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What was happening in our lives as volunteers in the past months?

The first thing that I would love to say is that it was an exciting period with plenty of new activities and surrounded by amazing and friendly people. 

March and June is the camp school season in Hyvärilä so our principal task was to help the instructors during activities. We also visited the Youth House in Nurmes, where we spent time with youngsters cooking, playing, doing workshops or just talking with them. 

Both are types of youth work

What kind of activities do we do in Hyvärilä?

There’s plenty of activities outside and inside: outside in nature you can participate in fishing, canoeing, Hyrlinki, frisbee golf, geocaching, paintball, rope landing, tournament and a lot of games where youngsters will work together to solve common problems. Sometimes groups choose to do activities outside like hiking in Koli or in Ellu (a beautiful spot just 6,5 km from Hyvärilä where you can make fire, swim and enjoy sauna).

Campfire in Ellu, Nurmes

It’s not mandatory to attend these small trips but I absolutely recommend going. It is a great time to spend time with them, get to know the culture better and, of course, explore North Karelia. 

Hyvärilä has a big sports center called PielisAreena. There groups can practice  indoor activities like archery or bouldering. There are also creativity activities like painting an ukulele or a mug (Those are my favourite ones).

And finally I need to mention the Karelian Pie Workshop: in this activity children learn how to make this traditional and tasty food.

For future volunteers: try it! It is a must, you will appreciate what a freshly baked Karelian Pie is, I can’t describe how delicious it tastes, you should experience it yourself. 

Maybe at this point you’re wondering how you can help in all of these activities, they are a lot and quite different. Easy: ask what instructors need, be proactive and try always to contribute with your grain of sand. Another thing that is important is to be open with the children and encourage them to enjoy and have a good experience in their camp. Not all groups are the same, but I have to admit that sometimes I created strong connections with them and I was sad when they left Hyvärilä. At the beginning, they’ll be shy and silent, but after a while they’ll try to speak and, at the end, they’ll want to do all the activities with you. This is so amazing and exciting for me!

What else?

Our youth work is not all, we joined other activities and workshops. For me it is really exciting and positive to do different tasks. It’s a continuous learning process. Most of these activities are connected in some way with the environment and his protection.

For example we visited Närekartano (a local association for unemployed people) to spend the day gardening. It was really nice working hand to hand with locals and creating a green space where the people can work together. Other day we joined the local community to clean Nurmes. On both days, we ate and spent great moments with the locals, and I have to admit that they’re absolutely welcoming and lovely with us.

We have been busy helping in the event: Ulos, ut, out. The goal of this event is to share knowledge about how to combat climate change through education. The conferences took place online and in Hyvärilä and during that time we helped to make coffee for the assistants and take photos to show the making process . 

We have participated in a lot of workshops like:

  • How to make your own insect hotel and why it is important.
  • How to build traditional Finnish fences.
  • How to make traditional Finnish bread (pettu).
  • Learning why the lupine (this beautiful violet flowers) are dangerous for the environment.
  • Learning about local species in Joensuu.
Collecting lupine.

I’m grateful because thanks to every single experience I could learn a lot of things that are totally new for me.  I can be in contact with nature and I can do something to take care of the planet. 

The last thing that I’m going to mention isn’t part of our work but I think is nice to share: last monday we went to “try” to sell macramé bags, wall hanging and hats in the toripäivä/market day (everything handmade with love). It’s funny because we look so local! 

Yasir and Tuomo in the market place.

See you soon and thanks for reading!

With love Laura Glez.


Published by volunteersofhyvarila

Hello! We are volunteers at Hyvärilä Youth Centre, Nurmes, Finland sharing experiences and projects.

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