Blog 5 – Youth Camp 2018

We must think critically about how we include and prepare young people so that they are ready to tackle the immense challenges facing the world. This is why the subject of this year’s edition of Youth Camp is young leadership and justice. Today, 173 young people from 14 different countries are making their way to the small town of Flekke in western part of Norway. These young people, between the ages of 18 and 25, are new participants in our exchange programmes. They will spend the next week in Flekke learning about what to expect when they leave their home and country to go and live and work in a new environment abroad.

Each one of them have the potential to take on a leadership role: formally – at work on in an organisation, or informally – by being active participants in their local communities. Youth Camp is a chance to experience interacting with people from different countries, cultures and backgrounds. Some of the participants have never before left their countries and many have never been outside their regions. Those travelling to Flekke today come a vastly diverse range of countries: Brazil, Madagascar, Nepal and Norway – to name a few. This is a chance for them to become part of an international network while sharing and challenging their own and each other’s perspectives and ideas.

It is an experience they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. We have been organising and facilitating exchange for 55 years and we know from experience that the insights gained by participants last a lifetime. But young people must not only be taught the skills that enable them to take on responsibility. They must also be given a chance to exercise these skills. We must invite them in, place our trust in them and engage them in the decision-making processes. We must remember that the issues that are discussed by seasoned politicians, civil society leaders, bureaucrats and scholars are the issues that disproportionally impact the every-day lives of young people all over the world. If we hope to overcome these problems, we must give young people the tools to deal with them effectively and justly.

This is why our vision is, “Fostering leadership for global justice, creating change on the ground and in our minds.”