yourself and the nature fully is not easy so the idea was to learn to or just grasp it a little bit. The best part as usual was the saunas. There were 4 saunas to choose from. Electric sauna, traditional smoke sauna and two more traditional saunas. We were eager to try them all and we did. It seems that saunas get better and better
Entrepreneurs business Organizer of this beautiful place made a good job on making sure there is possibility for everyone to experience as much as Finnish nature has to offer. We learned about the owner and how he worked with LEADER to develop his dream, providing a scenic, relaxing place for many peace-seeking visitors in Finland. LEADER helped pay for his equipment and the steam sauna, one of 4 fantastic saunas for all visitors to use. He was a very welcoming host.
The owner of OravanpesĂ¤t Pasi Vironen worked with Leader to develop his dream, providing a scenic, relaxing place for many peace-seeking visitors in Finland. Leader helped pay for his equipment and the smoke sauna, one of four saunas for all visitors to use.
DAY 4: RURAL YOUTH ORGANISATIONS AND AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH Hosted by Leader Rajupusu CAR 7 Krish, our driver for the day, felt excited for the rumored 6 hours of driving he would be doing, first stop Kaitainen. In Kaitainen we visited the center where Finnish people go to play frisbeegolf. LEADER provided funding to build a cottage where the local team could meet and also to build frisbee tracks/equipment. Next we were sent to the local LEADER office in Juva. This was built in 1909 and was originally the doctors house. The types of funding requests here include villages who want to develop their area and businesses who want to grow. We took a look around the building and Roosa and Alex did some work.
Juva Truffle Centre has received Leader-funding for three projects (budgets total 180500â‚Ź) aiming to develop the orchard and make the business more profitable.
including renovations in the kitchen and the seating area of the theatre. 120 people play in 8 different musical bands within the theatre. Groups joined together to produce a short choreographed dance to Hairspray Tornado, a musical theatre, in "We Can't Stop The Beat". Feeling hot and sweaty we Rantasalmi. Leader have began our roadtrip to the helped to fund 6/7 projects next check point. Our next adventure was in Partala and involved being photographers. Our photos were the best! Lunch in Juva High School, tasted very good and it was good to get a change from Ham temptation!
Leader support has enabled the landscaping of the Kaitainen village and the renovation of the buildings along the village road. Leader-funded projects have also helped with processing the meat from hunted animals further and more hygienically and activating the youngsters of the village for sports and physical activity.
We stayed in a sports complex in Sulkava on Thursday night after visiting Soutustadion which is a famous rowing center. Soutastadion was founded in 1630 and is now a famous tourist attraction for its beautiful nature, water trips around the island and yearly rowing race. LEADERs help allowed the centre to market internationally and also allowed instructors the ability to teach children from
The Brass band of Rantasalmi and itâ€™s suborganisation Youth theater of Rantasalmi have undergone six Leader-funded projects, mostly focused on renovation of the music- and concert hall Tornado and equipment investments, but also on marketing development, local co-operation and development of the organization itself. The total budget of these projects is about 250 000 â‚Ź, Leader funding constituting 5075%.
Visit Sulkava-project has received 70% Leader support of their total budget of 69 815 â‚Ź. The goal of the project is to strengthen the co-operation between the actors of the village, to improve the availability and the range of tourism products. This will be done by using local traditions and stories, which will be gathered during the project.
a young age. Group 7 think the best part of the day was the rowing, some of us had never done it before so it was a great place to experience it for the fist time and we also really enjoyed the food at the school. 16
DAY 5: MEDIEVAL CASTLE AS A RESOURCE FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP / DIGITAL NATURE EXPERIENCES Hosted by Leader Piällysmies CAR 9 The week has taken its toll, but adventure awaits I was tired when I woke up. But the mood was good because we were waiting for the new challenges. A historic castle tour to kick off the day The castle was interesting because we learned new information about the history of the castle. We travelled many centuries backwards in time. The activities (shooting and dressing up to medieval clothes and harness) were very interesting because they let us become residents of the castle. 17
The Olavinlinna castle is an important partner of the KultRinki project: a Culture and Sport Companion service that has established a new way to do voluntary work in the Piällysmies Leader area. It aims to lower the threshold to use cultural and sports activities. KultRinki project has a budget of 76 200€ of which 70% is covered by leader funding.
Impressive rural entrepreneurs The entrepreneur at Hepokatti did amazing job working with many species of animals and making their own traditional paint which was used to paint houses. Saimaalife was very interesting and ordinary work to write about Mari Pennanen's life in Saimaa to help busy people in big cities who don't have access to nature to relax. It is an amazing idea and lifestyle which is her job in the same time. Rewarding new experiences Animals in the farm and shooting in the castle were the best part of our day. The biggest challenge was the heavy rain but it also was an amazing opportunity to experience the changing weather in Finland. Thank you for this day
SaimaaLife / Quality To Life Naturally Ltd. received a start -up grant of 27,471.â‚Ź(100%) in 2016 and support for investment 2 030â‚Ź (35%)
Maria Utti was involved with the Sytyke project of the Savonlinna 4H Association as a co-operative (a project against the social exclusion of young people). B&B Hepokatti's role in the project was to bring entrepreneurship perspective to design and to encourage young people to develop and implement new services. Non-profit development project 2013-2014, 39200 â‚Ź support 80%.
DAY 6: NATURE RESOURCES PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP Hosted by Leader LĂ¤nsi-Saimaa CAR 11 Morning nostalgia Soooo, this in our last day on Amaze me leader 2017 in Finland. We had great night in farms, nice morning shower, tasty breakfast and new checkpoints to explore. We visited great rock workshop, we made some jewelry, had great tortillas on our lunch, visited rock mine, get lost on Finnish woods, saw bear food prints on muds..... fun fun fun!
Finland, Scotland, Latvia and Estonia. We will miss all our new friends, adventure and nature.
Wishing you all well But in each bad thing are also some good things. We will bring home a lot of experience, inspiration, international contacts and beautiful pictures. We have learned how to use nature and nature resources for own business - lakes, woods, trees, rocks, muds, animals The best part is still left! etc.... Leader is great Now we are on our way to opportunity for countryside "god bay party"! We are so people to develop exited, to see all together and environment. Don't waste see, what we have done on ideas, time and recourses! whole week. We have been on Thank you all for great week long trip, visited Finnish together! Hope you all see in country side, done a lot of some other event! creative job on workshops, Have a great adventures in met friendly people from rest of summer!
DAY 7: WINNERS AND FAREWELL
CAR 12 We will miss getting up early every morning and going on an adventure, visiting new and exciting locations, and being introduced to entrepreneurs and their businesses. But most of all we will miss our new friends that we have made during this amazing adventure. We have all learnt more about LEADER through the various projects we have visited, such as SaimaaLife which is defiantly team Svinhufvud's favorite project. Some of us have improved our English skills, and some of use have learnt some basic Finish, Estonian and Latvian. As part of this experience we have learnt a great deal about Finish culture.
Many of the Scott's have been introduced to saunas for the first time (an activity they are keen to take back home). We would not be surprised if we also brought home Antti as he has been in our car for the whole trip :) . A major part of this trip has been working with new people and subsequently we have all developed our teamwork skills which we can take home, along with great memories of lake Saimaa. The scenery has been amazing, as has been the food and the great LEADER staff.
THE WINNING TEAM: WITH 710 POINTS Team Runenberg Herkko King Skye Sarahs Sandra Vecragane
LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEXT ADVENTURE! Still eager to travel around and get to know local entrepreurs and the accomplishments of Leader groups? No worries! We were lucky enough to host visitors from the Scottish Leader group Dumfire & Galloway during our camp. After touring around Amaze Me Leader Finland 2017 for a few days in the closing ceremony LAG manager Nicola Hill hinted that they are looking into organizing a corresponding event in Scotland in 2018. Weâ€™ll keep checking our mail for the invitations!
The stories for this magazine were collected and edited by
Brigitta Anenou & Kaisa Talvitie 22
Adventure seminar Amaze me Leader 13.-20.8.2017 in Finland. Stories made by participants.