Triine Kose: The Difference I make at the Youth Council

I have always been a young activist, already when I was in elementary school I put all my time and effort into different clubs and activities. I was always everywhere and very active. I was a good student who liked to participate in school-related activities, even outside school hours, so it was a regular thing for me to attend orientation events organised by the Youth Council.

One day, invitations were sent to my school for students who wanted to attend an EU event themed orienteering by our local Youth Council. Of course I attended it, and this was when everything changed for me and when I became more involved. I joined the Youth Council, as I also wanted to be able to organise events like that!

When I joined I felt I was part of something. I met people with the same interests as me and that motivated me even more. At the beginning I remember I felt very young as most of the leaders and active members were high school students and I was still in middle school, but I soon felt like a part of the group.

Step by step, I went deeper into the issues and causes we supported and understood the importance of youth participation. I knew that I wanted to make my city more inclusive and one of the main problems I saw in my everyday life (and still see) is that young people don’t know where and how to realise their potential and that decisions are made without taking into account and including young people.

When I entered the “activist bubble” I came across the climate strikes. They started organising climate strikes in my hometown and asked me if I wanted to join. To be honest, although I was already interested in the environment, I learned about the seriousness of the climate crisis while I was in the Friday For Future movement. After doing extensive research through Google and Youtube, I became more and more involved in the movement, and later on I became the leader of the Youth Council in my hometown.

I’m engaged in social issues related to youth inclusion and participation, locally and nationally. I work and advocate for the importance and positive effects of youth inclusion, and I also help other youth groups to form their youth councils in their city.

Although I am now more focused on my work at the Youth Council, I am still the contact person in my city for all events related to climate change.

During these years, I have learned that motivation plays a very important role in activism, as it is free work that not everyone values. So you need a strong support system, remember why you are doing it and don’t expect others to get involved in the same way you do.

Personally, the people around me and the potential I see in the people of my city are what motivate me to continue. The results are also important, but it is in the people and in the knowledge that we share where the greatest energy is generated.

For example, recently we have worked on an advocacy campaign for the elections whichI’m very proud of as In Estonia, the legal age to vote in local elections is 16 years old. At that age many young people are not interested in politics and do not realise the importance of their vote. With our campaign we tried to make these young people see how important it is to participate and vote. To reach them we focused on schools and events involving schools. So a “real person” approach. Of course we also published information in the local newspaper, and social media.

To all young people I say: “Don’t be afraid! Beginnings can be difficult and it is totally normal not to have all the necessary knowledge. Find your place, find what really stimulates you. It’s a learning process you won’t regret!”.