National Youth Leader Days 2023 – a super weekend for young rural developers in Finland

The national Youth Leader Days (Nuoriso Leader -päivät) were held on 24-26 November 2023 at the Piispala Youth Centre. The event was attended by young people aged 14-25 years old and LAG employees from eighteen Leader group regions across Finland.

Many LAGs in Finland have their own Youth Leader –working groups where young people can take part in the activities of the LAG and offer their unique insight. There are many ways that these working groups are organized and some LAGs even offer special funding to youth projects. Notably practices vary from one LAG to the other.  The aim of Youth Leader -days was to promote the networking of young participants as well as LAG employees working with local youth. Discussions on what Youth Leader activities look like in their home region and what life in rural areas looks like from a young person’s point of view were held, for example through various workshops. These workshops took the form of a human library, speed friending, a panel discussion and a tiktok- workshop.

In the human library, young people were able to listen different Leader related stories. The topics of theses stories ranged from stories about international exchanges through Youth Leader, career related stories and personal growth stories.

During the speed friending workshop, participants were able to meet young people from other Leader regions, share experiences of Youth Leader activities and delve into the most important questions in life, such as which is cooler to live in a rural area or the city?

The young people themselves were involved in the planning and successful execution of the Youth Leader Days, so the event was by the youth for the youth. More than 20 active youngsters from eight LAGs took part in event organization. One of these active youngsters was Emilia Sipilä 15 years old from the youth working group of the Leader Varsin Hyvä, who was involved in running the Speed friending workshop.

”I loved running the workshop because there was such a good atmosphere, and the vibe was great. It also looked like the participants were having fun and running the workshop was a great experience. It was a great feeling to see that you had worked hard for the workshop and the end result was so good.” Sipilä rejoiced.

The young people also had the chance to challenge themselves and make tiktok- videos in the ”Hey, let’s make it  a tiktok” workshop. The workshop included a competition to see who could imitate the funniest youth working group meeting and how the recipient of funding could react when they heard about the decision. The aim of the workshop was to provide tools for marketing Youth Leader activities and to practice speaking and presenting in front of the camera.

One of the workshops took the form of a panel discussion, where participants were able to sit down and listen to young rural developers discuss youth participation in the development of their own region and its impact. The panelists also discussed how Youth Leader could be developed in the future.

Veera Bohjanen 19 years old and Karoliina Tuikka 22 years old from Leader Liiveri and Tanja Sakko 23 years old from Rieska-Leader participated in the Speed friending and human library workshops.

”Both workshops left me with good experiences. Speed friending was really useful, because you could network and get to know new people more.” Bohjanen said.

”The workshops were really nice. In general, there was enough of things to do during the weekend and I get to know new people.” Tuikka commented.

”Speed friending was especially handy for me, as I knew only one person here before I came. It was easy to break the ice and get to know people more. The human library was also very interesting, as I got to hear other people’s growth stories on different topics.” Sakko commented.

In addition to workshops, the program included creative and sporting activities and more relaxed socializing. Saturday included also a Youth Leader gala, where young entrepreneurs from all over Finland who have received funding through their local LAGS sent in their video greetings and there were also competitions as well as dancing. One of these entrepreneurs was young entrepreneur DJ Vänskä, Arttu Väänänen 15, who kept the gala atmosphere energetic throughout the evening.

”I heard about funding opportunities for young people from Leader Kalakukko through the 4H association in Siilinjärvi. I am really happy that there is support for young entrepreneurs who do not have a lot of start-up capital yet and could find it difficult to fund their ideas. With LAG funding and a co-payment I could get the tools to run my business.” Väänänen said.

The equipment was tested and skills of this young entrepreneur were demonstrated at the Youth Leader Days, where Partybox 30 speakers purchased with Leader Kalakukko’s Youth Leader funding made the bass roar and the great lights brought atmosphere to the gymnasium. The future looks bright for the young DJ and he has broken through especially at school discos and sports events.

”Everybody was having a good time and danced during the gala and didn’t just sit on the fringes. Everyone was involved in the gala program and had a great time.” said Väänänen after a successful show.

On Sunday, the event culminated in an speech by a popular Youtuber Pinkku Pinsku, aka Pinja Sanaksenaho. In her speech, Pinkku Pinsku encouraged young people to courageously continue their own path despite what others say and reminded them that rest is definitely not laziness. During the event, the young people were also responsible for social media, so you should check out the hashtag #NuorisoLeader on Instagram to get a feel for the day afterwards.

You can check out a video from the event from here:

Thank you to the Leader groups who participated in the event! Special thanks to the staff of the Leader groups and the young people involved in the planning and implementation of the event!

The event was planned and implemented with the participation of.

  • Keskipiste-Leader
  • Koillismaan Leader
  • Leader Kärki ry
  • Leader Varsin Hyvä
  • Leader-SILMU
  • Nouseva rannikkoseutu
  • Leader Ravakka
  • Oulujärvi Leader ry
  • Ylä-Savon Veturi ry
  • Nuoriso Leader -koordinaatioryhmä
  • CAP Network unit in Finland

Liittyvät aiheet