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 us...
... Both in the environment we passed through and between ourselves during the walking.
Recap: for those who forgot, here are again the five Seeds that this gathering is based upon, and which we refer back to throughout all our days.
- Learning from Nature
- Learning from Mistakes
- Creativity Project Life
- Quality Citizenship
14 kilometres of forested path around the lake lay before us when we departed at 09:00 am, excited to see what we would come across. Not only was walking part of our itinerary, but crossing the lake in canoes and pulling ourselves across the water on a rope-raft construction were also part of the adventure. From the onset of the trip, the song You've Got a Friend was stuck in the head of many of us, and it appeared that the theme Friendship - and aspects of supporting, helping and looking out for one another along with it - were strong and constantly returning throughout the entire day.
Not only did we seek to explore and submerge ourselves in Finnish nature, but also did we search for ways to learn more about it. One way of doing this was by eating blueberries, or natural superfood as we have come to call them. They grew in astonishing amounts throughout our route, right beside our ankles as we walked the paths. They say love goes through the stomach, which allows me to conclude that learning about nature can do so, as well. Next to that, we were invited by the manager of Metsäkartano, Yari, who also is a biologist. Sitting in his forest terrain, and hydrating ourselves with water from his fresh water spring, he could tell us all about the nature and animals of Finland. It was a great way of looking at the nature around us in a new way.
* And it allows me to correct myself: as of now I know that Finland does not contain 10,000 lakes as I might have said before, but 168,000!
Correspondent of the day: Tobie (the Netherlands)
Yesterday we had the walk: it was a very beautiful walk, though the pace was a bit low in my opinion. Partly due to the obstacles we came across, such as crossing the water twice and several very steep hills. The scenery was very raw and amazing, and the talks and games (such as memory and word games) on the way made it a very memorable hike. Later that evening I went to the Open Mind Passion of Ethan, which was about the influence and the negative effects of social media. This, I found, was conveyed in a very mature and well-put manner, and I enjoyed the depth it stretched to between us.
Did I see the content of the Seeds/activities so far being reflected in the hike and the process of going through that distance together? I think so, because some of the talks I had were related to the Seeds we have covered, such as Learning from Mistakes. Not necessarily during the walk itself, but I found that it (i.e. the content and essences of the Seeds) really stayed with people, and that it was shared between people and families during the walk. It was clear that people used those topics to go beyond what the Gathering has set out for them until now.