With summer truly over and autumn already nearing its conclusion, fewer meals are taken outside to the rocks and spontaneous jumps in the fjord are becoming rare. The Souls of YIP’s feet are digging themselves into the cool, clay soil that is now commonly referred to as home. Even with the advent of winter still more than a month away, the first snows have fallen, scarves are being pulled closer to chins and it sometimes feels as though the season has already arrived. The light is taking its leave, and the Swedish darkness is beginning to settle like a blanket over everything, leaving in its place, ventures of a different kind. The sweet and earthy smells of disintegrating summer drift through crisp, damp air and the wind carries off the yellowed leaves of autumn. It seems winter’s ascent into self is not far away, and carried with it, an assurance that it will bear the fruit of transformation.
So, what is YIP anyway?
YIP stems from an intrinsic, creative social impulse. It aims to heed the call of the forthcoming generation by collectively preparing ground for the new future paradigm. It strives to meet the needs of this generation by creating spaces to explore our humanity and the existence of the collective whole within which we develop; space to address the realities of our independence, our connection
to each other and to the Earth; space to shed light on the
impact our actions have in forming the future.
Too complex? Too grand? In this issue of the Newsletter, we will dive into the question, “What is YIP?”, observe it from different perspectives offered through the experiences of some who walk, or have walked, alongside its evolution.
This is an excerpt from an article written in May, 2014 by Reinoud Meijer, Co-Founder of YIP and part of the current Organizing Team.
Understanding the world as one living and interconnected whole, in which everything influences everything, is in my perception, a consciousness vital for healthy living today. If you understand and perceive that everything is, in essence, a form of life, you become not only inseparable from it and in relationship to it, but you even become responsible for its wellbeing; responsible at least in so far as you understand its role in the collective. In the realm of human relations, this could translate into the question brought to YIP by Orland Bishop: “How do I have to be, in order for you to be free?” If looked at through the lens of the interconnected whole, the ‘you’ in the question above, becomes innumerably extended.
YIP has been using the term ‘Social Entrepreneur’ in its description and aim. The term as used by YIP does not describe a limited group or profession, but rather describes people basing their actions on this extended or shifted paradigm, which I believe makes them social entrepreneurs by default, no matter where or in what form they engage in society.
For my part, YIP was never intended to be a program with the purpose of producing Social Entrepreneurs as defined by the prevalent, disintegrated, societal definition. At the core, it is about being human and about what our task as humans is in this intricate network of physical, social-emotional and spiritual existence, called life. It is an attempt to allow young people the space to explore this paradigm shift and with it, face and develop themselves and society. The contributors, most of whom are themselves seeking to base their work on this paradigm, inspire and encourage participants to take initiative towards becoming more fully themselves and, based on this, find their service to society.
To read the full article, Reflections on YIP, click here.
Where are they now?
The 7th Chapter of the Youth Initiative Program is underway. That means that more than six years have passed since the first Yippies arrived in Järna to embark on the journey that is YIP. It also means that hundreds of souls have continued their lives and are carrying with them their experience at YIP. Here is a small window into the life of one…
After YIP, I moved to Amsterdam to study Cultural Anthropology. I finished my bachelor and then went for a Masters in Medical Anthropology where I got especially interested in how normality (or abnormality) is defined and dealt with in society. During my studies I often got compliments for “thinking outside the box,” which started to sound like a cliché after one year of YIP, but proved to be very valuable in the university-environment. At YIP, engaging with issues of earth, people and communities through lectures, but also through art, games and myself, enabled me to think imaginatively, using new ideas instead of traditional or expected ideas. University taught me the latter, or one could say it taught me the content of the box (or boxes), it taught me about the thoughts of the people before me and about how I can relate to them. This might sound very conventional or even boring, but for me it has been of great value to know what’s in the box, in order to clearly communicate what is, or what can be, outside the box.
Last year I started a PhD, a four-year project in which I direct my attention to young adults with mild intellectual disabilities and their experiences of recognition. In other words, I focus on how they can feel valued and esteemed in relationships with others. It calls into question some of the ideals through which we grant people recognition (think of having a successful job, being a good parent, or a responsible citizen) and what happens to recognition when these ideals are not fulfilled. A PhD sounds very serious – which it is to some extent – but in my case it is also very much about getting to know people with completely different lifestyles and backgrounds; it’s about trying to create relationships of trust with them and about crawling out of my comfort zone in doing so.
I think right now, where I see YIP’s influence on my life the most, and where I can articulate it best, is in relation to seeing and creating possibilities. I mean, that within my current framework of study and work I try to create spaces to move, both physically and mentally. Physically, I try to travel whenever I can and combine it with my work. In January, I will go to Lisbon for six months to conduct part of my PhD research there. Mentally, I try to create spaces for the dreamer or idealist in me who, in doing this PhD, ultimately strives toward finding ways in which people can live together convivially in all their sameness and differentiation.
Sometimes it works to create these spaces of possibility and sometimes it doesn’t and I get sucked instead into an uninspiring stream of everyday need-to’s and have-to’s. But generally an attitude of seeing and imagining possibilities remains and I believe that the people and stories that I have come to know during YIP have inspired me to do so. With an eye toward the future, I will finish my PhD, see what possibilities already exist and what possibilities I can create. I can imagine my fellow-sociologist-love and I starting a project in Lisbon where, together with young adults with mild intellectual disabilities, we renovate old houses as a means of creating an integrative community, or I might do more Anthropological Research, or I might combine the two, or… a world of possibilities, frightening at times, but blissful mostly.
It is clear that each individual who goes through YIP comes out the other side a transformed version of themselves. Returning home, or to the places from which they came, is a journey in and of itself; from reintroducing one’s self, to readjusting to what was once familiar, the process does not end in Järna.
An essay written by Irvine Muzuva, a YIP6 Alum from Zimbabwe.
A number of months have passed now. Only a boat of sweet memories is floating in my head and my heart is filled with gratitude. I always hear the music of their voices and memories flowing with joyful tears on my cheeks. I feel the warmth in my heart and my intuitive voice reminds me what family I am a part of. Just as soon as I landed on the soil of my old home, I immediately realized the gift I got from YIP6: family. Although we are thousands of miles apart, there is one home where I feel we all belong to, and in my heart I will be with you always. I came home to Zimbabwe filled with the excitement of being back, and the sadness of leaving the beauty of Europe, its people, the land, the culture and the Yippies. Oh how I love what we have been through, even though it was tough to go through the extremes of that side, I still give a deep bow of gratitude for being hosted in your home.
Home was waiting for me, nothing much has changed. The sun, the forests, the rocks, the people and the taste of our food. Not to mention the smiles on their faces and the glow in their eyes. I love the human beings of my community here in Zimbabwe. My mom welcomed me back with these words, “You went a boy and came back a man.” What she meant I couldn’t figure out until recently. It took time for me to land and be here again. I came home carrying in me a different eye on things, a different language and deeper understanding. This has consumed me and made me feel like I do not belong here until I have learned how the “Yipped” me can live in harmony with my old home. I know it might sound weird, but what I mean is that a butterfly was born out of the cocoon at YIP and got used to the flowers there. After flying back home, the flowers were different. It took time for the butterfly to know that no matter how different flowers can be, they are all flowers.
I carried an assumption in me that YIP was over and my learning journey was going to continue in another direction. That wasn’t true at all. Everything became stronger even more than before. “Who am I really? Where do I belong? How can I live this life after YIP? Is YIP going to be useful now that I am in this situation? Why did I go to YIP?” All these questions became even more alive in me. It almost felt as if I was lost in the fear of being a Yippy in this world we are all part of. The process, which started at YIP, continues much deeper now. Decisions were scary and I was underestimating my capacity. Who knew that it would be so difficult to live when you are awake and aware to what is unusual? No seed can be planted and harvested within a night. It just needs one more step and we are getting there. My only question is, how can we choose to stay in the process and embrace it anyway, no matter how hard it gets along the journey? I appreciate that I got to go through this and I know that there is more to come in this uncertainty. I keep asking myself, how will I continue to navigate this uncertainty?
I wonder how you are navigating in this journey? Anyway, there is a lot unfolding in my path; so many conversations to host, projects I have dived into, and I am living my passion and dreams. I have finally gotten to be what I feel YIP has supported me to become and am still becoming. Back in Zimbabwe, sometimes I feel that only a few can see who I am now and to the rest I am just that one they used to know. It is painful, but I am happy to not worry about how I am being seen, instead, I strengthen how I want to see myself in the world. It is beautiful out there if we look from the inside, living the inside out.
Name: Christianne Sinoo
Where do you call home?
I have had many homes in my life but there are two that I call home wherever I go: Amsterdam, in The Netherlands, and L’Ariège, an area in the Pyrenees of France.
How did you end up a YIP OT?
I attended YIP1 in 2008/09. After a good amount of study, journeys and adventures, I got an invitation in early summer 2014 to come and join the YIP7 team and I decided to take on the challenge.
What do you find challenging in this work?
The diversity and never ending work can make my head explode sometimes. You need to be creative, flexible, adaptable and present pretty much all day long.
What does working at YIP give you?
I feel privileged to be working so close to 25 young adults; their range of learning and constant process asks me to be present and real. I am growing along side them everyday.
Where did you watch a memorable sunset?
Hiking in Ticino, Switzerland. We stood on a ridge with amazing views on both sides, Silas and I, and watched the colors as the sun set behind the Alps. Turning around we could see the moon rising out of the dark sky. This simultaneous setting and rising was phenomenal…
The future is unfolding rapidly. Just shy of two months have passed since the warmth and glorious sunshine poured down on Opening Day, and now it’s snowing outside. 25 Yippies are currently engrossed in a course with Tressa D. Ruelas from the Philippines, exporing frameworks, practices and methodologies in Co-Creation for work in the world. Next week we will be diving into the topic of Sustainability with a course entitled From Complexity Theory to Food Revolution with Brazilian born Eduardo Shimahara. Following that, we will hop on the Art of Hosting train and go for a tour with two close friends of YIP, Maíra Rahme and Zand Craig before plunging headlong into Money and Economics with YIP’s own, Rembert Biemond. The yearlong Personal Projects are underway and the decisions and directions for the International Internships are nearly finalized.
Although the coming times are looking quite litterally dark as the sun creeps lower and lower in its zenith, there is an active engagement and strong will alive among the Yippies of the 7th Chapter. The question, “What is YIP?” will surely be fielded again. And just as surely as it is asked, more angles, more perspectives and more impermanent answers will arise. This is but a beautiful fragment, all truth, but not the truth, and as the boundless thread of time unravels at startling speeds, the future is wide open.
We have decided to change the dates of the 2015 Initiative Forum to a warmer, sunnier time of year! Please mark your calendar as follows:
Saturday, 20th of June, to Thursday, 25th of June.
Accommodation will be made available Friday the 19th through Friday the 26th. Camping will also be a possibility with hopes of good weather!
Here are some ways to make sure you stay informed:
- For specific IF news and updates, sign up for the IF Mailing List.
- For more general IF information, check out the IF Website.
- For news and updates concerning the life and times of YIP as well as the IF, sign up for the YIP Newsletter.
We hope to see you in June!
This News Article is is copied from the YIP Newsletter. The Newsletter is a monthly mailing update on the life and times of YIP and is a wonderful way to remain connected. It is sent out once a month and gives an overview of what has happened, what is happening and what is on the horizon. Every quarter (3 months) we plan to put out a more in-depth issue that looks into the Organization of YIP from a similar lense.
Please spread the good word of YIP by forwarding to friends and family and inviting them to sign up!
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the newsletter or feel that there is something you would wish to see more of, contact [email protected]