Almost one year ago in Ghent (Belgium), the Straits Executive Committee decided to organise an event in Bruges that would bring young people together from all areas of the Straits Committee. The theme selected was the environment and host province, West Flanders, appointed House of Europe Ryckevelde to deliver the event. 12 secondary schools from six Straits’ regions agreed to take part in this year-long initiative and, on 21-23rd March, over 109 students and 12 teachers met in Bruges and online at the first ever Straits youth event.
The event in Bruges, the high point of the students’ work together, was the Straits Committee’s first major hybrid event. This format was chosen to allow students from Kent to work with their peers remotely throughout. Over the three days together, the young people were set a challenge: work in mixed nationality teams to come up with an idea for an environmental project that could be implemented at all their schools. Each project had to address one of the following areas: mobility; sustainable food; or the circular economy.
To help get to know each other in the months leading up to the event, the students enjoyed a pre-event programme of online meetings and activities overseen by the event organizer Ryckevelde. These included preparing video presentations for each other about their schools.
With their projects proposals designed, the students then took part in a closing reception where they brilliantly presented their ideas to the judging panel composed of Straits Committee members. This was a convivial moment that allowed the students, teachers and members of the Straits Committee to discuss the projects presented and, more generally, served to underline the commitment of young people to taking action on climate change.
Although six excellent projects were put forward, only one winner could be chosen, and the most votes went to a project on using more local sustainable food and creating dedicated growing areas in schools. This project will now be implemented with Straits Committee support in the second half of 2022 and students from all regions represented at the Straits Youth Event will take part. Watch this space for more information about the project’s progress in the weeks and months ahead.
To find out more about the Straits Youth event in Bruges, check out the video below.