During our General Assembly this summer, we elected four new members to our board. Today we’d like to introduce you to our new representative for Group 2 (Central Europe) Michael Koch from the Swiss Rural Youth Association. Find out more about him below:
Introduce yourself! 👋
I’m part of the Swiss Rural Youth Association «Schweizerische Landjugendvereinigung» (SLJV). Our organisation has 48 groups divided into 5 regions and a total of 2600 members throughout the German-speaking part of Switzerland. I am the current Chairman of the Region North, a member of the editorial team, a member of the Network working group, which maintains contacts with partner organisations, and also a member of the national board of the SLJV.
What are the main skills that you’ve gained from being a part of your home rural youth organisation?
I have learned to take on more responsibility through my board duties. From organising simple events to chairing meetings, coordinating volunteers, and even taking the main responsibility for exchange weeks with foreign Rural Youth groups.
Why did you want to be the Group 2 representative for Rural Youth Europe?
I had a lot of fun at my previous European Rallies and the Autumn Seminar that I was allowed to attend. It’s great how you can meet so many young people from all over Europe in such a short time and all meet as equals, no matter which country you come from and you feel like you are best friends after only one week. It’s also a great opportunity for all participants because you can improve your English, for example, but you also learn a lot about an important topic that you can take home and use in your own organisation.
It is very important to me that we can offer future participants the same great experiences that I had. For this, I would like to be involved not only in the prep team, but also take on many other tasks for the organisation that makes it all possible.
What is your favourite Rural Youth Europe memory?
There have been so many beautiful moments with RYEurope that I can hardly choose one. But I would like to tell a short story that is indirectly related to RYEurope:
A rural youth group from Lower Saxony in the north of Germany came to visit us in Switzerland and I spontaneously participated in an evening event without knowing that anyone I knew was there. In the end I knew about 10 out of 20 people, all through Rural Youth Europe events. It was a wonderful moment to see how connected you can be through rural youth, that you know people from everywhere.
What would you like to achieve during your time as Group 2 representative?
I’m very happy with Rural Youth Europe as it is now and would like to keep a lot of things the same as before. What I would like to achieve in any case is to inspire more people from SLJV participate with Rural Youth Europe, so that in the future we can send full Swiss-teams to the Rally, the Autumn sSminar and the Study Session, and perhaps exchanges with foreign rural youth groups can take place on both sides.
I would also like to convince the French-speaking Rural Youth Organisation of Switzerland: «Fédération Vaudoise des Jeunesses Campagnardes» (FVGC) to become a member of RYEurope.
What would you bring to an international buffet?
I work in a Swiss chocolate factory and would definitely bring self-made chocolate!