“CANCELLED? But it’s 4:30 in the morning! How can a train get cancelled this early?!”
“They never give a reason, you just see on the departure board that your train is cancelled and you hope for the best.”
“At least we only have to take one train to get there, right?”
“No, three. Kuopio to Lahti, Lahti to Riihimäki, then Riihimäki to Tampere. We’re definitely going to be late.”
Thus our long trip from Kuopio to Tampere began. Fortunately, our rough start did not dictate the progress of the weekend training event. I had just been elected as president of KISA the week before FInsight and felt like a cat trying to fit in among a group of reindeer; someone was soon to discover me, an imposter American in the midst of well-mannered and knowledgeable ESN Finns. The weekend would serve not only to taper my fears of completely destroying KISA in the next year, but also to introduce me to a lovely and remarkable group of presidents and treasurers from around Finland. From Joensuu to Helsinki to Turku to Jyväskylä, the people I met at FInsight impressed me with their unique ideas for section improvement, thoughts on ESN Finland, and perhaps most importantly, with their welcoming and approachable personalities. When I left the conference, I felt as though I had gained not only valuable training skills for my section, but also a network of diverse, friendly, and reliable colleagues. I sincerely hope that FInsight 1 was the first of many.
Something in particular that I thought was well-accomplished during the training event was bridging the gap between the section representatives and the National Board. Having the chance to individually speak with the Board members and see them in less of an “official we are very serious people business business” National Platform context was very nice for me, because I did not feel intimidated to ask them questions. Luckily for me, I am generally not someone to be nervous about talking to people (as those of you who know me can attest). However, this is not always the case and I think that having events like this, during which sections and the National Board can come together and transfer ideas in a relatively casual context, is hugely beneficial for ESN Finland at both local and national levels. I left the conference with a massive list of new ideas for KISA that I couldn’t wait to discuss with my local board; without having open discussion between FInsight participants, I think my list would have been much shorter.
I digress, as now I appear to be rambling. In short, I hope to see FInsight (or similar events) every semester if at all possible. I learned things about ESN that I never knew before, met incredible people, and returned home with enough ideas to fuel KISA (and annoy my fellow board members) for a decade. Thank you to everyone who helped organize the event, particularly Fede for putting up with all manners of nonsense throughout the weekend. You all are irreplaceable people and I am beyond excited for the coming year!
With lots of love from KISA,
Gwen & Anu
FInsight I: Leadership & Finances was the first in a series of National Trainings organised by ESN Finland.
The National Board thanks all the participants for their contributions and enthusiasm.
A particularly big, heartfelt thank you to Federica Ferrara and ESN FINT for organising and hosting us.