YIP Newsletter January 2020
The International Youth Initiative Program
Welcome 2020
News from YIP - January 2020
Dear friends of YIP,
Here in the Findhorn Foundation eco-village on the sea coast of Scotland we have been adjusting to new and old rhythms, finding our way.
We wander through permaculture inspired gardens and witness the interplay between colossal cabbage leaves, shy rose buds, brave tulips, and root vegetables ready to be picked. We take long walks along the vast sandy piece with rounded rocks of gemstone colours. We find ourselves living in different kinds of eco-houses. Some with green rooves, some with slanted rooves. Some in old caravans, some in new houses. Each dwelling is its own unique idea translated into reality. This is a place of co-creation with nature and experimentation in building, renewable energy, waste management and community governance.
We sing in the morning and welcome contributors. We now dive into Collaboration and Community Life, learning by doing. As we integrate into the Findhorn community we are hosted in creative workshops with weavers, healers, dancers, musicians and potters. We spend afternoons practicing Love in Action as we give our energy and attention to work in kitchens, gardens, and the wild Hinterland.
We are moving from participant to organizer. January 19th was the midpoint in our journey together as YIP12. It is a joy to witness the laughter, creativity, fears, frustration and intensity of sharing life and work together. Learning about collaboration and community life extends beyond our time in the Community Center classroom. It expands as we work in small groups on our internships, come together as a collective to co-create the initiative forum and then move into our self-designed curriculum weeks and integration.
This newsletter is not only a newsletter. Yes, we bring together a mosaic of Yippie perspectives on the courses and travels in the form of writing and photos.
But this is something more.
This is your invitation to YIP12’s Initiative Forum : Re-Imagining Growth in an interconnected world.
This is also a moment to check out YIP12's Internship page as you finish reading. Perhaps you are curious about their activities and willing to support their dreams meeting realitiy when they depart in ionly two weeks on February 14th.
Warm hugs,
YIP12 Organizing Team and Participants
In this newsletter you will find:
  • Initiative Forum Invitaton by Lina Ashour and Michael McMahon
  • Arriving in Findhorn by Hedwig Barczuk
  • Community and Collaboration by Ruby Sage McGowan
  • Group process and facilitation by Chiara Tonndorf
  • Initiative Forum Process by Leila Koth and Iduna Snip
  • Internship update by Kensho Toyota
Initiative Forum Invitation!
Dear friends,
  …The spring might seem a distant song,
From fair and fanciful fairy folk
In the depths of wicked winter
— But for YIP12 this is not so.
Our every waking minute is filled with thoughts of
Green and fervent shoots.
We strive to warmly sow the seeds
So many a farmer failed to sow!
We toil black earth and nurture weeds
In hopes new things to think and grow!
Alas! We dwarves work underground
To mine the brilliant diamond stones.
Each one, an idea born of love,
for waking worlds
so dutifully kept here in our dreams.”
Thank you Initiative Forum dwarf, that’s enough from you. Nonetheless, I am proud to say preparations for Initiative Forum 2020 “Re-imagining Growth” are well under way. Our artists have worked day and night to craft our logo, and doesn’t it look fantastic?
On behalf of all YIP12 Participants, we would love to invite you to the Initiative Forum 2020!
We want to invite you to join us on a 5-Day quest of understanding the current definition of growth and reimagining it. We believe that we can’t do this process alone which is why we need you there. Each day gets closer to us opening the gates to a wonderful and many layered experience.
Our theme, title, questions and program version 1.0 are now released, so keep an eye out for them. We are excited to share all this with you, but it doesn’t stop here!
New information is coming out every week, and make sure to watch out for our contributors. There will be links to find more about their work. This great way to get to know them before they’ve even met you! Follow our Facebook page and Instagram to stay updated.
This is YIP12 inviting you to join us. We want to have as many people as we can, new or known, to help us reimagine what growth can be in this interconnected world. It’s a process we believe to be so important in the times we are living in. And what’s more, we can undertake this journey of co-creation together.
Inspired by the logo? The poem? The theme? Here are your first three next steps:
>>> To check out the new program click here
If you want to join us but can’t for different reasons, please don’t hesitate to contact us for help. We might be able to figure something out together! You can send an e-mail to initiativeforum@yip.se.
>>> Show your support
We would really appreciate your support by sharing our website information to any friends and family that you believe could be interested in joining the forum.
Written by Lina Ashour and Michael McMahon
Arrival in Findhorn and Experience Week
After our adventure on the isle of Hoy, it was a pleasure to arrive in a more civilized world again. Our new destination was the Findhorn Foundation, a.k.a. The Park, not to be confused with the village of Findhorn which is a 15 minute walk away from the ecovillage where we are currently staying. The people of the Foundation made us feel welcome with a late lunch. Soon we would discover that lunch is the best meal of the day. The cooks here are very skilled and create a colourful warm lunch every day, a healthy meal including soup, bread and salads. Traditionally a circle is formed around the tables where the abundance of food is presented, hands are held by other hands, and one of the cooks speaks a blessing.
There are many ways to describe what kind of place Findhorn Foundation is. They present themselves as a spiritual community, founded in the 60’s by Eileen and Peter Caddy and their friend Dorothy Maclean. They used to work successfully in the Cluny Hotel, but got fired anyway. Findhorn Foundation is an example of what can happen when you trust your own inner clarity. The three characters, whose pictures are on the wall in the Universal Hall, had to leave the hotel. They ended up living in a caravan with very little money and three children. But they received guidance of a higher, spiritual world, related to nature and to their next steps in life. It became clear to them that they had to start growing their own food. And though the soil was not very fertile, so close to the sea, they became famous in and outside of Scotland for the enormous cabbages that started growing in their garden. In the decades after, many people became attracted to this place and its spiritual approach to life. The messages they received are still repeated nowadays and captured in several books.
Today, Findhorn Foundation is a place that hosts thousands of visitors every year. What attracts them? Maybe the courses about sustainable living, eco-housing, permaculture, art and spirituality. Maybe the fact that spiritual practice and meditation are an important part of life in this community. Every day guided meditations and other practices from all sorts of religions are held in the sanctuary next to the original caravan where the trio used to live.
Whoever wishes to be a part of this community needs to participate in the Experience Week. So did we. Our focalizers Mari and Maria showed us around and invited people of the community to tell us about their life and work. For example Alan, who plants trees with his business Trees for Life. He inspired me. He talked about the influence we human beings have on nature. We are often disconnected from our surroundings and our economy is based on the idea that nature is an endless resource that we can use for our own short-term profit. But we have a choice in this - we human beings are the only living creatures on this planet who can consciously decide to act out of love. Maybe this is worth a discussion, nevertheless I see that our consciousness is a special part of our nature.
The beach on the east side of our peninsula consists of beautiful stones, rounded of by the water. The view on the bay at the west side makes me happy, when I walk from the Phoenix café to the Community Centre for another course or meal. Findhorn Foundation houses members, co-workers and long-term volunteers in very unique and mostly sustainable houses. Some other people just live or work in the park, while being less active and involved in the community.
As you will read in this newsletter, we are learning about Community Life and Collaboration at the moment. It is very interesting to live as a micro-community (our YIP group) in a bigger community and to hear from experienced Findhorn inhabitants about decision making processes and to experience this place with all its traditions for the next two weeks.
Written by Hedwig Barczuk
Community and Collaboration
The Yippies have been on our journey together for five months now, and, being at the halfway point of our time together, the group is starting to examine and celebrate the ways in which we have grown together as a community.
We are busy contemplating how multiplicity is at work in our big family of twenty-four. We aim to discover not only how to foster understanding and acceptance of difference — but how to utilise the power of diverse strengths and personalities to help tackle the challenges and goals we face.
With our internships fast approaching and the Initiative Forum on the horizon, collaboration is key. Our schedule is one of meeting-filled weekends and power-hours of email sending and brainstorming. Sign-up sheets and posters scatter the walls of Findhorn’s Community Centre and classroom, as the Yippies make preparations for three different fundraising events: an open mic, a theatre production, and an evening of public storytelling following Roi Gal-Or’s storytelling course. The lively energy of hard work, time pressure, and excitement hums around our heads.
Our togetherness also comes alive in the social sphere of our lives — whether it’s ceilidh dancing at Robbie Burns night at Findhorn, hosting jam sessions in Guest Lodge, or walking to the pub on Friday nights.
Through all this, it is incredible to be able to look around at the faces of the twenty-three other people I share my ever-changing home with. On our first day at YIP we started out as strangers, and every day since then I have seen a new side of a new person, so that I’m realising how grateful I am not only for the multiplicity that exists in our group as a whole, but also within each individual, unique, member of YIP. I am discovering that knowing someone is a practice that cannot be completed, and that I will continue to get to know and be wonderfully surprised by my fellow Yippies for a long, long time.
Written by Ruby Sage McGowan
Group Processes and Facilitation 
with  Benjamin Leogardo
At 7 o'clock in the morning I meet Benjie. He is pumped and very excited. He asks me a lot of questions and waits with a big smile for the answer, while I am still trying to accept that I'm awake at that time for a meeting.
At 9 o'clock he is even more pumped and excited.
We talk about what facilitation and relationships are. After that we look at our own belief systems. The things we think are true even if they aren't and how they influence us. From there we go to the subject of fixed and growth mindset that allow us to change our belief systems. Then we try to fit ourselves in a behavioural matrix (obviously simplified and for explanatory purposes). We discuss what is necessary to create a supportive and enabling culture and the necessity to be aware and express our feelings.
Then we have Fika. We are chatting about the Initiative Forum and the different things we are preparing. The design of the schedule and marketing are hot topics right now.
Benjie asked us to be on time. So at 10:59 everyone starts moving. We are not famous for being on time and he will have to start a bit late.
After Fika he explains to us facilitation techniques, games that are specifically applicable in our internships or during the Initiative Forum. About the characteristics of adult learning and what creates a good learning environment.
At 12:15 we sit down for a feedback round. I am thinking that I like how he teaches. He calls me his Star student, and I am certain I like his way of teaching.
The diverse methods keep my attention level high. We discuss a tool in theory and then, immediately we have the possibility to try it out.
At 15:00 (more like 15:07) we gather back. We have meetings for the preparation of the Initiative Forum, to discuss the internship budgets (a lot of numbers!) and to plan our last fundraising strategy. We have time to work on our personal projects and like every week we go to our different departments to practice some love in action. We sit with our creative sessions and learn about natural remedies, dance, music, weaving, clay and much more.
We close with a community meeting and then there is delicious dinner.
It is Burns night here in Scotland. We eat haggis and pudding while we listen to songs and poems. After dinner we dance with the community members.
All in all it was a great week.
Written by Chiara Tonndorf
Initiative Forum Process
These past weeks at Findhorn have been full. Full of course material but also full of Initiative Forum building.
First let's talk about the power hour.
Last Monday, it was January 20th and something very special was about to happen. Something new. We didn't really know what it would be like, we only knew a name, a very promising name. And that name was 'power hour'.
As happens more often, we gathered in the Upper CC, with its creamy white carpet (which Annie secretly vacuumed every morning last week), its windows in every direction and its multi-coloured stained-class - with a phoenix!
It was three o'clock. So we gathered there, the 12th batch of YIP, to do this yet unknown activity, and Michael explained how it would work.
We would all do the same thing, we would all do it at the same time, we would all do it together. The activity: sending invitations for the Initiative Forum. ALL organizations you know that might be connecting to our topic of redefining growth, (interconnected and with all its different sides, may it be personally, economically, educational or socially), put them on the list and send them an invitation!
So off we went. It had already started slowly, with those whose laptops were opened already, that subtle, yet very present sound of typing on keyboards. More and more typing fingers, lighting screens, puzzled looks, typing fingers, translation sites, and the shared document sparkling with different colours.
When stuck, we asked each other. When successful, we chirped in joy. Together, we worked. Together, we did so much. A lot of emails were sent! A lot of organizations were reached. How sweet, friends, we made such a sweet harmony :).
And when the thing was over, we told each other what we had done, and were very satisfied.
And now... we are waiting for the replies.
Fast forward to the Monday after and again we were gathered together to work on our Initiative Forum. The air was abuzz with excitement, for today we would see what the forum would actually be like. Finally after many weeks of words and conversations the design team had sketched out five brilliant days of interconnected thinking and fun. In the spirit of looking at growth the days follow the rhythm of plant propagation; seeing the seeds of knowledge we have brought with us and sewing them together, investigating the soil, stepping into the role of the gardener, finding ways for us to grow together and harvesting the fruits of ideas. At the end of the presentation there was a collective held breath, especially from the design team that had poured their hearts into this. Then applause! Relief to it see it done and joy to see it all becoming real. Though the relief was short lived, as there is still plenty to do and plenty of meetings to have. We now look toward April with a clear vision and excitement is growing in us. We hope you’re getting excited too.
Written by Leila Koth and Iduna Snip
Internship Update
Greetings from YIP12!
With less than 3 weeks till we depart for our internships, the excitement is growing by the day!
As you may already know, we will be going to various societal organisations across 7 countries (USA, Brazil, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Canada, the Philippines and Nepal) for 5 weeks! We’ve been busy finalising our preparations, focusing mainly on reaching our fundraising goal in the last few weeks before we spread all over the world.
However, despite our excitement, we haven’t quite reached it yet. We are still busy organising and preparing a number of events in hope of some warm support here in Findhorn Foundation.
If anybody reading this also feels like they would like to support young entrepreneurs to go out into the world and explore the possibilities of the future, we have a GoFundme page! The website also contains more details on the events we have been working on!
To support us or spread the world click here
Warm hugs from Scotland,
 Written by Kensho Toyota
Looking forward
In the next newsletter you can expect to find :
  • Initiative Forum updates!
  • Internship
  • Open Masters with Alan Webb and Sarah Bradley
  • Storytelling with Roi Gal'Or
  • Leaving Findhorn
  • Invitation for design phase of YIP13
  • YIP13 Applications
Kulturcentrum Järna 13
15391 Järna

+46 73 097 36 37
© 2020 The International Youth Initiative Program
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