The history of YEU Convention
The history of the YEU convention
The non-formal Catholic group from Germany, decided to make international camp
Bernard Zausender was the biggest authority and worker in beginning of YEU
In separated Germany (Berlin’s wall) everybody were dreaming about exchanges where youth from west, can meet youth from east
But in the end the mighty dictator emperor crashed. Imprisonment was their punishment.
The history began in 1980, when the non-formal Catholic group, from Germany, decided to make international camp. The idea of event was been waiting one year to come true in the Bavarian Alps, on the beautiful lake Koshelsee, during the summer of 1981. The participation were youth from Italy, Austria and Germany. The same group organized camp next year in Schrottenbaummuhle, under the theme “Symbols in our lives“, with much more participants than before. And it started… After this event, the group decided to organize very big camp, in the same place. This event was one of the main events which influenced development of YEU the most. It was first International Youth Convention in august of 1983.
The topics of event were more than symbolic, “Borders between people and peoples”, like a symbol of exchanges between countries, especially between youth in Europe. The camp was divided in to four villages and each camp village consisted of several sleeping tents and one larger meeting – tent. The number of participants is very hard to reconstruct, but it was between 120 and 140 youth all from Europe which were facilitated by twenty animators. For now day’s conditions, it was big event, hard to be organized, especially if we know, that communication and technology aspects were not developed like today.
Da i l y T ime t a b l e o f Convention was:
8.00h – Breakfast
9.30h – Programme
12.00 – Lunch
18.30h – Dinner
20.00 – Evening programme
23.00 – Quiet
As we can see, the participants were obligated to wake up very earlier and also, to go to sleep earlier, of course without famous YEU’s passport control.
One of main specifies of this event was organization of camp, which operated like democratic system, in decision making process. The democratic system consisted of two houses, the Parliament and the Senate. The Parliament was composed of 12 delegates. Each village sends 3 delegates to the Parliament and 4 to Parliament and each day a new delegate was represent of village. It was rotation system like in old Greece democracy. The first convention was organized by catholic group, with strong democratic orientation. It proves way of organizing camp life, and design convention’s logo, which is combination of Christian’s and values of freedom.
Bernard Zausender was the organizer and father figure of the convention. Person who was the biggest authority and worker in first ten years of YEU. The one letter sent by John Weetman, one of participant from IYC 1983, made it very clearly: “Bernard however will be remembered by the girls especially, on the first evening we met when he astounded us all appearing in his traditional Bavarian bib and shorts, display his physique to all, very naughty. I thought this was religious convention. The English girls did not stop talking about it for weeks. For all his comic exploits a big vote of thanks must be heard, as it was his initial movements a few years ago that made this all possible and made so many international friendships. Thank you Bernard…” (John Weetman).
In separated Germany (Berlin’s wall) everybody were dreaming about exchanges where youth from west, can meet youth from east. The patron of the project, Auxiliary Bishop F.X. Eder, said during the convention: “The incorporation of youth from Eastern Block countries in this kind of event is great aspiration which cannot be accomplished in very near future. The problem does not lie with people as such but with politics. We should never give up hope that this idea can indeed be realized someday “.
The information about this event was left in publication which was made after the convention. The spirit of exchanges and youth mobility, in spirit of peace and understanding, was spread all around the west Europe, following the spirit of United Europe.
Next station in beautiful world caravan was north of Europe, and the Second International Youth Convention was happened in Ireland. The organizing team decided to keep traditional organization of camp in democracy style with 4 villages group. In the convention were present groups from Germany, England, Irish group from Belfast and Dublin, Austrian and Italian group. There were 124 participants which were discussing about Striving for peace.
As we can see first two Conventions had two fundamental topics which build identity of YEU. The participants were thinking how borders can be less strong, and how to increase mobility of youth in Europe and second Convention was about way of doing that, through culture of peace and understanding, later and these days it is still base of YEU. Little brother of YEU continued to grow up, and next, bigger International Youth Convention, took part in the country which participants were one of more active.
Italy group hosted young people from 8 European countries following the theme of Christian and European common roots. During the 19 days the caravan of third Convention passed through Milan, Firenze, Roma, Assisi, Rimini. The organization team (21 year ago!) was aware about different aspects of youth activities and methodology. In leader handbook they recognized important aspects:
Historical aspect must be found in cultural research
Existential aspect includes opportunity of sharing a true experience day by day
Political aspect express the intention about future of Europe
Spiritual aspect, for organizers of IYC, includes the daily player and similar initiatives
The topic of this event, Christian Pass...Christian Future, expresses clear intention of organizers to seriously think about values of democratic Europe, in spirit of Christian values. It was normally in that moment, because the YEU was Catholic organization in the beginning, before it was established like International organization. Almost, before baby YEU was born it organized fantastic convention in France 1986.
Everybody has right to be born, so people in YEU decided to prove that, and the topic of 4th International Youth Convention was Human Rights, one of the most used words in modern society. The 4th Convention raised 100 young people from 10 different countries, which spent 20 beautiful days in France during the august of 1986. Their meeting was marked by games, debates, case studies and interesting visits which aspire to positively affect all participating.
The spirit of the International Youth Organization was born one beautiful morning, the story is going like this....It was early morning of August 20th. The birds were singing, the sun was rising, and the little bunnies were jumping through the forest. 98 Convention – participants were sitting in the sun. Suddenly, a very angry high – breaking voice shouted:” May I have your intention?! Without any please! Eleven policemen and one pretty Indian – girl – Dictator gave the order to meet in the big tend. A boy called “Nobody” refused and immediately all policemen picked him up and punished him. First being hit with Indian dancing sticks and then being given a terrible face with blood. Pure “Nobody” was crying and crying. This was the beginning of the black day. Like in Italian Coliseum, Dictator ordered football match, but during the game, rules changed by the corrupt police referees who favoured their own village “The Blueberries”, declaring the goals when the ball was at least five meters above the goal. “But the best team, “The Dynamits” won. So, after all hard games Dynamits were were doomed to play the dictator’s team. Once again, the corrupt referees particularly made up their own rules. This growing resentment against the Dictators erupted into a full scale revolution. Capturing the Dictators the battle roared on to and fro. But in the end the mighty dictator emperor crashed. Imprisonment was their punishment. Viva democracy!!!
It was before 20 years, nowadays we can see that there is still some dictators, and people who are offended by them, and corrupted police, but the happy condition is that we always can find people ready to fight for their own rights. YEU was built to help people, to give possibility to young people to travel, learn about others and try to understand different point of view. Because of better work, almost developed network of young decided to make international organization.
After the 4th International Convention, Bernhard Zausender (where he was head of project) wrote to the member organizations: ”I want you to know, that Baby-YEU is very well, and that we are looking forward to some very interesting programmes this year”. Till today, baby had grown up in a responsible young person, 20 years old, who is aware that modern society is not ideal, and that we have to work a lot, of if we want peaceful future society. “Nobody” must be past, because everybody has his/her own name, and right to be different.