Rural Voices 2/2017

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02 / 2017 The Rural Youth Europe Magazine 16 General Assembly Words from the King Delme 22

18 Autumn Seminar


European Rally

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 in joining 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: Elina Mäkelä 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 Shar in g neighbourgood things 6 Estonian 4H celebrated its 2 6 th a n n i v e r s a r y 7 10 0 G o o d D e e d s for the elderly 8-9 Challenge your opinions 1 0 -13 E u r o p e a n R a l l y i n Latvia 14 -15 L e a d e r s h i p i n t h e time of change 16 -17 G e n e r a l A s s e m b l y 18 -19 B u i l d i n g p e a c e – pi e ce by pi e ce, Autumn Seminar Austria

RYEurope board

CHAIR M AN’S FOR E WOR D What an amazing year it has been celebrating the 60th birthday of Rural Youth Europe! It was great to be involved in the official celebrations at the Rally in Latvia and a really special occasion for everyone who attended. We took much inspiration from Seamus O’Brien who travelled from Ireland, and other previous chairs and board members who had been involved in the establishment and running of RYEurope during former times. You will be able to read about our anniversary year and the fantastic events that have taken place during the year in the pages that follow - it has been very busy so I think we celebrated our birthday in style! Our theme for 2017 has been “peacebuilding” and as we’ve been learning about our 60-year history it has become clear that this theme has had many things in common with the founding principles of our organisation. In fact, alongside the intercultural exchange, the broadening of horizons, the making of friends and strengthening of the rural youth network, we have actually undertaken a massive peacebuilding project for the past six decades – one which we hope will remain strong for the next 60 years!

21 I n t r o d u c i n g n e w board members

I would like to thank all of you who have taken part in our events this year, especially those of you who have worked so hard to make them happen in the first place. Remember what you have learnt, the connections you have made, and be sure to keep spreading the word about the importance of peaceful rural societies.

22 Wo rd s fro m the King Delme

Wishing you a great Christmas and motivated start to 2018.

20 The best of the best - RYP

24 Calendar

Our website is also mobile friendly - visit it now by scanning your mobile phone over this QR code!







Russ Carrington Chairman


Sharing neighbourgood things The Austrian Landjugend is one of the biggest youth organisations in rural Austria with approximately 90,000 members. The focus of our community is the advanced training of our members and to be active in rural areas. This year’s key subject is dedicated to the motto “At home I buy my goods”.


The aim of this new key project is to encourage people to buy local goods to strengthen the regional economy. Through this, the Landjugend plans ahead and takes care of the future generations too by educating young teenagers on how to be a more conscious consumer and why it is important to act in a more environmental-friendly way. The consumption of locally-produced goods leads to an improvement in sustainability and the local job market. Buying regional products means influencing the economy in a positive way as the purchasing power within the area increases. The conscious decision to buy locally-produced goods results directly in the emergence of new workplaces and the reduction of emissions as the transport routes get shorter. Moreover, the living standards of the future will rise.

Recently, a study of the Johannes-KeplerUniversity in Linz has showed that an additional 21,000 workplaces could be created if consumers bought 10% more regional products. Another survey, conducted by the Market Institute, shows that 61% of the Austrian population think that it is important that products they purchase come from Austria. Therefore, we believe it is important to deal with this matter and this is the reason we wanted to focus on this topic. The Rural Youth Austria-initiative “ At home I buy my goods” goes on tour from mid-July to the end of October and sees 26,000 cotton bags filled with region-typical products and shopping blocks, pencil and leaflets distributed to the population. In addition, our country organisations have come up with a lot of ways to share the initiative; for example, attending weekly markets, at Thanksgiving or at a live radio broadcasting. The goal of the rural youth is to raise awareness of the value of buying locally and to encourage consumers to buy products produced within their region.

With our initiative, we aim to increase the awareness of the value of buying local produce through demonstrating the benefits of choosing regional products and services. By improving our climate and protecting the environment we are influencing the quality of the products, securing jobs in the region and thus creating a better quality of life and increase the attractiveness of rural areas. Julia Saurwein Landjugend Österreich

Estonian 4H and 100 of its members over Estonia will make 100 good deeds in their community to celebrate The Republic of Estonia’s 100th anniversary. The main idea is to notice and support our elderly people – so that no grandmother or grandfather will feel alone during the anniversary year. Young people with their leaders will come together and find elderly people in their community who they can offer help or company. Good deeds can be very different and depend on the region. For example good deeds can

Estonian 4H celebrated its th 26 anniversary 6

Estonian 4H have developed rural life in Estonia and educated rural youth for 26 years. On the 14th of October the anniversary celebrations took place in the form of a recognition event and Harvest Festival. Over 270 members came together from all over the country to look back at the year, reward the most active members and of course celebrate the history of Estonian 4H together. This year the event took place in our summer capital Pärnu in Nature House – a nature educational center where as part of the celebrations youngsters attended different workshops. During the workshops participants could enjoy pet rooms, winter gardens, short nature movies & nature sounds and also visit a planetarium.

100 Good Deeds for the elderly take the form of gardening (rake leaves, carry firewood, pick different garden products etc.), offer companionship, visit care homes, renovate and decorate public places used by elderly people or introduce possibilities to use modern technology. The centenary celebration will last from the end of 2017 until the beginning of 2020 and there will be an interactive map for everybody to keep track of all the good deeds carried out around the country. In that way youngsters will value our past more and will go forward together with elderly and create a society full of good deeds. In this way we are able to spread the stories of our 100 year history through generations and bring generations closer together for our upcoming future.


#voicesforlife17 #ruralyoutheurope #NSU #councilofeurope #hifamily


The 2017 Study Session, jointly organised by Rural Youth Europe and the Nordic Youth Associations in cooperation with the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, took place 14th-21st May 2017. The study session “Voices for Life” took place at the European Youth Centre in Budapest, Hungary and saw 32 participants from 18 different countries attending. The participants and team members came from Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Denmark, England, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Northern Ireland, Norway and Sweden. The aim of the study session was to empower participants to promote dialogue on migration related topics and peaceful coexistence in Europe. Through non-formal educational methods with active participation, delegates increased their knowledge about the current refugee crisis in Europe, gained skills of facilitating dialogue between different groups in society and shared good practices of how to promote understanding and peaceful coexistence. Participants also learnt about the work of the Council of Europe in relation to human rights education and the No Hate Speech Movement. Participants were encouraged to reflect on their personal and organisation’s roles and responsibilities on dialogue about migration related topics and peacebuilding.

The week-long session was both challenging and rewarding for the delegates, all in agreement that they are now aware of their own role and that they should begin to implement their action plan. Through communication, co-operation and engagement the participants and leaders all became a cohesive team who were comfortable to openly and honestly share their views, opinions and experiences in a safe space. The team leaders must be commended on the study session, both in terms of programme structure and on their input into making this session beneficial and successful. Personally, the study session encouraged my own beliefs and opinions to be challenged which in turn saw me leaving Budapest with a different viewpoint on the subject and wanting to gain more knowledge on the topic. It was a great experience which will hopefully empower participants to work towards the goal for peaceful coexistence in Europe. Stephanie McCollam Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster


Human rights On Tuesday, the participants started dealing with the big issue of Human Rights. The discussion involved topics such as why human rights are important, how the recent changes in Europe have affected human rights and what is the role of rural youth and their organisations in defending human right and building peace in Europe. We didn’t only discuss but also took part in exercises where we could rethink our own opinions and feelings towards this topic and make suggestions to make the situation better. During the week while working with the theme, it became clearer that participants saw human rights differently, depending on their background and where they are from.

European Rally in Latvia – 60 Years of Rural Youth Europe


RYEurope and Latvian 4H organised the annual European Rally “AIR – Active, Inspired, Rural”. After arriving in Latvia the adventurous journey from the airport to the venue started. Directly after the participants arrived, icebreaker games took place because of the many new people and the mixture of many new languages together in a new situation. At the first day of the European Rally the official opening ceremony took place in a beautiful setting of an old barn where the participants came in dressed in their traditional costumes. In the afternoon, the group was split in mixed international groups where they took part in different exercises. In the evening, the participants were taught Latvian folk dances by local dancers.


Extensive suppor ting programme During awesome excursions to farms and other locations it became obvious how many-sided Latvia can be. Excursion to the seaside and an international buffet where every country presented typical dishes completed the program of the week and made it more visible how different backgrounds we all have and gave us a valuable opportunity to deepen our image of participating nations and cultures.

First European rural youth parliament


During the Rally, European Rural Youth Parliament had its first session. The theme of the meeting was challenges and opportunities of life in rural areas. In discussions with specialists the participants found out that the problems haven’t changed much in the last 20 years and there is a lot of unfinished work in politics regarding rural issues. The ever-going issues are agriculture, health care and how young people should have the chance to stay in the rural areas. After the meeting, the participants chose one of five themes of the parliament session, discussed the problem and suggested possible solutions.

R u r a l Yo u t h E u r o p e 6 0 t h Anniversar y The evening of the last day of the Rally was dedicated for the 60th anniversary of Rural Youth Europe. Every participant planted a tree to honour the long work of Rural Youth Europe and in the evening we celebrated with a gala dinner. It was exciting to compare the reasons for founding RYEurope after the second world war with the political situation today. “Building bridges and breaking boundaries.” is still valid today. Finally, the Rally bell was handed over to Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs who are hosting Rally in 2018. Melanie Laepple Landjugend Schleswig-Holstein, Germany


In the beginning of September I attended Rural Youth Europe´s conference for organisation leaders in Jäneda, Estonia. The conference was about building stronger leadership skills and sharing good practises in a time that challenges NGO work in Europe. After arriving to Jäneda, there was a lot of familiar faces waiting, people who I have met in different Rural Youth Europe events. During the next days, we shared our experiences and skills to better tackle the challenges of the changing Europe and to answer the needs of rural youth. Furthermore, we discussed the role of rural youth organisations

Leadership in the time of change


in defending human rights in the time of change. In these times, it is important to see what is our network’s role in developing rural European communities with peaceful coexistence for all. We talked about our organisation structures and how to get new members. My favourite task was to write about the theme My rural dream. It seems simple, but writing it down in only five minutes isn´t that easy. What is my biggest dream for my home organisation? It is to make rural life more appealing and popular by creating more job opportunities in the countryside for young people. It was surprising, that even though the main point of our organisations is quite the same, our structures and events are completely different. During discussions about our internal and external problems we found out that we had a lot of similar problems like urbanisation and lack of funding. I feel that after attending that conference I have more courage to be the leader that I have always wanted to be. I know what I should do to become better leader and to make changes. I cannot wait our next event to share new skills and information with our members. Another thing I love about RYEurope events is that organisers are always innovative. They use different learning methods and energizers that we can use in our future events. I hope that this kind of a conference will be a tradition for RYEurope one day. It is an event where all the leaders of organisations meet and build a network for a better future for rural youth in Europe. Birgit Kuslap Estonian 4H


C h a i r m a n o f R u r a l Yo u t h E u r o p e , R u s s C a r r i n g t o n , r e p o r t s o n t h e 2 0 17 G e n e r a l A s s e m b l y ( G A ) which is the most important meeting of the year a n d w h e re all o f t h e majo r d e c isio n s a re mad e regarding the future of the organisation…

22 representatives from 17 of our member organisations attended the GA held in Tallinn, Estonia on 9th September 2017. It was a chance for all those present to receive updates on the activities of the past year and to vote on important topics including finances, membership and board member elections.


The 2016 annual report was presented and adopted, as were the annual accounts. My vice-chairman Sebastian Lassnig presented the budget for 2018 and the GA agreed to a slightly more ambitious budget to support the organisation in its aims to grow its activities and membership. I am pleased to report that the Federation of Youth Clubs of Armenia (FYCA) were accepted as candidate members, and the Norwegian Young Farmers (Norges Bygdeungdomslag - NBU) were accepted as full members (moving up from candidate membership). This means Rural Youth Europe now has 20 member organisations from 18 countries.

The GA also agreed that Finnish 4H will host the 2018 Autumn Seminar, the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (NFYFC in England) will host the 2019 European Rally, and Slovenian Rural Youth will host in 2020. No host was confirmed for the Autumn Seminar in 2019 so expressions of interest from member organisations continue to be sought. Special interests board member Dr Geoff Thompson explained his work over the past 12 months representing the views of rural youth at key events to try to influence European youth policy. He also outlined some options for how to take this work forwards and the GA agreed that it was valuable and should be continued as far as resources allow and more concrete decisions made next year in light of further experience.

New board members were elected to represent Group 1 (UK and Ireland) and Group 4 (Eastern Europe), and we were pleased welcome Linzi Stewart (from the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster in Northern Ireland) and Āris Brencis (from Latvian 4H) for these positions respectively. We also gave thanks to retiring board members Paddy Delaney from Ireland and Kätlin Merisalu from Estonia for a truly fantastic effort and great dedication during their 2-year mandate. My thanks to everyone who attended and took part – Rural Youth Europe is on a good path for the year ahead. Chairman of the board, Russell Carrington


I was extremely fortunate to attend RYEurope Autumn Seminar in October 2017. Representing YFCU, I travelled to Austria with Elaine Paisley on Sunday 8th October 2017. Unsure what to expect, we were apprehensive yet ready to embrace our first RYEurope event. The Seminar was called ‘Be a Piece of Peace’, and was hosted by Landjugend Austria in Mold, Lower Austria. The event saw 36 young people from 12 countries throughout Europe come together and get involved as youth workers, leaders and rural youth in defending human rights and promoting peace in a time of change across Europe.

Building peace – piece by piece

The week saw participants take part in teambuilding games before being introduced to human rights and looking closer at human rights at risk in today’s society. Through interactive workshops and study sessions the participants gained a valuable insight into everyday life in a conflict zone and enjoyed challenging meetings and discussions with refugees from Afghanistan, Iran and Somalia. Participants then explored methods of peace building and conflict resolution and also had the opportunity to visit an exhibition which studied the evolution of human rights law over the last 1000 years in Europe. Towards the end of the week the participants developed a campaign called EMBRACE2ERASE which aims to promote equality and embrace diversity in rural communities across Europe. It was a fantastic opportunity to be involved with the campaign from the beginning to the end and we are very excited for the campaign to go live during the first week of December. This event saw young people from all over Europe come together to learn about Human Rights and to share emotional and challenging experiences with one another. The week was very intense for all participants; however, we have all came away with genuine friendships and realised that we share many of the same interests and concerns right across Europe.


I would like to thank RYEurope for the opportunity & I can't encourage members enough to seize the chance and attend a RYEurope event in the future. The Autumn Seminar impacted me in ways that I could never have imagined. It taught me to step outside of my comfort zone and to open my eyes to the reality that exists beyond my familiar environment. The week exceeded all my expectations in every way, challenging, encouraging and teaching me so much. I believe I am better equipped to continue to build diversity and equality into all aspects of my life, particularly with my involvement in Rural Youth. I definitely made friends for life all over Europe - all in all a week I won't forget! Linzi Stewart, Board member of Rural Youth Europe 2017-2019


Rural Youth Project is a competition to encourage the exchange of project ideas between rural youth organisations. The aim of the competition is to give inspiration and provide a learning opportunity for young people living in rural areas. The competition is an annual indicator of the innovativeness, creativeness and project management skills of our member organisation across Europe. The best projects of 2016 gained great public visibility with almost 100.000 people reached on social media.

This autumn Rural Youth Europe got two new board members. Linzi is the new board member representing Group I: UK and Ireland, and Āris represents group IV: Eastern Europe.

The best of the best Rural Youth Europe’s


What is a R u r a l Yo u t h Proje c t?

project of the year competition

Introducing new board members

P r o j e c t o f t h e y e a r 2 0 16


We had many reasons to celebrate at Rural Youth Europe's 60th Anniversary gala in Latvia! One of the reasons was the official recognition and rewarding of the winner of project of the year 2016. The Young Farmers Association of Innsbruck, Austria won the competition with their project “A village needs our help”. The main goal of the project was to help people who had been affected by a natural catastrophe. Through raising 40 000 euros and donating 3 500 hours of work the project achieved a lot to help the people who needed it the most. The project showed incredible solidarity and collaboration and it encouraged young people to work together towards a common goal: to help the people in need.

C a l l f o r t h e R u r a l Yo u t h P r o j e c t o f t h e y e a r 2 0 17 Did you do something as cool as the winner of last year? Do you have an interesting and unique project you'd like to share with the rest of Europe? Would you like to gain more publicity for it and to win a great price? We are happy to announce the new competition for Rural Youth Europe Project of the Year 2017!

Rural Youth project is a project where young people have worked together towards a common goal on a voluntary basis.

H ow t o su b mit a n a p pli cat i o n? 1. Fill in the submission form (see Rural Youth Europe’s website) 2. Create an automated presentation or a video, length max. 3 minutes 3. Submit the form and presentation to your own organisation 4. RYEurope member organisations send the submissions to by February 28th 2018

A n d t h e w in n e r i s... The best three projects will be announced by RYEurope in March 2018. The next step is a public voting on the best project on Facebook. The winner is the project that collects the most votes. Use this opportunity to give your project visibility on European level and show others what you have achieved with your members. We are looking forward to receiving your projects! Sebastian Lassnig Vice Chairperson

I am 27 years old Linzi Stewart and from Northern Ireland. I am a qualified Solicitor and currently work as a Wedding & Event’s Co-ordinator – which I love! I’m representing Group 1 UK & Ireland in board of the Rural Youth Europe. My family are not farmers however we have strong links with agriculture and rural issues. A lot of my friends are from a farming background and work within the agricultural sector. I am very involved with Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster at club, county and national level. I attended the Autumn Seminar in October 2017 – my first RYEurope event & I can genuinely say it was one of the best weeks of my life! I love to travel and learn about new cultures. RYEurope Board member seemed like the perfect opportunity to travel and learn within Europe and also to help combat and raise of rural issues. I am passionate about learning from others & I am excited to learn more about the other Member Organisations and share about Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster too. “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ― Reinhold Niebuhr

Āris Hi! I’m Āris Brencis – a 25-yearold from Latvia. I grew up on a small dairy farm and I’ve been a member of the Latvian 4-H since I was 8 years old. Later on I sat on the Latvian 4H national board and acted as the international project coordinator. Also, I’m a big fan of food. All of my Rural Youth Europe memories have been great. Rally in Poland (2012) was my introduction to RYEurope, Spring Seminar in Budapest (2014) was my favourite event as a participant, and the Rally in Latvia (2017) was a chance to be ‘on the other side’ (i.e. an organizer). However, I hope that the best are yet to come. After I got my Masters degree I found myself with a lot of free time on my hands (well, not a lot but more than I’ve been accustomed to in the past few years). The opportunity to run for the board perfectly coincided with my search for new challenges and I decided to give it a go. “Quotes are for dumb people who can’t think of something intelligent to say on their own” /Bo Burnham. That being said, I do love a good quote.


I was involved on the board during a time of change where we changed the name, logo and focus of what we now know as Rural Youth Europe. One of the main ‘gems’ I took away from being a board member for Rural Youth Europe was the pride we all have in our own countries, organisations and cultures - may that long continue. Leadership is key and through the work of this wonderful organisation we can be proud of giving young people across Europe the skills they need to lead their own organisations, their communities and their countries.

Words from the King Delme –

walk on the memory lane 22

We have witnessed great changes in Europe which Rural Youth Europe have embraced; learning from new member organisations and in turn them learning from the longer established member organisations. But of course, you cannot stand still. We have new challenges to embrace with an ever-changing Europe and an ever-changing society. Young people’s needs have changed dramatically with more focus on education, careers and the draw of social media taking them away from the core work we have always engaged in. Rural Youth Europe continues to have an important role to play in the education and careers of our young people. Upskilling them ensures they can move into other ‘senior’ roles beyond rural youth organisations and provide leadership in their wider communities through the skills they learnt from being part of this unique organisation. In the words of Winston Churchill: “Hear this, young men and women everywhere, and proclaim it far and wide. The earth is yours and the fullness thereof.

Be kind, but be fierce. You are needed now more than ever before. Take up the mantle of change. For this is your time.” And in the words of Delme Harries ‘if you don’t like it change it, if you can’t change it like it! Congratulations on your 60th anniversary and remember to rise to the challenges ahead and keep producing the leaders of the future. Delme a.k.a. ‘The King of Wales’ “Delme Harries was a board member from 2000 to 2009, and chairman from 2006 until 2008.

R u r a l Yo u t h E u r o p e w i s h e s a M e r r y C h r i s t m a s a n d H a p p y N e w Ye a r t o a l l m e m b e r s , p r e p t e a m m e m b e r s a n d participants.

12-19 August 2018 Bridge of Earn, United Kingdom


The aim of “Year of Youth - A World of Opportunities” is to improve rural young people´s opportunities of active participation in the society.


4-10 November 2018 Espoo, Finland The aim of “Media Crossroads” is to strengthen youth support at rural NGOs regarding media literacy, critical thinking and participative media.

Autumn 2018 (provided that funding is received) European Youth Centre, either in Budapest or Strasbourg The aim of “Play your part!” is to empower urban and rural youth to strengthen youth participation in their communities. This is a joint event in collaboration with European Confederation of Youth Clubs (ECYC).