Adventure seminars attracted young people to participate in rural development

Adventure seminars attracted young people to participate in rural development

It must be possible to talk about rural development and the opportunities it offers in a language that young people can understand. Northern Central Finland came up with the idea that action adventures would be an excellent way of passing on the message.

During the Amazing Lande (Countryside) development project, young people became acquainted with the development activities and the results achieved by the Leader group Viisari. The development project increased the awareness of young people towards rural activities and potential funding opportunities. The project had been targeted at young people between the ages of 13 and 24, living in northern parts of Central Finland.

The young people that participated in the Amazing Lande activities showed that they have the strength and skills to organise events. During the project, 6 adventure seminars, 7 different events, and a field trip to Estonia were organised.

The seminars were attended by approximately 150 young people. Young people were fully involved in the activities and tried, for example, descending from a sight-seeing tower, tandem skiing, snow sculpting, making a movie, improvisation theatre, and introspection and self-development in a self-portrait workshop.  
The events, which were open to everyone and planned and arranged by young people, were attended by some 1,700 people. The two-day festival has survived even though the actual project ended.
 
The young people felt that when they get fully involved, they can experience something amazing.
The field trip was made to the home turf of Viisari's Estonian co-operation partner, Tartumaa Arendusselt. During the trip, the participants became acquainted with the local adventure park, the Ülenurme centre for children and youth, and a music school.


Visibility  in the media and stories of growth


The project attracted quite a lot of local attention – and some national attention, as well. For example, the Kantri supplement of the Maaseudun tulevaisuus newspaper ran a four-page feature on the project's adventure seminar.
 
The project objectives were achieved with flying colours. The project significantly expanded the young people's awareness of Leader activity, provided them with faith in rural development and a positive image of their home region, gave them an opportunity to learn about how to organise events, and promoted networking across municipal borders.
 
The closing party of the project showed what Amazing Lande has been all about: young people have learned to know each other across municipal borders, they carry the roots of their home region in their hearts with pride, they now know what Leader activity is, and, first and foremost, they now know how to organise a good event on the basis of their own ideas and totally on their own.
“I have seen amazing stories of growth during the project. The young people that joined in have felt that ‘even I can and am allowed to do something’ and this has given them new energy,” says Jannina Lahti, who acted as project coordinator.
 
The young people considered it great that they were allowed to test special things under expert guidance during the Amazing Lande project. They found it wonderful that they were given almost free hands and funding to organise the events, which enabled them to do something out of the ordinary. Concrete examples of Leader targets and activities planned around them were a good way of approaching the subject. When planning the adventures, the participants also noticed that their own home municipalities offered opportunities for multiple things.
 
Project implemented by: City of Saarijärvi
Project financed by: Rural Development Association Viisari ry

Teksti: Mari Puro
Kuvat: Jyrki Vesa