It has been one year since the Board of Rural Youth Europe last met together physically. This is a milestone we never imagined we would reach and one which calls for some reflection.
As we travelled to Bolzano, South Tyrol at the end of February 2020 we were unaware of what the weekend had in store, never mind the year ahead. Arriving into a bustling Venice on Friday 21st February, we walked through the city in awe of the crowds of people celebrating Carnevale. The bright colours of the masks caught our attention yet never did we imagine a different kind of mask would become an accessory for many in the months ahead.
The board meeting progressed as planned yet by Sunday we were aware that the Covid19 virus was spreading quickly. Lockdown was imposed in parts of Italy and we had frantic calls from worried family and friends to check if could travel home as hoped. We did experience some disruption to travel though thankfully everyone made it home safe and well.
Being geographically dispersed across Europe, online meetings were not unfamiliar to Rural Youth Europe. However, as the months passed, we became accustomed to having all meetings online. Many difficult decisions were made regarding our planned events resulting in disappointment across our network. Yet resilience resounded and we adapted and overcame challenges to hold our first ever online General Assembly in November 2020, webinars and online workshops to share best practice, try out our cooking skills and break down the stigmas amongst other things.
It is difficult not to fall down a rabbit hole when reflecting on the year that has passed. However the simple intention of this post is to look back on the last 12 months and recognise that together we have achieved many things we never thought possible. There are many more challenges that lie ahead yet there are also better days with countless opportunities. We may not always get it right yet with compassion and determination, and by working together, we will achieve much more than we can imagine. We are excited for what is still to come
We are also launching our revamped Rural Youth Project of the Year shortly to celebrate and champion rural youth across Europe. We will invite you to share the fantastic work and resilience shown by rural young people in a very difficult, uncertain and challenging year. You can find more information from your member organisation and on our social media channels in the coming days.
Chairperson of Rural Youth Europe.