My Europe, My Say! was a project about youth participation and the development of civic competences of young people, centered around the European Parliament Election. The project was lead by the European Scout Region and AEGEE along with other 48 important partner organisations across Europe. The participants were young, motivated and enthusiastic people from all around Europe. They were willing to devote their time and energy for the project in hopes of creating a better Europe and advocate for active citizenship. The campaign started with mobilizing around 150 young scouts at youth events in Strasbourg and Morbecque in mid February. There they got to make action plans, meet with members of the European Parliament and discuss important issues that face young Europeans today. With a mind full of ideas the participants went home and put their plans into action. During the campaign we saw that young people are not only the future of Europe, but also its present. Let’s take a look at a few of the most active National Scout Organisations and see how they contributed to the success of the project!
The Belgian Scout Association, Les Scouts Baden Powell de Belgique, had organised My Europe My Say activities, such as workshops during regular Scout events, throughout the months of March, April and May 2018, that were meant to promote and raise awareness on the European Parliamentary Elections and the Belgian federal elections. The outreach of the event was around 300 people, 30 of them being actively involved in promoting the project on social media platforms such as: the organisation’s website, newsletter, Facebook page and the organisation’s Instagram account. After the elections were done, the Belgian Scouts decided that they will keep the promotion of active citizenship with regular workshops, and plan on establishing and developing a group on the local level that will work on the topic of youth participation. The Belgian Scouts hope that European citizens will decide to continue to collaborate together in peace, through the EU.
Junák-český skaut, the Czech Scout organisation, had been actively involved from January till May 2018 in My Europe My Say projects. They organised lectures and workshops with young people during their regular Scout activities. They had meetings with politicians and decision-makers to learn more about how the European Union functions and what it is done for the youth on both a national and European level. Approximately 300 people were reached during this period through their activities and social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram. The use of the project’s hashtags: #MyEuropeMySay and #YouthUp proved to be beneficial for the visibility of the events. The Czech Scouts are keen in joining similar projects in the future and are taking concrete actions to make it possible. One of the most important outcomes of the project for the Czech organisation is the creation of a proper environment for young people to learn about the EU and its attributes. A follow-up project of the Czech Scout is organising workshops on the inner workings of the EU in the Scout Institute in Brno that will be a part of a one-year project called “Democracy”.
The Polish Scouts, Związek Harcerstwa Polskiego lead a social media campaign in May 2018 where we saw how they were using their website, as well as Facebook and Instagram accounts in very effective ways to promote and raise awareness on the European Parliamentary Elections. Street actions and other visibility actions involving the general public were also organised, with the online outreach being an impressive number of around 10.000 people, both Scouts and non Scouts.
Scouting Slovakia managed to reach 20.000 people during March, April and May in 2018 through promoting and raising awareness on the European Parliamentary elections. They invited people to join in customary Scout activities, where they included workshops about the project and organised meetings with decision-makers in a panel discussion and debates. Street actions and other visibility actions involving the general public were also important. Around 500 people contributed to the success of the campaign by creating regular posts on social media platforms; Facebook and Instagram. The My Europe My Say Slovakian team expressed their interest in working more with EU topics, youth participation and relevant subjects in the future on a national level. Their vision on the future of Europe? Freedom, Love and Tolerance!
Promotion and raising awareness on the European Parliamentary elections, meeting the decision-makers and taking part in debates and street actions involving the general public, were just some activities organised by The Scout Association of Malta during March, April and May 2018. Around 800 Scouts, most of them first-time voters, reached 13.500 people using a variety of social media platforms, such as: their organisation’s newsletter, its Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram account, MEMS Facebook page and personal accounts. The outcomes of the project materialised into concrete actions by establishing and developing a group on the national level that will work on the topic of youth participation. “We need to engage European youth in participation and to be active in generating ideas for major youth policy.”
The French National Scout Organisation, Scouts et Guides de France, organised My Europe My Say activities, such as workshops, meetings with the decision-makers and debates throughout the months of January, February, April and May 2018. They were meant to promote and raise awareness on the European Parliamentary elections in the French community. The outreach of the event was around 5.000 people. The Scouts were actively involved in promoting the project on social media platforms such as the organisation’s website, newsletters, Facebook page and the organisation’s Instagram and Twitter account. Promotion of European values during the French General Scout Assembly and organising an exhibition were also great opportunities to engage with 500 other Scouts. A survey of 1233 young people, aged between 14 and 17 offered a great chance to discover new ways for Scouts to work on youth participation and active citizenship. The outcomes of the survey were that young people want regular workshops on youth participation.
February, March, April and May 2018, were busy months for the Danish Scout Association, KFUM-Spejderne in Denmark. They organised a variety of activities in order to promote My Europe My Say project, such as lectures and workshops with young people, meeting with politicians and decision-makers in a panel discussion and debates. They involved the general public with organising street actions and other visibility actions, 500 people were directly reached through these activities, an additional 600 indirectly thanks to social media: Facebook events, organisation’s page and other channels. An election night event was celebrated and was open to all members of the KFUM Scout Association. the Danish Scout say that they will continue with regular workshops on youth participation, establishing and developing a group on the national level that will work on the topic. Actions that were already launched based on MEMS experiences has led to the first ever youth forum in the NSA that took place in September the same year.
During the month of March, the Hungarian Scouts organised lectures and workshops with young people and used a European Parliament simulation in order to promote youth participation and active citizenship among young people. An estimate of 500 people were reached by posting on their website, newsletter and Facebook page. They will be establishing and developing a group on the national level that will work on the topic of youth participation in hopes of effective collaboration, productive dialogue between the EU member states, NSOs and citizens to create a relation based on mutual respect. For the participants of the project, this project has become a part of their Scout identity.
ASDE Scouts de España launched a national campaign in March 2018 by promotion of voting in the May elections.
By organising community-based activities that educated their peers about their rights and duties as active citizens, and sensitise them about the importance of having young people working alongside the older generations to shape the future. They got running candidates to join them in face-to-face and virtual meetings where voters got to know more about the people that want to represent them in the European Parliament. These were key-factors in the development of their contribution to the project and the estimated outreach of their campaign is around 400 people, both scouts and non-scouts. Their plan is to work further with this project and the topic of European youth. Ideas discussed within their team have involved the introduction of educational content in their Scout programs to help children and young people acquire a stronger critical and democratic spirit.
Latvian Scouts decided to organise lectures and workshops for young people to raise awareness on the European Parliament Elections, and even included a workshop about MEMS in one of their Scout camps. Over 3.000 people were reached due to their efforts on social media, the Scouts promoting active citizenship among young people on the organisation’s website and newsletter, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The Latvian Scouts want to continue hosting regular workshops on youth participation and the function of the European Union, and plan on establishing and developing a group on the national level that will work on the topics. The national elections in Latvia will be in 2021 and the Scouts have expressed an interest to be involved and promote youth voting. They have already re-established their external representatives and youth participation working group, as they have been involved in other state level projects as youth educators about active citizenship education elements.
My Europe, My Say capitalised on the momentum and dynamics created in the framework of the elections. It still contributes to several advocacy pursuits such as the recognition of non-formal education as a crucial space for the development of civic engagement and the adoption of the next EU Youth Strategy by member states.
A social media campaign that involved many other countries as well, named “If I Were An MEP For A Day” offered young people the opportunity to voice their dreams of a more united Europe while putting themselves in the shoes of a decision-maker. The campaign gathered the most burning issues that matter to today’s youth and tried to channel them to running candidates in search for responses. You can check out the results here.