Frohe Weihnachten from Sebastian

Christmas season has arrived and for most of us it’s quite a busy time full of work and last transactions for the closing year. Also at Rural Youth Europe we are very busy before the Christmas break as there are quite a few tasks to finish before January.  We are having a board meeting in Riga before Christmas and our employees in the office have  ambitions to get everything ready for 2016.
But I believe that Christmas time should also be a time to think a bit and  take some time to reflect on the past year and as well to give the future some thought. 
Recently I decided to take a short break from all the “Christmas stress” and I went for a short hike on my “backyard mountain”. In the valley i
t was quite foggy and gloomy, but once you crossed the cloud ceiling the sky opened up and the view over the Austrian alps was amazing. While I was walking along the steep road I was also reflecting the past year at Rural Youth Europe. 
Well, it has been a very work intensive year due to several reasons. Of course there were our four main events, prep team and board meetings, EYF conferences etc. , but there were also two big changes within our organisation taking place. First new employees: as our Secretary General Pia has gone on maternity leave we are very happy that we found Jenni our current SG. Also Emma, our Media and Communications Coordinator joined us this summer and together with our designer and editor Julia, they are making a great and very reliable office team. I am very happy to have them with us.
Second is the strategy change: in cooperation with our member organisations the board identified changes and new challenges for INGOs (international non-governmental organisations) going on within Europe. To stay an attractive and solid INGO for rural youth in Europe we started a strategy process to make Rural Youth Europe fit for the future. This will be a core project in 2016.
To conclude: 2015 was a successful year for our organisation and I am already looking forward to a great upcoming work year with all our members. Starting with the Junior Event in Finland, the Study Session in Strasbourg and the Autumn Seminar in Norway. And of course our Rally held in Northern Ireland. All those events are linked together with our annual theme: Social Inclusion.
Still up in the mountains and finally I have reached the top.  I am enjoying a breath-taking view in the sun. Moments like this are very rare so I am very happy to be here right now. But nothing lasts forever, much like the year 2015. And this is why  I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a great jump into 2016. Looking forward to see you all healthy at one of our events soon. 2015 was an exciting year, but 2016 is going to be even better.
Up until then all the best and Frohe Weihnachten!
And remember …… Rural Youth Europe – Breaking boundaries, building bridges!