stories of the Y-top gatherings 

Going Forward Home [Day 11 and 12]

This last post of the Y-Top Gathering 2018 Blog comes from my home, the Netherlands. Just as all 59 other participants of the gathering this year, I feel time is needed to recover (in a positive way, indeed) from those 12 intense days in Finland. The process of going forward home* differs for everyone - participants coming for the first time this year might find the experience very overwhelming, whilst more experienced participants have more ease (re)finding their own, unique way of reflecting on, processing and settling their memories, acquired skills and experiences from the gathering. * "Going forward home" is our redefinition of going back home: we have invented this to say that all of u

Humanication Day [Day 10]

The Humanication Day was centred around human appreciation: appreciation for different genders, cultures, nationalities and backgrounds. Through mostly expressive theatre, the creation of an international sign language and the world-famous Y-Top Party as a cherry on top of the cake, we explored different aspects of humanication and unconditional respect for one another. Correspondent of the day: William (Sweden) During this day, we went over questions about politeness and respect, and we approached in a very active way. My family, for instance, (the Green Leaf family) made a piece of theatre about considering other people, particularly in the situation of leaving a new roll of toilet paper f

Trip Day [Day 9]

Physical challenges are often a great way to recognise, apply and strengthen ideas of team spirit, resourcefulness, endurance and creativity. A long, challenging hike through nature is therefore part of the Y-Top programme every year. It is an opportunity for us to, in a natural manner, explore environments other than the place we live, and bond during the hours of walking in all conditions. Whereas last year we faced a tough mountain area in Portugal with the burning sun on our heads, bringing us together in Natural Human Communication, this year we went deeper into the Finnish wilderness to connect more to the blue water element and search for more parts and new visions of the Seeds around

Volunteering and Festival Day [Day 8]

The volunteering day has been a part of the Y-Top itinerary for a few years now: it means that we reach out to the local community of the place we stay and offer our services, to give back to the place from which we receive so much during our gathering and hopefully leave it a bit better than we found it. Metsäkartano was really happy to hear that we had 60 people at our disposal to help in any way we could. The same day, we would be organising a festival for ourselves, the locals and other guests of Metsäkartano. So, we were divided into three groups during the first half of the day: One group of 20 people went to the workshop of Metsäkartano to carve bird houses for the birds that reside a

Activities Day [Day 7]

The day of activities was full of the elements of movement and trying new things. An occasional downfall of rain didn't stop anyone from enjoying the various activities that were organised both by ourselves and by the staff of Metsäkartano. In the morning, our groups rotated between archery and wall climbing, whilst a small group went for a bike ride, led by our own Dutch, over gravel roads through the Finnish forests. Whilst archery and wall climbing were ways for people to set and achieve personal challenges, the biking was a way to let off steam and escape the campsite for a bit and be able to listen to complete silence and the sound of nature: a magical aspect of our Finnish surroundings

Transition Day [Day 6]

This day revolved around the big move from the Family homes to the campsite, adjusting ourselves to our new living situations and environment, preparing our new homes (tents) for the heavy rain that was predicted, and exploring our new facilities and well-being. The new living environment meant a circular field for our tents, surrounded by pine trees and blueberries. From now on, we will prepare breakfast and lunch ourselves in our eating hall, which we have come to call The Ark. Dinner will actually be prepared FOR us, by the Metsäkartano staff, in the big dining hall: something unprecedented in Y-Top Gatherings. Whilst we were blessed with sunny weather whilst setting up the tents, that ni

And The Rain Came Down [Day 5]

The last day before moving to the second half of the camp has arrived, and everyone prepares for the Big Migration to our camping site, approximately 100 metres along the lake. Story Time: A Spontaneous Exchange between White and Blue For several mornings, the White Eye family made a sneaky project out of the Toolbox exchange: accompanied by James Bond music, the entire family would barge into the home of the Blue Spiral family and unnoticed (not really...) obtain their Toolbox. On the last day of the Seeds, the Blue Spiral Family thought it was time to turn things around. At breakfast, the Blue Spiral Family entered the home of the White Eyes in a formation of shamans; carrying a magical ba

Can You Knot or Can You Not? [Day 4]

Again, a successful day of exploring the Seeds. Below the general blog, you can read personal short stories from some of the Families! Speaking of the Families, this very experimental new structure of the Y-Top Gathering has been received more fruitful than we, as the Trying Team, could have ever imagined. Routine things like making dinner have been simplified by all the Families cooking an own dish (pre-determined by the Family who explores the Well-Being Seed that day), bringing all the separate dishes to the dining hall to be shared between everyone, and washing the dishes and pans in all the different kitchens afterwards. No more cooking and cleaning for 110 people with 11 people in a cr

Arriving in an Ecology of Kindness [Day 3]

A second day of exploring the Seeds: each family their own. During breakfast, delegates of the families were sent out on a mission (even accompanied by spy music à la Pink Panther) to transfer the Toolboxes to the families who would be using them today. Many of us started the day by stretching altogether or discovering the countless echoes that travel across the bank of the lake. Some of us took on the challenge of swimming the 750 metres across the lake as part of their day. Many played games, like the famous Grandma’s Shoe, WAH!, and loads of games in the lake. The blue water element was clearly present throughout all the processes. The day was collectively finalised by the return of our O

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