Each year we’re looking for volunteers from the member movements to join the preparation team of the seminar – the Think Tank. The task of the group is to prepare the content of the seminar. The team is also responsible for the facilitation of the activities during the event. Of course – all the work is coordinated and guided by the European Team members. We believe it is a great opportunity for young people to get involved in the process of creating something important for MIJARC Europe and its member movements, to gain the knowledge and skills which can be profitable in the future!
Severin Kessler from KLJB Germany took part in the preparation phase and we was a facilitator during the seminar 2014: “Eating, producing, deciding: our voice and our choice for the future agriculture in Europe” . He described his experiences as a Think Tank member.
My decision to apply for the Think Tank was quite spontaneous. The call for participants convinced me by the topic: “Eating, producing, deciding: our voice and our choice for the future agriculture in Europe” and I decided to apply for it, although I had no contact to MIJARC so far.
For most organisation meetings we used Skype. At the beginning, it was queer to meet on telephone conferences with people I did not know. I had no faces in mind connected to the voices. Nevertheless, every time it was a nice discussing atmosphere. After three months a first physical meeting of the team took place in Brussels. At this weekend, I got to know all the members of the Think Tank the first time. It was a nice weekend and we had a lot of fun additional to the work we had to do for the seminar. Back from the weekend, everyone had some tasks to do until the seminar in 7 weeks. So from now on, the seminar was present in my mind and I looked forward to meet everyone again on the seminar.
As expected, the seminar was the time to see the new mates again but also many new faces – the seminar participants. As facilitator of the seminar, you have to motivate all the participants and care for the group building process. In cause of this task, you get in contact with each person in the group. This was a deep experience. During the seminar week, you get a leak of sleep and sometimes you have to meet when the participants have free time. Nevertheless, I had a lot of fun and I have had many new friends at the end of the week.
In summary, it was a great experience to join the Think Tank and for me it was the right decision. I want to encourage everyone who is thinking about joining the Think Tank team. You get in contact with rural youth from all over Europe, even deeper than you will get as a normal participant of the seminar.
Especially to people who have no contact to the MIJARC Europe so far, I want to say: every time you will feel welcome in the team and it is a valuable international experience.
After five years of fruitful and very effective work Lyubomir Todorov, the President of MIJARC Europe is saying GOODBYE to all of us.
He was very involved in the work of the organization and always ready to help, despite many personal duties. He was proudly representing MIJARC Europe on many occasions and coordinated a lot of activities and meetings – always well prepared and ready for hard work. Now he’s starting his “new life” and we want to wish him all the best!
Crossing our fingers for your success Lyubo!
"Youth work is about young people having fun while learning to love, to grow up and to be free!" Guiseppe Porcaro
This quote is probably the best description of all I have been experiencing over the last five years in my involvement in MIJARC Europe. Only 18 years old, I became part of the Board of MIJARC Europe. Irrespective of the lack of experience I dedicated all my being to the struggle for the wellbeing of the European rural youth. Over the years I learnt to trully believe in and really love what I am doing. I learnt to be responsible and dedicated to every aspect of my studies, volunteering and life as a whole. In parallel to that, I also learnt to be free, to feel free and to think free.
Now, when the time has come for me to step back from the Board of MIJARC Europe, I would like to thank everyone who has supported me over the years and has stood by my side. Indeed there were many challenges, many complicated situations and many uncertainties. However, it is also important to underline that we have had many things to be proud of, many successful projects and many occasions for celebration. Here I would like to mention the National board of YMDRAB. I would like to thank Yonko and Yordanka in particular for their support and for the trust that they have given me to represent YMDRAB internationally. I would also like to mention Ana Silva, the former Secretary General of MIJARC Europe. Throughout the years, she has also been right beside me in realizing all these crazy ideas for new projects and initiatives that I always had.
In conclusion, I would like to say that probably the biggest lesson I have learnt from the last five years is that there is a huge need for values in our society as well as for a strong platform to represent and effectively struggle for the wellbeing of the rural youth. Therefore, I hope that MIJARC Europe will develop in future as a strong platform, which effectively empowers young people, which educates young people and which creates a clear impact on the European society and the politics that guide the development of the society.
Thanks to the support of Erasmus+ and Katolischer Fonds MIJARC Europe and KLJB Germany together with KLJ Belgium, YMDRAB Bulgaria, EiR Poland, GUG Malta and APSD Agenda 21 Romania organised a summer camp "Better together - we care about rural areas". It took place from 24th to 31st August in Germany, in „The Three Rivers City”, Passau. The participants from six European countries – Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Malta, Poland and Romania – gathered together to experience international learning.
The facilitators from KLJB Germany and MIJARC Europe prepared different kind of activities: games, workshops, field visits. Each national team prepared an energizer or an activity. All together they also had a chance to integrate better thanks to workshop on team building leading by professional trainers. All this to give the participants a chance to analyse and exchange the realities in the communities and best practices on the topic, to discuss about realities in rural areas in Europe and rural development and to develop solidarity and tolerance.
For some of the participants it was the first international experience and they really enjoyed the time they could spend together especially in such a beautiful place. And of course – they all could improve their English skills.
We hope this Summer Camp was a great adventure for every participant and we do believe it’s not our last meeting. It’s an amazing feeling to see a group of young people from different countries, with different backgrounds and different realities creating a very well integrated group and enjoying every minute spent together!
Around 450 KLJB members, aged between 16 and 30 years old, coming from the dioceses of Freiburg and Rottenburg-Stuttgart gathered in Heiligkreuztal (Germany), from the 29th to the 31st of August 2014. During the weekend, these young people had the chance to participate in several different workshops such as building a bridge, knitting, photographing, cooking, use plants to make skin creams and tea, experience the situation of refugees, etc. Despite the sun didn't show its face really often and was mostly replaced by some heavy rain clouds, the atmosphere was pretty positive, also because the evenings were animated by live concerts and just before thanks and goodbyes there was a very dynamic mass celebration.
Jürgen Westermann and Ana Silva represented MIJARC Europe there. They have organised a workshop entitled “Behind the Horizon...” , where the participants could get to know more about Europe and MIJARC and break some common stereotypes.
They have baked by themselves a very well known Portuguese cake (chocolate salami) and tasted different specialities, from other countries. Then they have assisted to our already famous Summer Camp 2011 video and all their questions about MIJARC Europe have found an answer.
Hopefully we will see these youngsters taking part in MIJARC Europe activities soon.
It's time to say goodbye to another person working for MIJARC. Sonia Basset, our intern is finishing her internship after four months of discovering the world of international organisations. We want to thank her for her great and very hard work!
Since April 2014 I was working as an intern for MIJARC Europe and MIJARC World.
This internship has been a great opportunity for me to discover the world of work and an NGO that I didn't know before, even as member of MRJC in France. I’ve learned a lot of things, in the association and secretary field and it helped me to know better who I am and what I want to do in my future, as a job and also as a volunteer.
I don't regret anything, even if it was not always easy. To see an association at an European and World level was a big chance for me and I am glad of it. Now I also see some things from another point of view. I discovered the difficulties that appear at such a high level in comparison with my local movement, and it is very interesting. To see the differences between the World and European levels has also been very interesting and sometimes a big challenge. But I think I needed such a challenge in my life, it is a good way to go on and not to be scared of the future. I really hope I could help a bit, even during a short time.
I am also very happy that MIJARC enabled me to meet a lot of people, especially during the seminar of MIJARC Europe but not only. MIJARC is a beautiful network between people everywhere who really want to share ideas, to meet people and to work together for a better world. I hope MIJARC will survive a long long long time and will be developing more and more. I know that this kind of organisation helps a lot in people's life and this should never stop.
This internship was not only an internship for me. I really had the impression to be part of something, of this association, not only to be an intern. I hope it won’t end!