Community & Collaboration

Dear Friends of YIP,

The Yippies have gathered back in Tallevana after a two week winter break. We started by looking at the purpose of the Community and Collaboration block in the curriculum and the different course weeks, which culminates in the annual Initiative Festival organised by the Yippies. This year, YIP14 have titled their event, “The Lighthouse – A Little Festival” which will take place in the first week of March. We also had a circle of intention setting, inviting each other to listen and support one another as we stepped into the New Year.

While the world outside is in stillness, the hive is buzzing with activity. The Yippies are exploring and co-creating the organisation of their Initiative Festival, preparing for their Learning Placements and supporting eachother with their Personal Initatives. This means learning by doing, trying out, sometimes failing and starting all over again. On top of all of that, we are enjoying the beauty and cheerfulness of community living and magical Open Mics in the common room.

Many exciting events lay ahead and we look forwards to sharing them with you. See you soon!

by Pauline Wenzel 

In this newsletter you will find:

• Arrival and Community Check in by Tessa Ruitenbeek

• The Art of Dialogue by May Wyss

• Initiative Festival Groundwork by Emma Wulterkens

• Project Skills I by Ella Smalley

• Update Learning Placements by Emma Wulterkens

• Invitation for the Initiative Festival 2022

• YIP15 Applications and Live Chat

Photo by Pauline Wenzel

Arrival and Community Check-in

After the winter break, the Yippies were warmly welcomed in a snowy, icy Järna. Some came back from seeing their family and/or friends, while others had enjoyed an unusually clean and empty Tallevana. However, for all of us, the winter break was a time to reflect on the first 4 months in YIP.

I went back to the Netherlands and I remember how I was looking forward to sharing a kitchen with only 3 other people, having my own bedroom and being able to cycle around. And although I had a lovely time with my family and friends, I noticed that I felt like a stranger in the city I had always called home. Despite having the luxury of all cooking utensils being within reach, I missed the fuss of running through the house to find the scale, mixer and fitting in the oven tray. And although my bike was ready to be used, I preferred to walk.

I remember how distant YIP felt from the moment I arrived home. It was almost as if these 4 months had just been a dream… I realised that Tallevana is where I feel at home now, in the middle of the beautiful nature, surrounded by lovely people, who take care of you, challenge you and change you.

Before we would dive into our next course, we set our intentions for the next months. We read through our motivations to apply for YIP, and what called us to take action and make a positive change in the world. We read a beautiful quote about commitment (written by W.H. Murray), which said that once you commit to something, a train starts moving, and it will bring you to places you never imaged you could reach.

by Tessa Ruitenbeek

Photo by Janne Bierens

The Art of Dialogue

What does communication really mean? We communicate through our body language, through our facial expressions, through emphasizing and lastly through the words we speak.

There are multiple layers of communication: 1. What I actually want to say. 2. What I end up saying. 3. What the other person understands. For example, I want to say: Can you do your dishes? but I actually say: You never wash your dishes! What the other person hears: You are so messy!

Sometimes I wonder how we manage to communicate at all, when everyone thinks in their own way and uses words differently.

Sometimes I feel like there aren’t enough words in the dictionary to express and convey all the thoughts and feelings that rush through me.

This leads to so many misunderstandings, which lead to conflicts, which can lead to wars, in the worst case scenario.

So I ask myself, how can I use the words that are in my proximity, to communicate clearly what I mean, want and need? How can we create more connection between ourselves, through the way we talk to one another?

In this week’s course Sarah Box gave us the tools and directions that enable us to find our way through the labyrinth of words and misunderstandings.

To begin, we have to look at the way we think of ourselves. Every judgement we of other people, stems from a feeling that a certain action of another person triggers in us. And every feeling, like frustration, loneliness or joy, points to a need that we have. A judgement would be: She never listens to me! Which was triggered by a feeling of frustration, but the root is the need to be heard and to have connection to the other person.

This doesn’t mean we should try to stop judging. It is an automatic thought process that we can’t suppress. Instead we can be aware that they are not the reality, but our thoughts. And that they always point to some kind of need in us, that is unfulfilled.

After we have become aware of our judgments and the underlying needs, how can we communicate them? Instead of saying: You always come late! You can first observe the situation, then express feelings and needs: The last three times I met up with you, you came 15 minutes later than we planned. This makes me feel stressed, because I have the need for safety and certainty and we only have an hour for our meeting and I would really like to make progress.

The last step is the request: Can you let me know in advance that you will be late or that we can reschedule the meeting?

After going through these 4 steps, you complete the art of communication! Also called Non-Violent communication (NVC).

Different reactions came up in our group after learning about this. Firstly there is a certain aversion towards the expressions of needs and judgements. But these are only tools and it is up to us how we want to use them.

Talking about our own needs, we might forget the other person’s needs. What if in the same house with very thin walls, one person has the need for quietness and rest, while the other needs fun and movement? What do we do when two opposites clash? How do we find a middle ground? When do I accept that I can’t attend to someone else’s needs, because they would cross my own boundaries?

When should we use NVC? We don’t need it in every situation. In an emergency when I am attacked, there is no time to explain to the offender that I have a need for safety. And what if I just want to complain about a person or situation, without asking myself where these emotions come from and analysing the needs I have.

My conclusion is that I don’t need to use this method everyday and in every situation. I don’t have to analyse every feeling. But this method helped me a lot, in dealing with and reflecting on personal conflicts and understanding the way I react to people.

Where is space for anger and conflict in NVC? Why can’t we just tell someone that we are really annoyed when they keep forgetting to do their tasks, and that they should just get it done, instead of explaining what it makes us feel and what needs we have.

Our contributor Sarah responded that NVC is not a way to avoid conflict, but actually a way of addressing it. Anger does not have to be suppressed. It should be expressed, but not to the person it is directed at. Every emotion we feel for a person (anger, love, shame), is connected to the story we tell ourselves about this person.

Essentially the feelings we have are not about the other, they are about ourselves.

by May Wyss

Photo by Janne Bierens

Initiative Festival Groundwork

The kickstarter week of our initiative festival started off a little strange. We had to quarantine and so our course happened in the common room of Tallevana (or Talle for short), the big blue house we live in. It was very cozy and chaotic, but we did get a lot done.

Due to covid restrictions in Sweden we had to make a decision about if, how and when our festival would happen. The organizing team of YIP helped us a lot in this process. We had the choice of organizing an online festival, postponing it to June, doing something completely different or creating a little festival with a maximum of fifty participants. After talking about it A LOT we decided to go for the last option.

Which meant…. work to be done! The rest of the week was hosted by the different teams within our festival. I am in the golden eagle team that holds an overview of what is happening, checks in with the different teams and hosts the Tuesday afternoons about the festival. We organized a work session where we set deadlines (or lifelines, however you want to call it) and a title session where we decided if our title can still be festival even if it is a lot smaller. It was called the little festival and then it went back to the Lighthouse festival. It was a difficult session to host and, I am sure, to participate in. But we learn by trial and error and in the end everything was fine.

Then the administration team had a session on how to sell tickets and the finance team decided on how much the tickets will be.

I learnt a lot about hosting, organizing and getting things done in this week. It was challenging but it feels so so good to get things moving again! Today, as I am writing this, the tickets are available for purchase and within half an hour we sold 19 tickets! I am super excited to meet all of you and for our beautiful festival of fools and friends, lovers and family, and other creatures.

by Emma Wulterkens

Photo by May Wyss

Project Skills I

“It is not what the vision is, it is what it does that is important” – Peter Sengue

Throughout this week of Project Skills 1, we were led by Maira Rahme to explore our vision and collective intent for our upcoming Initiative Festival, that we are hosting here in Ytterjärna in March 2022. It was a week of many questions and learning more about what it means to come together as a team. Maira took us on a journey to find our group principles that will guide our action; including ideals of ‘honouring and valuing each other’s needs’, ‘celebrating all our achievements, no matter how small’ and ‘seeking to motivate and inspire each other, to understand our power as a collective’. We studied different models that could help us to enhance our communication as a team and encourage more honest and compassionate spaces for dialogue. For example, ‘The Johari Window’ technique, created by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in 1955, uses what they call a ‘social arena’ to improve self-awareness and personal development. We also considered different ways to approach our personal initiatives and were given the task to complete a SWOT analysis of these projects. We evaluated the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to ask ourselves what we do well and what our gifts are when it comes to project planning, whilst also assessing what external problems could occur when undergoing the process. I hope that as a group we can put these discoveries into action, to help awaken our drive to transform initiatives into reality.

by Ella Smalley

Photo by Pauline Wenzel

Learning Placement Update

Friendly friends, we hope you had an adventurous and wonderful start of the new year. In August 2021 a new beginning started for 35 people from all around the world, we are now YIP14. Our group is adventurous, creative, funny and struggling, sometimes. We strive and work towards positive change and personal development while learning about community and collaboration… Yeah, sounds big. But we work hard and learn a lot in the process. In March and April we are going on a journey to different places in the world to learn about how other people are doing it. To see different cultural ideas and explore communities and projects that create this positive change that we would like to be a part of. For example I, the writer of this little text, am going to Chicago, where I will work with the threefolding concept, set up a Café and host events within a challenging at risk community. For it all to happen and allow everyone of us to go, we need to raise some money to cover our accommodation, travel and visa expenses. We are busy with doing different activities to raise money like making postcards and ‘heitje voor karweitje’ but we also set up a gofundme page. If anyone feels called to help us and donate a little (or a lot of ;)) money, we would be super grateful! Any donation, no matter how small – thank you so much from YIP14 💛

by Emma Wulterkens on behald of YIP14

Painting by Lia Gönner

Invitation for Initiative Festival 2022

YIP14 has created the Lighthouse Festival as a place where people can come together to inspire and connect through stories, art, workshops, lectures, conversations and sharing creativity.

Times are challenging and dark, and we need all the light we can get. Often, we feel helpless in the face of great darkness. But great darkness means that the possibility of change is present.

We have more responsibility for the future than ever before. Within each of us is a powerful creative force waiting to be activated. Each of us must become a lighthouse: a beacon of light and capacity to create real, lasting change in the world and inspire others to do the same.

We must ask ourselves what experiences, healing, and learning we need in order to activate this lighthouse quality within us, for those journeys and needs will be as diverse as we are.

We invite you to ponder the question: How do I need to grow in order to make active use of my fullest potential?

This is the question that we will answer collectively and individually at the Lighthouse Festival. Throughout the week we will explore what it means to be a lighthouse through various methods:

Workshops from experts in making change

Storytelling as an artistic way to reveal truth

Musical improvisation as a training in creative confidence

Movement as an integrated way of knowing

Handcrafts as grounded practice in bringing an idea into reality

Open spaces for participants to share their own work

Participants will gain exciting connections, magical stories, transformative experiences, and practical tools to bring growth into practice in their own lives.

YIP’s annual Initiative Festival has catalyzed countless initiatives, connections, and relationships. We, YIP14, strive to nourish this tradition of creating a space and a structure to support initiative.

The Lighthouse Festival will take place at Kulturcentrum Järna, an idyllic Anthroposophical campus located on the Baltic Sea 55km south of Stockholm. Surrounded by biodynamic farms and lush forest, the campus is host to a Waldorf school, former medical clinic, and much more, housed in magical buildings designed by Erik Asmussen.

The Lighthouse Festival will be held in the Vidarkliniken, the former Anthroposophical hospital on the Kulturcentrum Järna campus. Participants will sleep in warm bedrooms that sleep two to four people and meals will be held in the Vidarkliniken dining area. Workshops will take place in the Vidarsalen conference room and the cozy living rooms with open fireplaces.

Only four regular tickets are currently still available at Check our our website and buy yours now!

Also, great news! Sweden has lifted its covid restrictions, meaning that we can invite more than 50 participants! Another 30 “Late Bird Tickets” are available here via our website, Late Bird Tickets mean slightly less comfortable accommodation in the Orjanskolan gym rather than the Vidarkliniken and therefore a slightly cheaper price. Day tickets for locals are also available.

The lifting of restrictions allows us to invite more participants and we sincerely hope that those who were unsure if they could attend will now decide to join us in March! We are so thrilled and excited that we can open up our festival while keeping the atmosphere cozy and intimate.

Follow our Instagram @initiative_festival_2022, or check out our Facebook under the same name.

We look forward to meeting you in March!

Created by Pauline Wenzel and Bianca Montemarano


This year we have two rounds of intake: the first application deadline is March 15th 2022. We strongly encourage especially those who need a VISA to apply by the first deadline as it can take time to process. 

If you are curious to learn more about YIP or know of people who may be interested, we will be holding a LIVE ONLINE CHAT and Q&A on April 23rd at 20:00 CET. Please email for the Zoom Link. 

We have also created new posters and publication material. Please support us in spreading the word about YIP to help those who would benefit from the experience find us! CLICK HERE for the materials. Thank you!