Easter with a European family

Being part of the prep team for Set Up Your Future was a very nice experience. At this first Junior Event the participants were aged between 13–17 years old and the main theme was employment. Twelve participants, three leaders and a great cook spent the Easter on the beautiful countryside in the southwest of Sweden.
The prep team wanted the participants to get as much new competences as possible, so we had one sub theme each day – there were sessions on skills needed in working life, in communication and in team working. As in the regular Rural Youth Europe events, the evenings were more relaxed with programme like a fashion show or enjoying sauna, and some participants were swimming in the lake!
Being in the prep team is always a challenge in one way or another – late nights, early mornings, responsibility for facilitating sessions and everything around gathering people at one place. At least I am always a bit nervous about what the other prep team members will be like, but this time I had no reason to worry, I think Camilla, Mikko and me made the ultimate dream team. During the prep team meeting, were everything was planned well in advance before the event itself, one of the prep team members, Camilla, said something like “it’s like we have known each other for a very long time – we are all comfortable with being silent around each other”. I think she made a good observation, everything worked well from the very beginning.
The power of the dream team continued during the event itself. We managed to facilitate sessions about body language, setting goals, situations in working life and much more, not to mention going by train (three hours one way…) from the venue to Copenhagen airport to meet the participants. I can’t say I miss that – and no, I still feel no urge to go somewhere by train…
In an event there can’t be only prep team members, there has to be participants too! I want to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all the participants, without you this event would have been something else – you were all important parts of creating it. It was a pleasure to see how much everybody developed during three days in the middle of the forest. I think there is something very special about people who voluntarily go to a new place, to meet new people and not be quite sure about what will happen – these people have a certain spirit or call it attitude, and I just love being around these people. Among them nothing is impossible, the impossible might just take more time.
All in all, this Easter was spent in a foreign land without family around – though I think we created a big European family of our own. Those of you who have been to international events probably know what I’m talking about! And hey, even though you might not meet your new family members that often, remember to take care of them. Because one day when you need them they will be there for you, like a family.
Emma Silén
Prep team member
Tip! Read more about the Junior Event in the next edition of Rural Voices, which will be sent to participants of recent events and published online here on our webpage.