The Rural Youth Europe General Assembly on the 17thof August 2018 offered both exciting elections and interesting reports of the work of the board over the past two-year period.
While the General Assembly is an annual event, the majority of the board members’ mandates were ending. Leaving the board was chairman Russell Carrington, Julia Schaller board member for group II (Central Europe) and Geoffrey Thompson who was the special interest board member tasked with policy work. In addition, the former vice chair, Sebastian Lassnig ran unopposed for the chair position, and was thus rewarded the position.
For vice chair there were three candidates Mikko Välitalo (board member for group III), Aris Brencis (board member for group IV) and Linzi Stewart (boardmember for group I). The closed vote resulted in Linzi Stewart being elected vice chair and with that Mikko Välitalo also left the board in the favour of Nicolai Olsen taking over as board member for group III and Hannah Kirkpartick taking over after Linzi as board member for group I for the remainder of the term. Also staying for the remainder of his term is Aris Brencis continuing as board member for group IV. Replacing Julia Schaller as board member for group II is Daniela Allram. Finally, the special interest board position was reinstated and Anja Mager was elected for the position.
Among the many presentations of the work the board has undertaken was presentations of both the strives in policy work that the special interest board member has done and the strategic work that the whole board has been involved in.
Geoffrey Thompson presented the impact of his work primarily with the European Youth Forum (YFJ). He pointed out that the voice of the rural youth is not very well heard among the international youth NGOs and national youth councils present at the YFJ. He felt that he had been able to give the rural opinion for documents like the European Youth goals which feature the 6thgoal of moving rural youth forward. The Rural Youth Europe’s participation in structured dialogue and active participation in the council of members of the YFJ has laid the ground for continued successes for rural youth in the policy making field.
The strategic work of Rural Youth Europe has been a process initiated by the board and carried out with the assistance of Jenni Heinonen, the secretary general currently in parental leave. The work has resulted in a balanced score card which is a tool that continues to support the quality development of the organisation. A second outcome has been the Strategic Workbook which will help support the processes of development of the member organisations of Rural Youth Europe as well as other interested parties. The book is being layouted at the moment and is expected to be ready this fall.
With this Rural Youth Europe is welcoming the new board and continuing the work of providing quality learning experiences for rural youth while providing a space to create networks and friendships across Europe.