Kokkola/Karleby Finland 30.20.2023-03.24.2023
I am now writing a short report about a four-day seminar, which was realized as a meeting of European associations, for the purpose of building a network, at the initiative of the Villa Elba organization, with #Erasmus+ funding between 20.03.2023 and 24.03.2023.
4 fantastic days in a beautiful Baltic Sea bay, where the Fekete Sereg Youth Association often delegates Hungarian volunteers, usually for group programs. To personally absorb and feel the atmosphere of the location is a special pleasure and a grateful thing, but the dedication and professional organization of Villa Elba’s professionals also deserve recognition.
At the seminar, I had the good fortune to work with representatives of Portuguese, Greek, Bulgarian, Slovakian, Romanian, Turkish,Luxembourgish, Norwegian, Dutch, French, Italian, German and Hungarian associations, of course the first day was mostly about getting to know each other. We are already in contact with many of them through correspondence, but it was very worthwhile to finally “give a face” with the people known from the exchanges of letters. There were also 3 Hungarian delegations, everyone had a good laugh about the fact that we traveled to Finland to finally get to know each other and the functioning of our organizations. With the organizations “Mopka” from Veresegyház and “YOPA” from Szeged, we can thus cooperate within the country’s borders in the future.
During our professional discussions, we talked about volunteering, youth exchanges, education, social networks and supports that vary from country to country, our Dutch colleague gave an exciting presentation – as a photographer – about an educational center that provides daily support education and development tasks for children with “Special Educational Needs” and their families, where young people have the opportunity to express themselves, and use photography as a means of self-therapy.
We also visited Kokkola, where the local colleagues proudly presented us with their music education center, Rokkikoulu. A music school under Rokkikoulu Kokkola youth services offering affordable and versatile education in Finnish, Swedish and English. It gives young people the opportunity for a creative hobby, the development of social interaction skills, and individual or group self-realization on stage. About 140 students study at the school each year. Rokkikoulu has been operating since 1985 and has music by many professional musicians received their education within these modern walls. Over the years, the school has produced many major music productions, music videos and recordings. So it’s a great and exemplary place, which was financed by the Finnish state and is supported to this day.
Of course, when we visited Villa Elba, we also met the team volunteering in the current program, “Friendship”, who surprised us with such fun games – after choosing the company of about 30 people into two groups – how the building resounded from self-absorbed laughter. These guys worked at the primary school in Kokkola for 3 weeks, and they will soon return home. We warmly welcome our two volunteers home.That day, we enjoyed the wonderful opportunities provided by nature and, with a local facilitator behind us, took part in a skills competition in the snow almost up to our knees. The terrain was difficult due to the sudden and large amount of snow, but the team members helped each other and we had a good time together and laughed a lot. It is very interesting, as a serious adult, to experience situations when the inner child is released and starts to play unselfconsciously. The Finnish working community is spectacularly built on complementarity and mutual support, and their coordination and hospitality are impressive.
It would be a great pleasure for us if cooperation with the nations and associations that participated in the seminar could be part of not only our immediate but also our distant vision!
We had a defining and inspiring four days, thank you for allowing me to experience it!