From youth project to organisation. The phenomenon of "Emerging Kaunas"
"Kaunas 2022" youth programme Kaunas Challenge has grown into the organisation of Emerging Kaunas. The youth-founded organisation for youth, culture and Kaunas will bring together the most creative young people and encourage like-minded people to continue to grow the city through their initiatives.
More and more creative young people are looking for ways to give meaning to their ideas. One of the ways was found back in 2017 in Kaunas. In preparation for the European Capital of Culture Year, a programme for young people called "Kaunas Challenge" was created. In 2022, Kaunas Challenge has grown into the Rising Kaunas organisation, which will continue to bring together the most creative young people in Kaunas.
A culture that comes from pupils
The idea of turning Kaunas Challenge into an organisation came from the alumni of the youth programme, who decided to continue to bring together schoolchildren who want to cultivate a "cultured" Kaunas even after 2022, the year of the title of European Capital of Culture. "Sandra Karnilavičiūtė, coordinator of the Kaunas 2022 Youth Programme and one of the founders of the organisation, said that the organisation of Rising Kaunas, like its predecessor Kaunas Challenge, is unique: from now on, Rising Kaunas will be an organisation dedicated to young people and culture, which will encourage and help young ideas to become initiatives and projects. Of course, turning even the most creative ideas into projects requires competences, which is why Kylantis Kaunas will continue the Kaunas Challenge training programme. The organisation's activities will include not only project development, but also training, which will enable young people to acquire the knowledge needed for project management, teamwork and self-knowledge.
It is worth mentioning that five generations of young people have now completed the Kaunas Challenge. Starting in 2017, the students selected to participate in the programme spend six months building up their knowledge and developing their ideas with the help of mentors until the final project is completed. In the five years of Kaunas Challenge, a number of youth projects have seen the light of day. "Puota", "Komoda", "Žaidžiam Kauną", "Scars", "Lempa" and "PDF" - these are just a few of the most prominent projects that have been created by the participants of the Kaunas Challenge. The extraordinary recognition of the citizens of Kaunas itself is a testament to their brilliance. For example, the project "Feast", created by the third generation of participants out of their love for poetry, has become the most memorable cultural initiative of Kaunas in 2019. In addition, the fourth generation of the Kaunas Challenge, the creators of the Komoda project, organised a fashion show during the Perkūnija festival in the summer of 2021, during which the latest clothing collections by the youngest generation of Lithuanian designers could be shown. Among other things, the organisation and its partners are already preparing for the most important event of the year, the Audra Festival, which will take place later this summer.
S. Karnilavičiūtė mentioned that the organisation, as well as Kaunas Challenge, will expand every year and will strive to attract as many curious and creative students and partners as possible. "We are open to cooperation with both non-governmental organisations and the private sector in order to raise the cultural value of Kaunas city." So far, each year, the programme has visited different cultural institutions in Kaunas. Representatives of Kaunas Challenge have already consulted the K.M. Petrauskas Museum, Kaunas Chamber Theatre and Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra on how to involve young people more effectively in the city's cultural activities. According to S. Karnilavičiūtė, the aim of Kaunas Challenge is not only to draw the attention of Kaunas cultural organisations to young people, but also to help young experts to get involved in activities.
In addition, on 9 April, the participants of the sixth generation of the Kaunas Challenge will present five projects, one of which will receive funding for further implementation of activities. The day will also provide an opportunity to get to know the activities and creators of Rising Kaunas and Kaunas Challenge. For more information on the activities of Kaunas Challenge and Rising Kaunas, please visit the website: https://kylantiskaunas.com/ and facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kaunaschallenge.
Photo authors: Martynas Plepys ir Andrius Aleksandravičius