The City of Tornio Youth Services supports the development, coping and social inclusion of young people in various life situations. Youth work and politics are carried out through multi-professional cooperation between local authorities, schools and educational institutions, young people, and youth associations and other parties engaged in youth work. The target group for youth work comprises residents under the age of 29.
The main mission of youth work is to support the development of young people in various life situations. We offer a broad range of free-time activities for young people. The goal of youth work is to prevent social exclusion, promote healthy habits, joy of life and creativity, develop self-confidence and good people skills, and increase the social inclusion of young people.
Youth work activities include, for example, educational guidance for young people, provision of recreational facilities and opportunities, support for youth associations and youth groups, cultural youth work and youth work in schools, promotion of opportunities for social inclusion for young people, outreach youth work, substance abuse prevention, organization of camps, trips and events, and communication and counselling.
Tornio Youth Services operates five different youth centers. The centers are aimed at upper comprehensive school seventh grade students and older ages. Youth centers are places where young people can spend their free time playing games, listening to music, enjoying a cup of coffee and relaxing. Youth centers also provide amenities for cooking, baking, watching movies or working on crafts, depending on the wishes and interests of young people.
Participation in youth center activities is voluntary, and young people are welcome to join in as they are, by themselves or with friends.
The centers are overseen by youth workers trained in working with young people. Young people can approach the youth workers at any time to talk about their joys and concerns in life. The goal of youth center activities is to support the free-time activities and substance-free lifestyle of young people, increase social inclusion and provide young people with a comfortable, impartial and equal meeting place.
At the youth centers, young people can purchase a club card at a cost of 5 euros per year to receive various benefits and discounts.
The mobile youth center Kesäpösö (“Summer van”) runs from Wednesdays to Saturdays between 6‒11 pm in May, June and July.
Thanks to its mobility, the Kesäpösö can arrange activities and hobbies for young people at places of their choice. The Kesäpösö van is stocked with graffiti materials, video game consoles, stereos, a barbeque, and street hockey and disc golf equipment. The van also carries equipment for all sorts of outdoor games. The Kesäpösö mobile center is operated by youth workers. Typical weeks during the summer include one day spent at a particular local community and one day aimed at younger age groups. For two days of the week, young people can order the van to visit any corner of Tornio. The weekly schedule for the summer will be published in May.
Outreach youth work assists and supports young Tornio residents between the ages 13 to 28 in navigating the twists and turns of life, helps to find answers to troubling questions, and supports young people in matters related to school, further education, military service, employment, hobbies and everyday life management skills.
Outreach youth work may be contacted by young people themselves or their parents or close friends and relatives, as well as by authorities and school and educational institution staff members. The services are voluntary for young people.
The outreach youth work partner network is made up of competent professionals in various fields.
The social inclusion of young people means that all young people should have the right and possibility to receive information and take part in influencing issues that concern them. Children and young people in Tornio are able to influence the development of their living environment in schools, youth centers and other youth work by joining the Youth Council, creating initiatives and participating in student councils and youth associations.
The Youth Council is a council made up of representatives of young people that publicly brings forward ideas and proposals, creates initiatives on issues it considers important, keeps tabs on the decisions made by the City, and encourages young people to raise discussion on social issues.
The City of Tornio Youth Services organize a broad range of club and leisure activities for the city’s younger residents. The selection of clubs includes dance, media, various sports and general activity clubs, anime, movies and international activities. Clubs begin their year of activities in early September and end in May. All participants are insured during the club sessions. No separate registration is needed – clubs are joined simply by attending. If a young person cannot find a suitable club, they can propose the founding of a new one and apply as an instructor if they so choose.
Action (Äxön) evenings are aimed at pupils in lower comprehensive school grades 5 and 6. Evenings are action packed with disco music and games. Activities in the evenings are organized by leisure instructor students together with youth workers, while the soundtrack is handled by a competent DJ from Eventworks. Action evenings are held monthly on a Friday between 6.30–9.30 pm Finnish time, alternating between locations on the Tornio and Haparanda sides.
Youth work at schools is a form of youth work in which the school youth worker visits schools to meet with young people, develop communality and social inclusion, and support the growth of young people as part of everyday school activities. The tasks of a school youth worker are varied and change according to the needs of each school. Youth Services are also involved in the everyday activities of schools in other ways. Youth work supports group development in school classes and organizes media activities, substance education and public communication. The various activities are organized in cooperation with comprehensive schools, the upper secondary school and other education institutions.
Tornio Youth Services provide young people with diverse opportunities for gaining international experience. Youth group exchanges allow young people to both experience different cultures and meet their peers across the world, as well as host international groups in Tornio. Youth cooperation across the border in Sweden is also a form of everyday international youth work, and a multicultural youth environment can be experienced weekly at youth centers.
Contact details and further information on the work of Youth Services can be found at www.lanuti.fi/tornio and on Facebook.