It’s finally here! For almost a year the WAGGGS Europe external relations group has been preparing for YO!fest. We have attended partners’ meetings, planned workshops, networked with other attending organisations and gathered a group of enthusiastic WAGGGSies to attend this year’s edition of the YO!fest and the EYE (European Youth Event) in Strasbourg.
You might ask yourself: YO!fest? European Youth Event? We understand, the landscape of European events and initiatives is big, confusing and not very easy to navigate. The European Youth Event happens once every two years at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. This year it is combined with the annual YO!fest, organised by the European Youth Forum, which set up tents, stages and food trucks outside the parliament. Both events want to bring young people from all over Europe together to get to know each other, discuss and learn.
As a member organisation of the European Youth Forum, we were asked to think of some program for YO!fest with a focus on digitalisation and employment. These topics might not be core business of WAGGGS but we took the challenge!
It's worth mentioning: on Friday morning, YO!fest stood on the brink of being called off. A storm had hit Strasbourg Thursday night and more than half of the YO!fest venue was deemed unsafe.
Instead of resigning, the youth organisations from all over Europe showed their persistence and resilience. Within mere hours, the volunteers had turned the two unscathed tents into the main venue for all activities and nothing had to be cancelled – we all just had to huddle a bit closer together to make it work.
The day went on to be sunny and we all got to enjoy the different activities we booked – from panel discussions on apprenticeships or cross-border crime to planning meetings for a pan-european party. Finally, we topped a successful day off with some international dinner, amazing ice cream and a concert by Ella Eyre. Another one of these days please!