Roos Sohier and Marielle Hornstra are the initiators and directors of TEDxYouth@Brabantlaan* in the Netherlands. The directors, speakers and partners all work on this event as volunteers. This is their story about sharing social capital and why they organize TEDxYouth@Brabantlaan.
We believe there is a lot of potential in young people that we have to work on our dreams and do what we really want to do. It’s important for every human being to give meaning to his or her life, the way that suits him or her best. Being connected to others in all of this is essential. Together we can achieve so much more than alone. Giving your dreams some space to grow is the first step. Making them come true takes time, energy and perseverance. It might bring you where you want to be. And if it doesn’t, you may discover something else of importance to you along the way.
How do you work on dreams? By expressing them, by standing up for them and by searching for connections to those who can help you realize them. By initiating encounters, starting dialogues, sharing your ideas, knowledge, energy and network freely and in confidence that, in the long run, something beautiful will happen. We believe that trust, transparency, reciprocity and sustainability are the new currencies. It is not about money, it is about what you can do for each other. This is how we create value.
And this is exactly why organizing a TEDx conference suits us so well: it is about sharing! It’s also about passion, commitment and fun. We feel that organizing TEDxYouth@Brabantlaan is a big adventure. It sets free enormous amounts of energy. We meet people that are willing to give and share their ideas, skills, network, money and time. They, like us, strongly believe that in time all of this will come back to them, some way or another.
It all results in wonderful encounters and connections – locally as well as nationally. We are building a community. A community that shares the same drives in creating a positive movement with and for young people, creating opportunities for them to grow and inspire others.
In the process of creating TEDxYouth something beautiful happens. At first crew and speakers are strangers to one another. But then they start sharing their dreams, experiences, successes and disappointments. They show vulnerability when talking about their individual journeys. As they speak about what really moves them common ground arises. Crew and speakers all contribute to TEDxYouth in their unique way. Giving each other room to shine.
However it is not just a success story. We’re also confronted with a lot of people and organizations that close the door on us, because they don’t share our view on youth and ways of sharing (social) capital. Sometimes we feel they don’t see the importance for their kids, their students or their field of policy. It confronts us with a world in which kids hear: it’s not possible, it’s too difficult for you, it’s unrealistic so please stop dreaming. It’s a world where adults decide what’s best for them: there is no conversation about what they want and dream of. It’s confronting and sometimes it makes us sad. But it also makes our drive stronger.
We have met a lot of young people that used their talents and made their dreams reality. They pushed through and believed even if at times it was hard and they didn’t feel understood. It is to those kids we want to give a stage. To show that kids can make dreams come true. To show young people they are capable of much more than they think. We say our kids are the future. So let’s give them a stage and create the opportunity to make this future together. They inspire us and we believe they can inspire others, their own generation as well as older ones.
TEDxYouth@Brabantlaan happened on the 23rd of November 2013 and was magical! Young people inspired each other, shared ideas and built connections. Visitors went home full of energy to work on their dreams. The TEDxYouth conference however for us is not the end goal. It is all about the process of connecting people and sharing social capital.
That is why our journey continues.
For more information about TEDxYouth@Brabantlaan you can visit our website, or follow us on Facebook or twitter:
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDtalk video’s and live speakers combine to spark deep discussions and commection in a small group. These local, selforganized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are selforganized.* For more information you can visit http://www.ted.com/
(*Subject to certain rules and regulations).
Pictures made by Linda Jenkin, Aalbes Photography