This article briefly summarizes the contents and the outcomes of the fruitful discussions we had during the Strategic Planning Meeting, in Brussels between 10-12th of September. The activities included individual and group tasks were facilitated by Dragana Jovanovska and Matej Manevski, members of YEU PET (People for Education and Training).
Day 1 – Saturday 11th September
On Saturday participants were invited to consider the topics of non-formal education, youth work, inclusive societies, strong youth organizations, and sustainability, which are all strategic priorities of the network for 2022-2025.
The discussions about non-formal education highlighted the importance of making the YEU quality label more user friendly, making sure that new member organizations feel welcomed and acquainted with the YEU family, the importance of strengthening the relationship between the MOs, as well as to communicate with European stakeholders about importance of non-formal education while increasing its visibility together with our projects and initiatives.
Furthermore, when considering the topic of youth work, the participants highlighted the importance of recognizing youth work as a profession. Other than that, the MOs recognized that it is necessary to build trust among the network and to work on cross-cutting topics, such as feminism, cybersecurity, political awareness, environmental protection, etc.
To be a more inclusive network, and contribute to more inclusive societies, the participants emphasized the importance of broadening the memberships and of cooperating with governmental institutions to create meaningful joint initiatives on the local level. Moreover, they highlighted the need for more publications and toolkits to counteract the lack of guidelines on certain topics.
Strong youth organizations make a strong network and that is exactly what we want for YEU. In regard to this, the MOs highlighted the importance of knowledge-transfer within the network, more outdoor projects and regular YEU events to foster closer relationships in between MOs.
Sustainability was the overarching topic of this strategic planning and the discussions focused mostly on environmental sustainability. In that sense, the MOs highlighted the importance of being greener in our activities and daily lives, suggesting the development of a green code for the mainstreaming of environmental issues, and a green award, as an incentive for organizations to be greener in their work.
Day 2 – Sunday 12th September
On Sunday, the participants had the chance to participate in discussions facilitated by our Governing Board members – Helen Link, Selin Gürlemez, Tamara Cvetkovic, and Yannis Tsilsou – regarding: YEU Annual Events; How to Get New Organizations on Board; Improving the Overall Communication; and the MO Fee System.
When questioned about which YEU Annual Events they would like to have on a regular basis, the participants mentioned the YEU Convention, training activities, University and Youth Development (in Molina), new year’s eve youth exchange, and eco-camps. Moreover, the MOs mentioned that mobility is a way to strengthen the capacity of the network, and referred to the importance of promoting activities/events that allow new MOs to get to know the environment of the network, such as speed dating or monthly happy hours.
When discussing how to get new member organizations on board of the YEU boat, the MOs were invited to put down names and contacts of organizations that they thought would be a good match for YEU. These should be organizations they knew of or had previously worked with, so as to broaden the membership but still maintain the family values that YEU is all about.
Moreover, the MOs had the opportunity to talk about the current fee system. Thus, the participants suggested changing the formula of the fees to be based on the size of the organization rather than the GDP of their countries. Other than that, the participants suggested the creation of a solidarity fund in order to support the organizations that can’t afford the fees.
Lastly, the participants gave their inputs on how to improve the overall communication of the network suggesting the creation of PDF material containing information about YEU – its history, YEU dictionary with specific terminology and other relevant information. Furthermore, the participants highlighted the importance of YEU’s external communication, suggesting that the network works on a marketing strategy to “promote” YEU and be more attractive to new members. Finally, the MOs highlighted that written content is not always the most attractive, suggesting the creation of the YEU podcast or video content.
We would like to thank everyone who travelled to Brussels for this much-anticipated return of face-to-face meetings. Your input during this weekend was extremely valuable for our network and very much appreciated. We can’t wait to see you again soon. And don’t forget, YEU is YOU!