During our General Assembly at this year’s Rally in Germany, we elected our new board. Here is some more information about our new board member for group 2, Julija Kordež.
What member organisation are you a part of?
The only voluntary, national and non-governmental organisation that unites young people from rural areas, young farmers and those who feel rural – Slovenian Rural Youth Association (ZSPM).
I’m active on the local and national level in rural youth associations. I have been part of the local rural youth association Mežiška dolina since 2016, where I was an active member taking part in events. In 2018 I became General Secretary for 2 years and from 2020 on I am board member. Mainly my role was taking photos, making videos and preparing some reports from events for social media and also participating in farming games, quizzes and other activities.
Meanwhile, I took part in national activities where I got connected with the Slovenian Rural Youth Association (ZSPM) and I am ‘official photographer’ of events since 2019. Later I was also preparing some social media campaigns and promoting events.
In 2018, I went for my first international youth exchange – Junior Seminar of RYE in Finland, where my international path started. In the following years I took part in some other international activities and in 2020 I took over the role of the Head for international cooperation at ZSPM. We’re part of four international networks: RYE, CEJA, IFYE and NordUng where I’m the coordinator of information flow and taking care that our members take part in their events and exchanges. For two years I am coordinator of IFYE (International farming youth exchange) where youth from abroad come to Slovenia on exchange and our members go abroad for more weeks/months. I made some partnerships with other youth associations around Europe where we can send our members to youth exchanges and trainings.
What are the main skills that you have gained from being a part of ZSPM?
Too many skills to write them down. Main things to point out are self-growth, networking, youth work, leadership skills and taking responsibilities. I learned how to step out of my comfort zone, to communicate with strangers and improve language skills. Through time I sharpen my photography skills and editing videos, as well as preparing graphics and campaigns for social media. Also preparing and running your own event or project is the best thing to do. Youth organisations are like a ‘training ground’ for life. And even more.
Why did you want to be on the board of Rural Youth Europe?
I felt like I belonged abroad since my first exchange, because it’s a miracle how many wonderful people, places and how much knowledge you can gain by just going on one project abroad. In the past years I’ve travelled a lot, and I’ve met a bunch of people from rural youth associations around the world which are facing similar issues as we do in Slovenia and I believe that together we can find a common solution for our problems.
We all want that rural voices are heard, that youth in rural areas are developing, that they’re connecting with stakeholders and making changes that youth needs and that our future generations will be thankful for what we did. With silence you cannot do much. With an open mouth and strong objectives, what to do, what to change, what are our needs, we can move mountains and I am sure we’ll do that.
What is your favourite Rural Youth Europe memory?
Every time when I’m at Rural Youth Europe events I’m having the best time. Every time it’s different, in a positive way. There are always other topics to discuss, other groups of people which make their own atmosphere, vibe and impact.
What would you like to achieve during your time on the board?
I always say that communication is the key. But what can we do with only one key? We open one door, but there are still many left to open. So another key point for me is that the team works as a team, connected, supportive and understandable. I want to improve communication flow within the organisation and to make the team stick together, because if we don’t get along, how can we continue raising the voice of rural youth around Europe and be supportive to our rural youth associations?
We should be the ‘face of good practice’, so they can follow us, our trends and that we’re able to build bridges in the same direction, to common goals. An important thing is to take and share responsibilities, so everyone knows what their role is and why they are doing something. A very important thing is not to give too many responsibilities to one person, we’re here to split work, support and help each other. For me personally it is very important that people who are working on projects/events/volunteering are recognised, praised, and respected on all levels and not to have them as a self-evident member of the team, because it’s not their duty to be there if they don’t want to be and everyone should feel welcomed and part of the team.
As well, I would love to see more rural youth associations from parts of Europe join us, and improve connections with other main organisations for youth, rural youth and young farmers. Connecting, networking, and working in favour of rural youth, for future generations.
I have a wish to more connect rural youth and organisations in my region – Central Europe, also have some events or teambuilding to meet in person, to see who are members in different organisations and what are their year plan. I would like to see MO’s share and invite each other to their events, for example having excursions and common collaborative projects beside RYEurope main events.