Mladiinfo interviewed the Secretary General of Active, Kristina Sperkova. Learn more about Active, sobriety and activities they organize or even participate in the summer Camp in Latvia.
What is ACTIVE all about? (Vision, values, ideology)
Active’s vision is a democratic, diverse and peaceful world free from alcohol and other drugs where any individual can live up to her full potential. We consider alcohol and other drugs a hindrance for development of both – society and individuals. We empower young people and create alcohol free environments to enable their development and self realization.
How long does ACTIVE exist? How many members do you have?
Active was established in 1990 and it was first called EGTYF. This name was changed for Active by the Congress in Switzerland in 2006. Active has approximately 30, 000 around Europe.
Talking about activities, how does a year in ACTIVE look?
The main core of Active consists of our European seminars. Each year we have at least 2 seminars where 30 – 45 young people from our member organizations participate for one week. The seminars build up on non-formal education and learning by doing. We discuss various topics such as Human Rights, Rights of young people, Culture, Environment. All the topics are, obviously, always connected to the issues related to alcohol such as young people’s rights in alcohol culture or alcohol and environment. Every year we organize a summer camp where around 100 – 150 young people participate.
Every other year we have a Congress and Camp that is attended by approximately 300 people. The Congress decides our future activities for the coming 2 years. When you say Congress, people usually think of ties and formal environment, which does not resemble our congresses. Of course, young people sit inside, read papers, vote and discuss but as it is all arranged by young people for young people, the atmosphere is relaxed, the methods of work vary from group work to plenary discussions, some parts take place outside and at the end the delegates join the camp participants for disco, night café or midnight volleyball tournament. Few years ago, we started arranging campaigns to involve several countries in one common topic. This year we work on Human Rights violation and young people’s perspective on it. The whole campaign called Human Rights Generation will result in an exhibition in the European Parliament and European youth centers. Besides these European activities, there are many regional and national activities going on. We have Baltic seminars, Balkan and Nordic gatherings.
Lets’ stick to the summer 🙂 You mentioned summer camp? Norway?
In summer 2010, the Congress and Camp took place where we had around 400 participants. The event was held in Fredrikstad, Norway at the beginning of August. The Congress adopted our new Alcohol Policy Paper, approved Plan of Action for 2010 – 2012 and elected new Active board. The Congress was accompanied with the Camp that offered many workshops of various type – from bubble making, dominoes playing or juggling to making an audio CD or discussing intercultural learning. Active celebrated 20 years that summer so we had a big B-day party with a foam party, fireworks and loads of performances.
What kind of activities are there at an ACTIVE camp? How do people party sober?
People party sober exactly the same way as people who party with alcohol. They dance (well and badly), jump, laugh, talk, do crazy things, there are those who prefer just sitting in a night café, talk and listen to music and then there are those who go completely nuts. We have concerts, discos, as I mentioned above, for example, foam party, we have loads of workshops of all kinds, we have people performing on stage or even playing midnight volleyball tournaments.
Can you share your favorite summer camp memory?
It’s not easy to mention just one memory and, of course, the understanding of “funny” differs between those who were there and those who will just read these lines, but pretty funny was one Norwegian performance when a Norwegian group had a member who was a pyrotechnician, so, naturally, they used some fire effects and one of those who were on stage caught fire but as everyone thought it was part of the performance, people were laughing and clapping when he was running around and rolling on the ground to put out the fire. Many people still do not know that it was not a part of the programme.
What about this year’s camp? ROUTE 2011, Latvia? Who can sign up? What can we expect? Will it create as good memories as yours?
All the curious and adventure seeking young people from all around the world are, of course, invited to take part in this year’s Camp! It will be held this summer (1 – 7 August 2011) in Latvia and its name will be “ROUTE”. It is going to be really great. We are going to live in a boarding school surrounded by forest and nature, but still close to the capital city. Our camps are open for everyone regardless of age or country origin and so is Route. It is very simple to sign up on this web page. The camp is drug free, so we expect the participants to be sober the whole week – in that way fun for everyone is guaranteed. The good memories will come with all the great people who come from many countries. We will have parties, workshops, excursions, sport tournaments and we will shoot a video that will be shown in the European Parliament and European Youth Centers.
How would ACTIVE look after the camp? Autumn plans?
Active will not take a break after the Camp and we will directly jump into preparations of our next seminar that will be held in Rome at the end of October. We will continue with our campaign – Human Rights Generation, we will host new EVS volunteers in the office, we will start preparation for the biggest event of 2012 – our Congress on Iceland – and we will, of course, keep helping our member organization to rock the drug free world.