In May 2018 the Cairngorms National Park Authority hosted the first of two weeks of workshops, gathering together young folk from across Europe to write a Youth Manifesto.
The manifesto will outline ways that protected areas and rural communities can become better places for young people to live, learn and work. The manifesto will be presented to delegates at the EUROPARC 2018 conference in September, who will be asked to pledge one or two actions from the manifesto.
At Glenmore Lodge, a group of 30 young people aged 16-25 came together from all over Europe: Scotland, Finland, Netherlands, Germany, Wales, England, Italy and Latvia. Ten of the delegates were from Finland. This is because the project is a Transnational LEADER project, part financed by Cairngorms Local Action Group, LEADER Rieska, LEADER Keskipiste, and LEADER Ravakka.
The young people made a great group. They were all very focussed, engaged and hard working. During the workshops they settled down to produce some good work that will make up the manifesto. Some of the issues identified involved connectivity (lack of signal and broadband), building more diverse and active communities, employment opportunities, low wages, high living costs, increasing nature education, and transport.
When discussing these issues, two of the Finnish girls sat very quietly, not participating much. They then talked swiftly in Finnish, before feeding back to the group: “A lot of these things are not a problem in Finland. We realise that things like funding and transport are much better in Finland.”
As well as all the hard work, everyone was able to have fun. On Wednesday night a local Feis band came to play a ceilidh. Cue profuse sweating and a lot of confused young people. The Scottish weather was kind so a lot of the activities were done outside such as: working, playing games and even swimming in Loch Morlich.
In June Cairngorms LEADER will go to Finland for another week of workshops looking at governance and how young people can get involved in policy.
Would you like to bring a young person to the EUROPARC Conference in the Cairngorms in September? There is a special day delegate rate and also a special youth rate for under 30’s so it really is a bargain. The Early Bird offer ends 2nd July when delegate rates will increase by 20%. Early bird tickets are available now www.europarc2018.com