EU-seminar about young people's wellbeing
Nauris, Laura, Sinikka & Cormac.
The 12-16th of September, the Department of culture- and leisure, City of Lidingö, invited persons working in local and regional public bodies and non-governmental organizations in Northern Ireland, Finland, Latvia and Italy to a seminar. The seminar was partly funded by the Youth in Action program.
The aim was to share and compare methods, discuss ideas, experiences and examples of good practices on the theme Improving wellbeing among young people — how to get inactive youth more active.
The seminar focused on health — in this context meaning wellbeing in a broad perspective. The main question was to discuss what municipalities and organizations can do in order to facilitate and stimulate physically inactive young people to become more active.
The participantsThe participants were:Cormac McCann from Parks and Recreation Department, Belfast City Council, Northern IrelandSinikka Pohjala from Lohja Liikuntakeskus Oy, FinlandSara Battaglia from Universià del Terzo Settore, ItalyNauris Vaivadis, Saldus children and youth centre, LatviaAnnelie Alexander, Department of Culture and Recreation, City of LidingöCecilia Eriksson, Department of Culture and Recreation, City of Lidingö
The programThe program consisted of a mix of activities as for instance discussions/workshops linked to the theme, presentations of the participating organizations, Nordic walking in the forest, lectures on Build environment and links to physical activities, information about the Youth in Action program, presentation about the Swedish Sport Confederation, study visits to Stockholm's largest youth center "Fryshuset", the local youth recreation center "Källängsgården" and the "Jobforum" for young disabled people. The group also got the chance to see a little bit of Stockholm (Old town) and Lidingö (Millesgården).
What was the best part of the seminar? Cormac McCann, Leisure Development manager in Belfast City Council in Northern Ireland:— "To learn about Swedish funding models based on participation and how sports facilities usage gives priority to sports clubs. Also how "health" can be used as the primary corporate objective in a municipality."
What about the "intercultural dimension"?To get to know the other participants from other countries was "one of the most unexpected, in a positive way, success of the seminar", according to Sara Battaglia, from the non-profit organization Università Del Terzo settore in Pisa, Italy.
Cecilia Eriksson from the hosting organization City of Lidingö agrees:
— "Organizing an international meeting like this, with people you have never met before, is just like the Forest Gump-expression about life being like a box of chocolates; "you never know what you're gonna get". In this case, my colleague Annelie and I were very lucky to meet four interesting and outgoing persons from different countries and with different experiences. We spent hours talking and comparing situations in our organizations and countries. The team-building came naturally. The atmosphere was very open and warm and we had a lot of fun together!"
What happens next?The idea of the seminar was also to create useful and interesting new contacts and projects within the Youth in Action program in the near future between the participating countries. The group of five countries agreed that a future topic should focus on "inactive teenage girls" and that the City of Lidingö will continue be the co-ordinating organization.