Rural Voices 3/2016

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03 / 2016 The Rural Youth Europe Magazine RYEurope on EU Structured Dialogue 10 14 History of RYEurope

12 RYEurope Strategic Work


Autumn Seminar

Rural Youth Europe Rural Youth Europe (RYEurope) is a European nongovernmental organisation for rural youth. Established in 1957, it is an umbrella for youth organisations working to promote and activate young people in the countryside. It provides international training possibilities and works as an intermediary between national organisations and youth organisations and public institutions at the European level. Rural Youth Europe is a member-led organisation: democratically constituted, the organisation is led by young people for young people. Rural Youth Europe unites 20 member organisations across 18 European countries. The membership base is over 500,000 young people who either live in rural areas or have an interest in rural life. If your organisation is interested to join Rural Youth Europe or you would like more information about our events, please contact or check our website

Rural Voices Rural Voices is published by Rural Youth Europe. Views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of Rural Youth Europe. Text may include informal translations of statements and documents. Reproduction of articles is authorised provided the source is quoted and copies of the article are sent to Rural Youth Europe. This newsletter is published with the support of the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe and Erasmus+ of European Commission. The editors express their gratitude for all received articles and encourage every member organisation to contribute and to enrich this magazine. SECRETARY GENERAL: Jenni Heinonen RESPONSIBLE EDITOR: Mikko Välitalo ADDRESS: Karjalankatu 2A, 00520 Helsinki, Finland PHONE: + 358 45 234 5629 E-MAIL: office@rural WEBSITE: CONCEPT & LAYOUT: Júlia Hentz PHOTO-CREDITS: Rural Youth Europe, its members and participants of events

CONTENT 3 C h a i r m a n ’s foreword 4 -5 G oin g o n in Europe 6 -9 Autumn seminar 1 0 -11 R u r a l Yo u t h Europe represents its members in EU Structured Dialogue 12 -13 R u r a l Yo u t h Europe Strategic work 14 -17 H i s t o r y o f R u r a l Yo u t h E u r o p e - Par t I 18 -19 G r e e t i n g s f r o m members 20 Calendar

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CHAIR M AN’S FOR E WOR D Hello everyone and welcome to the Autumn edition of Rural Voices! First of all I would like to say how delighted and honoured I am to have been elected as chairman of Rural Youth Europe. Some of you I will know already but I look forward to meeting many new faces and visiting your organisations during the next two years. It is also great to be working with the new board team (which you can ‘meet’ below) and the staff at the Rural Youth Europe office in Helsinki. We’re a really enthusiastic and thoughtful group, and here to listen, so your organisation is in good hands. As you may have seen on our Facebook page we recently met for our handover meeting with the old board in Finland. One of the vital pieces of work we will be continuing into next year is the development of a future strategy for Rural Youth Europe. This will help to give us all focus and direction in the changing European climate, and ensure that the organisation remains relevant and up to date. We look forward to your continued involvement in this process. We will announce some of the outcomes in the Spring edition of Rural Voices. For now you can enjoy this copy, learn about recent inspiring events, goings on across Europe and news from our partner organisations. In closing, the board and I would like to wish you a very happy Christmas and successful new year.

Russ Carrington Chairman

J O B O P O LY I N FINNISH Do you remember Jobopoly, the board game Rural Youth Europe created at Study Session 2015 in Strasbourg? Finnish 4H found it so useful for the training that they provide to their members that they made a version in Finnish! If you are interested in creating a version of Jobopoly in your own language, please contact the office for further details.

HANDOVER BOAR D MEETING IN FINL AND The board of Rural Youth Europe met in Finland for their first physical gathering since the new board was elected in August.


The annual handover meeting involves the incoming board setting out its priorities for the coming term and the outgoing members imparting knowledge and useful tips to those in their new roles. It helps to ensure that there is consistency in the organisation’s leadership and governance. The weekend-long meeting comprised many sessions devoted to RYEurope business, strategic planning, organising upcoming events and assessing potential opportunities for the further development of the organisation. Incoming Chairperson Russell Carrington afterwards commented that the weekend had been “a real success” and feels that “the dynamic leadership team are now ready to face the year ahead with enthusiasm and ambition. “The future of Europe is a particular concern for many of the half a million young people that RYEurope represents, so we look forward to playing our part in addressing issues such as migration over the next 12 months.”

RU R A L YO U T H EUROPE NOW ON YO U T U B E Did you know that Rural Youth Europe now has a channel on YouTube? Find videos made at this years study session and much more. Enjoy watching!

Pictured left is Kätlin M. RYEurope board member for Eastern Europe, Mikko V. board member for the Nordic countries and representing the board of RYEurope at the event, and Kadri T, former chairman of RYEurope and now president of Estonia 4H.

Estonian 4H anniversar y Rural Youth Europe joined the celebration of the Estonian 4H organisation’s 25th anniversary in Kose, Estonia. We were delighted to be part of this very special event. The night included awards for volunteers, congratulatory speeches and plenty of fun and games of course. Rural Youth Europe encourages Estonian 4H to keep on doing the great work you already do!

Rural Youth Europe wishes a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of its members, prep team members and participants. Your time and effort made it possible to organise successful events in 2016. Thank you!


When we got the invitation to the Autumn seminar from “Rural Youth Europe”, we had lots of questions in our heads: What exactly is Rural Youth Europe? What is the topic about? Who is going to take part in this event? We found out quickly that RYEurope is a youth organisation from the rural areas that has many member organisations from Europe. The topic was about how we could involve all of our members into our events and how we can be an association that is open to everyone.

Autumn Seminar The day of departure to Oslo came closer and closer. From the plane window, we got our first impressions of Norway and one of our first thoughts was, that there is so much forest everywhere. Before going to the venue, we had a look around Oslo. Then we took the train to Drammen, where a bus drove all participants to the beautiful venue. With a lot of funny games, we got to know all the other people in the evening.


After the first day, where we did many teambuilding exercises, we finally started with the topic: Think, Love, Move, Do. Our first task was to say what social inclusion means to us. To specify that, we also discussed what we see as a disability and what as an ability and why. Here it was very nice to see that some of us changed our opinions because someone else mentioned something that another person hadn’t thought about before. During the seminar, we also learned many interesting facts about rural youth associations in other countries. We discovered that the German speaking organisations and the English Young Farmer organisations are similar to the ones we know from home. But the work from the 4H organisations was quite new to us and we have never heard of a 4H Farm before, so this was very interesting for us. Participants from Germany share their experience of the Autumn Seminar this year.

“ T h i n k , L o v e, M o v e, D o â€? i n N o r w a y. Par ticipants from G ermany share their exper ience of the Autumn Seminar this year From day to day we went deeper into the topic and talked about all the things we should have in mind when organising an event. At the end of the week every country group prepared something to take home and try to implement in our home

countries. That was very nice, because now we have something to present and show at home. After working all day, we had a very good programme in the evenings too. The first highlight was the international evening, where everyone dressed up in traditional cloths from their country and prepared something to eat for the whole group. Whilst walking around all the different tables of all countries, we got to know a lot about the different cultures. We also had lots of fun at Viking night, where we did many typical Viking games. The campfire evening and the folk dance were great as well. The final evening was the best from all. We all dressed up and went into the dining room to have our final dinner. The food was always great over the whole week, but on this evening, it was fantastic. During the meal, we all had tasks to do, like making a noise when someone stands up or to pretend to save the whole group from a big fire, this was funny. On the next morning, before leaving the venue, we all got a closed envelope with notes from all the participants, that we were only allowed to read after arriving home. This is a very nice gesture to remember this great seminar and all the nice people we spent so much time with the whole week. Kathrin Muus and Nina Sander Germany


Social inclusion means that everyone is included in everyday life situations, regardless of what limits or boundaries each individual may have. We all have some boundaries; some people are scared of heights or don´t not speak the main language of their own country, while others have lost a leg in an accident or are not able to concentrate for extended periods of time. Some boundaries are permanent and others temporary. How significant they are and to what extent they limit our abilities depend both on yourself and on the people and environment around you.

Beyond boundaries This years Autumn Seminar “Think Love Move Do” was focused on how to include all of our youth, with their own individual boundaries, in every youth organisations´ activities. The first step towards social inclusion in youth work is to become aware of each others perspective and define what challenges these limitiations cause.


The participants practiced this first step through the following activity, called “Beyond boundaries”, described by team member Julia Müller: “The participants were divided into small groups of 6-8 people. Every person had one kind of disability, like being in doubt, blind, in a wheelchair, without hands, autistic etc. The groups had to complete tasks together, such as drawing a group picture or move around in various environments. At the beginning it was difficult for them to deal with the disabilities, but as the session progressed they worked better together as groups and found solutions for the different problems. The participants really found it eye-opening to experience various disabilities and the obstacles that come with them.” The next step was to plan activities so the challenges are avoided or so the participants can together overcome the challenges. This was also what the seminar participants did. Julia also wrote that most participants had not previously experienced any similar exercise and many plan to try it out at their home organisations. Organisations are welcome to contact RYEurope to receive a plan for this session or find out more about social inclusion and this year´s autumn seminar.

The Autumn Seminar

“ T h i n k L o v e M o v e D o ”, 2 - 9 O c t o b e r 2 0 16 , N o r w a y W h at we re t h e o u t co m e s o f t h e s e mi n a r?


Rural Youth Europe was recently represented at the EU structured dialogue on youth policy in Košice, Slovakia by board member, Dr Geoff Thompson. The conference offered a unique opportunity for RYEurope to participate in formulating European youth policy on the current theme “Enabling all young people to engage in a diverse, connected and inclusive Europe. Ready for life, ready for society.”

During the four day conference, over 150 youth delegates and policy-makers worked to identify the main challenges faced by young people today to fully develop their potential and become engaged in society. As part of the process, the delegates developed recommendations based on the consultation responses of 65,000 young people from throughout Europe. At the end of the conference, 16 joint recommendations were presented to representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament and the ministries responsible for youth of the EU Member States. These recommendations will be discussed in November in a High Level Policy Debate by

Rural Youth Europe represents its members in EU Structured Dialogue the Ministries from the 28 member states. They will then be addressed to the Council of the EU to establish the future direction of European youth policy. Commenting following the event, Geoff had the following to say, “The Structured Dialogue was a fantastic opportunity to voice the concerns of RYEurope’s members directly to EU policy makers. It was also incredibly enlightening to hear the concerns of the other organisations represented and very reassuring to know that many of those organisations are highlighting the same areas of concern as our members.” The next round of the structured dialogue process will take place in Bugibba, Malta in March during which delegates and policy makers will work to develop a tool box of actions to enable Member States to implement the recommendations made in Košice. The full list of recommendations can be found in the following link: Recommendations_EU-Youth-Conference-October-2016.pdf

Rural Youth Europe board member Dr Geoff Thompson represents RYEurope at the EU Structured Dialogue on youth policy in Kocise, Slovakia along with representatives from other International Non Governmental Youth Organisations.


Rural Youth Europe A team with a mission The fast-changing pace of our world sets a challenge for all organisations; How can we stay relevant? How do we make the most out of our strengths and the opportunities that may arise? These are some of the questions that RYEurope board and staff have been trying to answer since we embarked on our strategic journey almost a year ago. Here are some of our thoughts that we would like to share with you.


Control and agility At first one might think building a strategy is about creating a document to give us direction and then sticking to it for the next five years, come what may. Creating a plan is a part of it but in a fast-changing operational environment it is not always possible to control what happens and therefore organisational agility both in thinking and actual actions is important. We are trying to create stability and control but at the same time need to accept that change is a normal state for an organisation. Also, if we stop developing our organisation and only wake up when things are going downhill it might be too late. The challenge of strategic leadership is to be able to see strategy as a way of being and thinking, rather than a process that has a beginning and an end.

Building a dream team Strategic work can be a tool to get to know the organisation and your team. The team is creating a strategy and at the same time the strategic work is creating a team. For us this has been an opportunity to get to know each other and really understand each others’ values and what our motivation is to volunteer and work for RYEurope.

Strategic work Dialogue and diversity suppor t thinking Intelligent thinking, and thinking together as a team are our most valuable assets. Therefore we need to make sure we find the time and space for and have practices that support open dialogue. Strategic work is about sharing and learning together. They say that most of the knowledge in organisations is tacit i.e. not visible and through dialogue we can make a bigger part of this knowledge visible. Dialogue means speaking with people, not at them. Instead of trying to convince other people of your opinion it is important to have the respect and curiosity to really listen to what others are saying. Understanding each other’s point of view isn’t always easy. Diversity should be seen as a strength in a team as disagreeing can be a dynamic force that is challenging us to think and explain our own point of view. If we all agreed all the time we would stay in our comfort zone and when we are forced out of our comfort zone into adventure zone we learn as individuals, as a team and on an organisational level. Dialogue and strategic work require patience and lateral thinking; we should learn not to jump into conclusions too fast or form strong opinions too hastily as this might narrow our vision and options. Keeping our minds open will give us the chance to make the most out of the knowledge we have in the team and create new knowledge together as 1+1 is always more than 2.

A hand-crafted strategy Many of the strategic tools that are used for strategic work are created for business use. As an NGO we had to consider which of these tools are suitable for NGO use and how we can modify them for our own use. We are aiming towards a hand-crafted strategic work model for RYEurope – something that fits our organisation and can be adjusted when needed. We will experiment with one model, our “holy book” as we now call it and see what works. It’s a process of trial and error for our team -we try and learn from the experience. Like 4H’rs say; we are learning strategic work by doing. Jenni Heinonen Interim Secretary General Rural Youth Europe


History of Rural Youth Europe - Part I -


After the Second World War Europe was in ruins and there was a strong need to bring young people together to build a more peaceful Europe through cooperation. Representatives from UK, Netherlands and Germany got together to create an activity based international rural youth organisation

Building a more peaceful Europe 19 5 7 -19 6 9 that provides youth chances for face to face contact. The European Committee for Young Farmers and 4H clubs* was founded at Rendsburg, Germany, in February 1957 – almost 60 years ago. The mission was firstly to provide a forum for the discussion of matters of common interest and a platform for the expression of the point of view of non-political and non-sectarian rural youth organisations of Europe. Secondly, the Committee would act as a platform where the members of rural youth organisations in Europe and even beyond would be brought together. * The name “Rural Youth Europe” was adopted in 2003.

Scarce resources The committee started off with very limited resources. At the beginning the funding was frugal and it was provided entirely by member organisations on a limited basis. In around 1960 each organisation paid only £3 for membership. Organisations hosting a Rally raised their own funds through sponsorships. The first official European Rally took place at Zuidlaren in Netherlands in 1960 and has continued as an annual event ever since.

Ta k i n g o n t h e w o r l d In the 1960s there was a growing interest to build cooperation between eastern and western Europe. Furthermore, the Committee grew stronger links with the Americas and Asia, and raised discussion on the needs of rural youth around the world. The Committee played a role in planning of several of the World Congresses of the Young Farmers’ Clubs. Many member organisations were actively engaged on national level in the Young World Food and Development Programme in cooperation with FAO and the Committee.

Arts and policy making In 1964 an annual arts festival was introduced into the calendar of activities. After three arts festivals the committee decided to focus more on leader training and policy making whereas cultural aspects would be included in the Rally programme. A European Farm Youth Exchange scheme was set up in 1963.

E u r o p e a n Yo u t h F o u n d a t i o n During the 60s a variety of governmental agencies including FAO, UNESCO, Council of Europe and the Economic Communities all began to take a closer interest in rural youth. The response of the Committee as a representative of rural youth helped to lead to initiatives to support youth work; the establishment of the youth centre in Strasbourg and the European Youth Foundation. With the establishment of the European Youth Foundation in 1969 the Committee found a source of funding to organise policy seminars each autumn.


Developing the organisation had been possible because of the practical support and enthusiasm of member organisations. The Secretariat was provided largely on a voluntary basis. As international youth work was developing it became necessary to defend the interests of rural youth at this level and partnerships were created e.g. with MIJARC and CEJA.

G row th towards leadership and responsibilit y 19 7 0 -19 7 5

Building on streng ths The Committee was anxious to be seen as fit and ready to play its part in the development of the new Europe. The Committee wanted to create a climate of cooperation amongst member organisations. The challenge was that ambitions and aspirations of member organisations for the committee differed considerably. The Committee concentrated on its strengths; education, training and social fields and linking together both governmental agencies and voluntary organisations. The Committee saw itself as the only truly European international rural youth organisation.

More responsibility


A major growth point in the 70s was improved leader training. The first leadership course took place in 1973 in Strasbourg. More unstructured activities by open youth groups was a visible trend in member organisations as many young people were taking part in activities but not joining a club. There was a growing awareness amongst young people of their social and political responsibilities. In 1974 the Committee declared to be the “premier and geographically largest rural youth organisation in Europe�. The role of the Committee was one of a coordinator, giving leadership and support to other international rural youth organisations. Another important role was to support the personal development of individuals through out of school- and adult education. In 1974 there were 22 member organisations with half a million members. The Committee played a vital role in representing the interests of rural youth on matters of regional policy and on attitudes towards the third world.

This article is based on RYEurope newsletters and an interview with Sir Robert Gregor who was the Secretary General of Rural Youth Europe from 1957 until 1990. In the following Rural Voices you can read more about the history of Rural Youth Europe and how the organisation, its members and activities have developed over the past 60 years. Jenni Heinonen Interim Secretary General Rural Youth Europe


Latvian Young Farmers’ Club

organised a youth forum for young farmers and active youngsters with the goal of promoting rural entrepreneurship, leadership and self presentation. The slogan of their forum was “Problem the reason for new opportunities”. They had a field trip to a local farm where the owner shared his experience in farming. During all three days participants were split into teams and their task was to work on problem solving. Based on the

information they had heard during the field trip they then had to suggest a solution for a problem in the farm. During those three days youngsters had inspiring lectures from experienced speakers in different fields of farming, skills for self presentation and motivation. One evening they had traditional Latvian folk dances and on the second night they celebrated the 5th anniversary of this forum called “THE ŠTEP”. Overall the forum gathered 56 active and positively minded young people as well as eight organising team members.

Har vest time in Latv ian 4H! It’s autumn and time of harvest! This autumn Latvian 4H had four project forums in different places in Latvia – Krāslava, Kūkas, Priekuļi and Kandava.


During project forums 4H’ers presented their projects of this year. They always organise forums in cooperation with local governments. The aim of the project forums is to identify the most active Latvian 4H members, to evaluate and to provide recognition for the work that they have done during the year. Forums involve all 4H’ers that have successfully developed projects and presented their projects in local 4H club harvest shows. Main project themes this year were – “Potato research”, “My health life”, “Latvian soldier turn of an epoch”, as well as other horticulture, handicrafts, environment and local history projects. This year all together four forums were attended by 450 participants. The biggest forum was in Kandava – with 140 participants from 4H.

N o s u m m e r j o b? Consider star ting your own busine ss! Last summer Finnish 4H had a campaign which encouraged and helped young people to start their own businesses for the summer. 4H offered help for setting up the business and to get familiar with regulations so it was easy for the young people to start reaching for their dreams. A campaign included information sessions at schools and youth centres and it was also advertised on social media. In addition, 4H staff helped the young entrepreneurs whenever they needed help. During this campaign, 200 businesses were established. Most of the entrepreneurs were aged between 15 and 17 as for this age group it is really hard to find a summer job. One of the young entrepreneurs is Alexandra Hiltunen, a 15-year-old Alexandra Hiltunen (pictured here), whose enterprise Kanikeppari produces hurdles for rabbit agility and hobby horses.

Statement on the Par is Agreement on Climate Change At its most recent meeting in Stusnäs, Finland, the board of Rural Youth Europe welcomed the action by the EU parliament at the beginning of October to ratify the Paris Agreement. The board felt it was positive to see commitment being made on the issue of climate change which will have a lasting effect on future generations. Whilst it is important for governments to enact the details of the agreement in a pragmatic manner, the overall feeling of the board was that actions to be taken to reduce the negative impacts of climate change are vital. The Paris Agreement was finalised in late 2015 and involved over 195 countries committing to limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels. Following the EU’s ratification there was then sufficient global commitment for the agreement to come in to force, which it did on 4th November 2016. To achieve the targets of the agreement will mean changes for us all, in the way we live, the way we eat and the way we work. At Rural Youth Europe we look forward to being a part of leading that change through the activities and training we provide. RYEurope Board

14-21 May 2017, Budapest, Hungary Voices for Life Organised in cooperation with NSU/Nordic Youth Associations The aim of the study session is for the participants to learn to promote intercultural dialogue and peaceful coexistence in Europe.


Calendar EUROPEAN R A L LY 2 0 17

6-13 August 2017, Ligatnes parish, “Ratnieki”, Latvia Active.Inspired.Rural The European Rally “AIR” empowers and unites European rural youth to promote diverse and peaceful European societies. Follow our website for updates and registration.

7-10 September 2017, Jäneda, Estonia Compass towards peaceful rural societies The conference is a new event that will bring brings together the key people in Rural Youth Europe member organisations to discuss European rural youth NGO leadership and cooperation for peaceful societies. The event will include RYEurope General Assembly 2017.



8-15 October 2017, Austria The aim of the seminar will be to develop educational formats and a campaign for rural youth to actively take part in defending human rights and promoting peace in a time of change in Europe.

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