Valga County Youth Work Center Tankla was founded in April 2010 and its initiators were the youth workers, active youth leaders of Valga County and NGO Valga County Partnership Board.

The aim of the organisation is to develop and support through an umbrella youth work center different parties of youth work and their activities in order to guarantee the representation of the interests of youth workers and young people in all 13 municipalities of Valga county and at county level as well.

Literally Tankla (meaning in English: gas station) is a place where a young person and a youth worker of Valga county can get fuel so that they would feel good about living in their home village, parish or town and doing things related to youth work. Tankla offers them support, knowledge, experience and cooperation with other parties of the network.

The main motivation of Valga County Youth Work Center Tankla to participate in European Voluntary Service as Sending, Hosting and Coordinating organisation is to support the development of youth work field in Valga County in general and in a coordinated way.

The organization of Tankla is led by three members in the board, who all have different backgrounds and years’ worth of experience working with the youth. The organization has several branches – volunteer passport, youth paper, summer school, Tankla TV, student workscamps, training centre (camp counsellor, camp leader and topics which are related with media) coordinating the Tugila (support centre) work of counties and the networking of counties youth work. We cooperate with youth workers of the county, others who are related with the youth and with different organizations (Valga County Government, the Pathfinder centre of Valga County, Estonian Defence League).

Youth centres

There are 13 youth centres in Valga county, three of which are located in small towns (population of 2 000 to 13 000) and 10 rural municipalities (population of 400 to 2 000), where the youth centres are serving youngsters throughout the municipality, but are located permantetly in one village. Valga county countryside areas are sparsely located and diffusely established and the youth centres are located in major villages (population of 100 to 450). Because in most Valga county areas the population is little and thin, then youth centres are cooperating a lot with neighboring municipalities youth centres and with various institutions in the municipality (schools, libraries, cultural centers), to organize higer sized events and activities with the cooperation so to involve plenty more young people and a larger number from the community.

Including into Tankla network the Valga county youth centres are operating on the principle of open youth work. Youth work is a creation of conditions for promoting the diverse development of young people which enables them to be active outside their families, formal education acquired within the adult education system, and work on the basis of their free will.

Fundamentals of youth work:  Youth work is the creation of circumstances for developmental activities of youth that enable them to act outside their family, curriculum education and job of their own free will. The subject of youth work is a 7-26-year old member of society. The aim of youth work is to create prerequisites and support youth in managing as members of society. Youth work starts in the site where young people, their views, opinions and interest are. Youth work creates the circumstances for the youth’s personal (personality) and social development through the acquisition of new knowledge and skills in nonformal and informal educational environments. Youth work helps shape youth’s ethic beliefs, public spirit and respect of other cultures. Youth work assists youth to learn about themselves, others, surroundings through planned and spontaneous activities. Youth work strives for youth participation in social order, encourages young people to take responsibility and make knowledgeable decisions about their life, values and the development of society.

Valga County

Valga County (Estonian: Valga maakond or Valgamaa) is the first-level administrative unit in Estonia and one of 15 counties of Estonia. It comprises the former area of Valga District. The capital and the biggest town of Valga County is Valga, followed by Tõrva and Otepää.  29,944 people live in Valga County (as of 1 January 2015).  Valga County has a borderline with the Republic of Latvia in the south and west (102.4 km).

Valga County is an area of industry and agriculture but also an area of a well-known recreation and sports centre Otepää. The average gross salary in Valga County in 2015 was €825.

In Valga County there are 13 Youth centres in every city and parish. As for open and transparent recruitment process, Tankla has already built quite strong information and communication network around our organisation.

There are lots of different free time activities in different areas of Valga County. Since a number of events and recreational activities take place in youth centres, the volunteer can choose the most eventful.

In addition we administrate separate e-mail lists of youth workers and active young people of each municipality. Also we have contact person in all youth centres, municipalities and schools there are in our county. In addition, the members of our network include regional youth and development organisations (such as Valga County Couselling and Information Centre, the youth organisations of Valga County battalion of Defence League, Red Cross, Valga County Partnership Board, Valga County Development Agency, Valga county branch of Unemplyment Office, etc.


  • Volunteer passport – It has been issued in Valga County since 2010 in collaboration of eight organizations. Volunteer passport is meant for young people between 13 and 26, who contribute voluntary work outside of school and home. Owner of the passport writes down his/her voluntary work experience in it and analyses his/her development. It is like a CV for the youth, which proves their prior work experience and supports the youngster when applying for school or work.
  • Tankla youth paper – It is being actively issued since 2011. The paper comes out once per quarter, both online and on paper with printing numbers of 1500, and can be read in every youth centre, school, library and institution, which is visited by the youth, of the county. The paper team consists of local youth, who are responsible for every aspect of the paper – writing the articles, correcting, taking photos, layout of the paper, marketing and spreading. All of it is done by voluntary work.
  • Summer school – Valga County Youth Summer School has been held since 2010. Summer School lasts for three days and is participated by 130 locals from the age of 12 to 20. Every municipality can send up to 10 youngsters plus their grown group leader, youth worker and the conductor of workshops. During the course of three days, different workshops, joint actions and competitions take place. Summer School is one of the biggest joint ventures by youth workers in the county.
  • Tankla TV – It has been operative since 2012 and is made of  Valga Counties youth, who echo different youth related events through news stories. TV work usually consists of finding news stories, filming the happenings, reporting and editing. All of it is done by volunteers. Contemporary technology is provided for making and editing the videos. If in need, youngsters receive support and tips from mentors and TV competent people.
  • Student work camp– First work camp hosted by Tankla took place in 2014. During the period of two weeks, the young have the opportunity to work in different districts, earn some pocket money and at the end of the work camp all the working groups come together to celebrate the end of the occasion. It is planned to held another working camp in 2017 since there has been an opportunity to fund the management costs, plus the feedback of the event was very positive and local youngsters have difficult time finding a short-term paying job during the summer.
  • Tugila (support centre) – It is directed to the young, who are not studying, working or are in the danger of dropping out of school. Support centre for the young in youth centres is initialized by the European Union and is part of the Estonian Youth Guarantee and European Social Fund co-financed program “Involvement of the young who are at the risk of exclusion and improving their employment readiness”. It is a nation-wide project and five people from Tankla are involved with it in Valga County. Their purpose is to support the youth in need – motivating them in their school studies and/or applying for a job.

Application form

Application form Tankla (doc)

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