From 12-18 June a total of 25 people representing 16 AFS partners across the EFIL network were gathered in Kiljava, Finland for the seminar “Chapter Development: quality youth work on local level”. The event is part of the wider project ‘Quality youth work: from local to European level’ funded by the Erasmus+ Finnish National Agency, together with the Seminar on External relations and AFS profiling which took place a month before.

Participants included local chapter volunteers, board members and staff, making the training the perfect space for good discussions, best practice sharing and development of local chapter strategies.

The aim of the seminar was to empower the participants to create and strengthen local chapter structures, including identifying challenges in their chapter work, make chapter meetings and decision making processes more engaging, use intercultural learning to create local impact and learning from other youth organisations. The outcomes of the seminar on AFS external relations and profiling were also presented, to see how also at local level creating links with other organisations and with decision makers is a key factor to guarantee quality of youth work and impact.

From the first day on, participants developed hands on tool to take back to their local chapter and AFS organisation. Going through the volunteer journey, participants practised how to recruit and engage volunteers, how to organise chapter meetings, discussed different chapter structures, worked on succession planning and made post seminar project plans to implement in their own chapters.

In addition, participants received valuable input from Lotta Sjöblom, CISV Chapter Development Regional Coordinator for Europe, Middle-East and Africa. She talked about CISV’s organisation of volunteer, where there is little to no use of staff, as well as volunteer recruitment, task management in local chapters and challenges related to the life of a chapter.

The beautiful lake next to the venue and the almost constant sunlight was the perfect setting for the start of great friendships between the participants. Participants had an enchanting Finnish cultural experience organised by AFS Finland local volunteers including a boot throwing competition, sauna and jumping into the cold lake.

See more pictures from the seminar here.