At the end of March 2023, our team of youth workers from across Europe met in the ecovillage Hof van Moeder Aarde (Garden of Mother Earth) in the Netherlands for the sixth Transnational Project Meeting (TPM) of the current Yes to Sustainability Partnership co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme.
The meeting focused on the ending of the KA2 project Partnership, which allowed the YTS network to grow extensively and create a meaningful impact over the past two years. Hence, this last TPM was devoted primarily to celebrating the network’s achievements and preparing for transitioning to a new structure that will serve YTS from May onwards.
Our first sessions were dedicated to reconnecting with each other, mapping the needs and expectations of the group, and then adjusting the schedule accordingly. The first day ended by reconnecting to the Yes to Sustainability’s flame, vision and inspiring history, reminding us of its original intention: to create opportunities and make ecovillages more accessible for young people.
The transition to a new project structure gave us the opportunity to hold a sociocratic election to select four coordinators that will act as a new backbone for the network moving forward. In order to ease this transition, we mapped potential collaborations and each working group prepared a hand-over. Additionally, a power and rank session was organized with external facilitation to bring transparency and understanding to this important topic and allow for healthy dynamics to develop in the new structure.
Our days were filled with both work and play; to balance the intensity of the work sessions, we planned in check-in circles, energisers and the occasional plank challenge. We were also able to give time to connect with our hosts and the Hof van Moeder Aarde ecovillage by exchanging our own projects with some of the members and getting a tour of the ecovillage. Each day we enjoyed delicious vegan food and were able to rest in our welcoming accommodations which helped us recharge and nourish our bodies.
As a closing celebration of the KA2 project and the last TPM, we watched a slideshow of some beautiful captured moments of all the people that made this dream possible. We reflected with a sense of gratitude and melancholy on how far the network has come and how it has empowered us, connected us and created a sense of community.
It is time for the YTS network to transition into a new structure, carry its flame forward and continue to create opportunities to connect young people to ecovillages and sustainable initiatives.
Photos by Ciska Van Stuijvenberg, Jennifer Shek