Young Farmers' Clubs of Ulster, Northern Ireland's largest rural youth organisation was proud to be supporting the first virtual Rural Youth Europe European Rally. The rally was to be held in Slovenia and hosted by ZSPM, however due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the decision was taken to move to the first ever virtual Rally. There were over 50 attendees from all across Europe (Germany, Denmark, Slovenia, Finland, Switzerland, Wales, Scotland, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Georgia and Austria) participating throughout the week.
The opening ceremony took place on Sunday 1st August by the YFCU’s 5th Chair of Rural Youth Europe, Linzi Stewart. Linzi welcomed all the organisations taking part in the European rally.
The theme of this year’s rally was based around “Rural up! The future of rural work or how to turn rural competences into business”. The European Rally had a fun filled week planned with the following format of individual offline work, discovery time and group work. During the week there were workshops on the labour market, rural competencies, rural research, and live panel discussions. The members from each organisation discussed how the topics impacted their lives and the rural organisation that they belong to.
Jessica Lee from Ballywalter Young Farmers club participated in the online rally and commented “ Rally week has brought not only enjoyment but also an education on the rural lives and challenges of those from many different countries. It has been interesting to see that although we live in different countries, our enthusiasm for improving rural youth and improving rural areas is much the same. I am so glad to have been part of the Rally and to meet virtually with those from other rural organisations.”
On Friday 6th August Rural Youth Europe held their General assembly virtually and each member organisation was represented.
Linzi Stewart, Rural Youth Europe Chairman of the Board, started off this year’s General assembly.
She commented: “The past year has definitely been uncertain, but there hasn’t been a more exciting time to be at the helm of a rural youth organisation.
“We have shown resilience and an ability to adapt. Now, more than ever, we need to build a voice for rural people across Europe. We’re just getting started.” #WeAreRuralYouth
The general assembly provided members with the Annual report, elections, strategic plan update, organising the events for the coming year and an update on ongoing projects such as COCREADO, Together Thursday and 25 percent. These projects are ways that Rural Youth Europe are raising the voice of rural youth on a European level and ways the members can get involved with rural youth Europe & have their voice heard by decision makers.
YFCU would like to thank Rural Youth Europe and Slovenian Rural Youth Association for organising the European Rally and taking on the challenge on going virtual for the rally. We would also like to thank Danske Bank for their support in sponsoring the team for the European Rally.
Commenting on European Rally, Peter Alexander, YFCU President saying "The Rural Youth Europe European Virtual rally was a brilliant event. I found it a great opportunity to network with other Youth organisations across Europe and engage in conversation and discussions to learn more about the issues affecting their organisations. I must congratulate Linzi Stewart the 5th YFCU Rural Youth Chair and her team for holding such a worthy event. I look forward to the opportunity to attend the Rally next year in person. "
Photo caption: members attending Rural Youth Europe European Rally online.