IYNF is an international organisation bringing together Young Naturefriends and their organisations across Europe. It was established in 1975 and currently has 16 member and 10 partner organisations. With more than 120.000 young members organised in over a thousand local groups, it is one of the major European youth organisations.
The fundamental reason for IYNF’s existence – or what we jointly want to become – is an international network to connect and inspire Young Naturefriends for living values of respect, solidarity, equality, sustainability and love and care for nature.
IYNF has divided its fundamental values into three, color groups.
The red colour stands for values of solidarity, justice, democracy, peace and internationalism. We might call it democratic socialism, however this very term continues to be discussed within the movement. The red colour is also a link back to the roots of the Naturefriends in the working class movement.
The green colour stands for values of love and care for nature, direct environmental experience, sustainability and environmental education.
Blue, the most recent of our colours, dates back to early seventies when youth work happened to be an inherent part of the Naturefriends life. Blue stands for youth participation, personal development, non-formal and experiential education.
The glue that holds these different worlds together is fun and friendship.
IYNF combines three roles and identities:
- IYNF is a network of groups and organisations which cooperate together. The core role of IYNF is to facilitate this cooperation by creating links, organising meeting, providing direct support and promoting nature-friendly activities all over Europe.
- IYNF is a training and exchange organisation organising value-driven youth exchanges and capacity building activities for the benefit of its members. We do so in our core fields of outdoor programming, amateur art and environmental education. Our methods are based on experiential and intercultural education.
- IYNF is a value-based organisation representing its members at the European level. By our delegations, publications and promotion activities we carry our values of IYNF to European political stakeholder: respect, equality, solidarity, sustainability and love and care for nature.
Practically, this means following products and services:
- capacity building activities for youth workers and facilitators of youth exchanges
- international youth exchanges for community building
- content and methodical publications
- informational campaigns aimed at promoting IYNF values
- continuous information flow with targeted media channels
- representation and promotion at the European level
- finding partners for networking projects
- mentoring and support for networking projects
- space for development of common projects
IYNF mission is to connect and inspire Young Naturefriends for living values of respect, solidarity, equality, sustainability, and love and care for nature.
For whom we work:
Youth leaders are the primary target group of most IYNF activities in various roles – as representatives of their organisation, group or on their own behalf. We design our meetings and activities primarily to suit the needs and interest of young group leaders and youth workers. As a membership-based organisation, we concentrate on youth workers and youth leaders who are involved in our member organisations or the Naturefriends movement as such.
Local groups are designed for our networking programmes. With these we provide opportunities of successfully setting up and running new projects (mainly youth exchanges).
IYNF member organisations are usually national federations and consist of many regional and local groups. Our programme for member organisations involves mainly external representation, exchange of information and common work towards the youth leaders and local groups.
Young Europeans are certainly a wide and blurry target group and we don’t really aim to adress them all. However those, that feel inspired by IYNF values and our working style are invited and welcome to our activities and trainings.
The principles we follow in our work:
- We love and care for nature by minimizing environmental impacts, maximising joy in nature, and disseminating the concept of sustainability.
- Our work includes constant learning. We learn from our mistakes, trials and errors.
- We are ready to give trust and build it through good cooperation.
- We have realistic expectations of what we can reach with our current resources.
- We primarily influence by initiatives and contribution, not rejection.
- We discuss before we act in order to integrate our different perspectives.
- We keep IYNF, its systems and our work principally simple.
- Our work serves youth and is implemented mainly by and with youth.
- We appreciate effort and good work.
- We reach our results step by step.
- We hold personal respect to each other and appreciate our diversity.
- Joy, fun, playfulness and creativity are important elements of our working style.
- We care for each other.
- We are open to new things.