BBC+ is a cooperation of the European Youth Forum (YFJ), standing for Bodensee, Benelux Cooperation+.
We meet twice a year officially, in a host country where young people from the member National Youth Councils (NYCs) discuss their country’s activities and write and form amendments to both their own and European Youth Forum documents.
Upon arrival we were given a tour of the beautiful city of Nyon, a short train ride from Geneva. The surrounding area was beautiful, and we caught our first glimpse of the famous Lake Geneva, an incredible stretch of water illuminated by the glowing street lights.
Once we had arrived at the beautiful Château de Monteret hidden in the Swiss hills, we began working on the tasks of the conference. I felt so lucky to be working somewhere with such a beautiful view; the cold was a small price to pay for waking up to a view of the snowy alps every day.
Led by Janine, a member of the Swiss Youth Council, BBC+’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was updated and amended according to new BBC+ members and changes in the system.
The organisation IGLYO ran a consultation on the experience of LGBTQI individuals in society today. This lasted for two days and gave a thorough insight into both the struggles faced by these individuals as well as the actions we can take to help make our own organisations more inclusive. The most memorable activity involved small groups acting out a scenario given, which was to include as many surprises as possible. This was a very humorous and inventive activity that many groups pledged to take home and run themselves. Each NYC had to evaluate their own Youth Council’s work regarding inclusivity and wrote down three ways in which they could improve upon this when they returned home. We are lucky in the British Youth Council to have many policies in place, but we discussed having separate campaigns in regard to these specific issues, and also to reach out to those member groups of the BYC to ask if there were any other ways we could engage their young people further.
Each of the 13 National Youth Councils as well as Non-NYC members from Hungary, Ireland and Switzerland gave a brief update on the work they were currently undertaking in their home countries. The BYC’s updates included our submission for an amendment for a name change, which induced a lively discussion and led to a further plan to meet at the YFJ Council of Members to finalise the new name.
Across the two days we worked on two YFJ papers, Erasmus+ and involving minority groups, writing our feedback and amendments for each. Splitting into two groups we engaged in incredibly detailed and informative discussions that allowed us to share ideas and make amendments.
The Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe is a co-management structure initiated by the Council of Europe. One of their members, Zuzana, gave us updates on the works of the council, and their plans for the next year.
Before catching our flights home, we met up with former UKYA and current AC member Pegah, who showed us to the UN building and caught me up with aspects of working as a UK Young Ambassador, for which I was very grateful. It is clear that I have very big shoes to fill!
I would like to end by thanking the Swiss Youth for their incredible hospitality and kindness over the four days, and to all the BBC+ members for making the conference so welcoming and enjoyable.
Lucia Jones, UK Young Ambassador to European Youth Forum