Countdown to the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto Launch 2018

2nd EUROPARC Youth Manifesto Workshop - Kalajoki, Finland June 2018 (© Rita Kovács‎)

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After an inspired first workshop week in the Cairngorms National Park, drafting the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto, the young participants have gathered again between 17th and 21st June to for a second workshop to finalize the document and start planning its roll-out in September 2018!

EUROPARC Youth Manifesto – Workshop II in Kalajoki, Finland June 2018 (© Rita Kovács)

This time, youngsters met in the Finish town of Kalajoki with some new faces joining the project. Participants were lucky to arrive in time to experience the final days before Midsummer and, being quite outdoorsy folk, they made good use of the daylight until late, going for walks and exploring the near-by seaside. Besides, the hosting LEADER groups Ravakka, Rieska and Keskipiste had some more highlights planned to introduce youngsters to some Finish nature and culture: The group was taught how to craft willow whistles by a local carpenter, they went on forest walks including a camp fire break with Finish sausages – and of course, there was some time to experience Finish sauna.

Participants fine-tuning their whistles and putting them to the test (© Anu Hankeaktivaattori)

A quick clip by one of the youngsters, Ellie Moore, gives you an idea: 

While enjoying the peaceful surroundings and exchange, the young people were in Kalajoki for a mission: They had come to finish writing the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto. In the working sessions youngsters made their ideas more conrete; linking their proposed solutions for the issues they had identified in the first workshop to some Case Studies of Best Practises they know from other regions. In this way, the young people developed more than just a document of claims, but a manifesto that is intended to serve as a practical reference document and source of inspiration for decision-makers and managers in rural communities and Protected Areas.

Discussing Youth Governance (© Alan Smith)

With this vision for the Manifesto as a basis for a cooperation at eye-level between young people and authorities in mind, participants also began looking at ways how an effective youth governance could be implemented in rural communities and Protected Areas. Youngsters agreed that trainings and frameworks allowing young people’s voices to be heard more bindingly by decision-makers were needed. Ideas to make this work were many and included running youth empowerment workshops, trainings for decision-makers on how to better empathize and communicate with young people, installing Youth Councils and having a young person representing youth interests in councils and boards. As worked on through the role of the EUROPARC Youth Representative in the Federation’s governance structure, for instance (see the elections for the EUROPARC Youth Representative 2018-2020).

Braistorming for the roll-out (© Alan Smith / Cairngorms National Park)

Matching the discussions on governance, youngsters from the Finish Nuoriso Youth LEADER ran a practical workshop for their peers from the Youth Manifesto project to show them how they are organized as a youth group in charge of allocating funding to other Finish youngsters for creative project ideas. Then all participants practised how to bid for EU project funding and actually came up with some project concepts that would be worthy to put forward as EU funding proposals. 

Finally, youngsters started to plan the official launch of the Manifesto that will take place throughout this year’s EUROPARC Conference 2018. There will be a main presentation on stage in a dedicated slot on the final Conference day and an info desk set up during all three days of the event. All participants will be around for the whole Conference, keen to share and discuss their ideas directly with delegates. They’ll be wearing their Manifesto Hoodies for you to recognize and just walk up and ask your questions. Besides, so much can be shared, the Manifesto youth will make themselves heard and seen in unexpected ways and at unexpected times, showing they’re capable to contribute with what we need to create a sustainable future for our European Parks together: creativity, joy and some good ideas.

Make sure you register to the Conference and get „Inspired by the Next Generation“. 

By the way: For young people (below 30 years) there is a reduced rate available and youngsters will get the chance to join our  Youth Conference including some outdoor training workshops happening besides the main Conference. So, if you are under 30 yourself, make sure you take the opportunity to connect, learn and exchange ideas with youngsters from across Europe this September. You are not in your 20s anymore? Share this info with youngsters from your Protected Area and come together to the Conference!

It is true, young people are the future stewards of our natural and cultural heritage – but they are capable and willing to give input and implement changes already today if given the chance to. (EUROPARC Youth Manifesto, 2018)

 Follow the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto Project also on Facebook!