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 organization 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 3 municipalities of Valga county and at county level as well.
Literally Tankla (meaning in Estonian: gas station) is a place where a young person, a youth worker and other youth organization 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 Solidarity Corp as Supporting and Hosting organization 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 five 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 media (TV and news), summer school, student workscamps, training centre (camp counsellor, camp leader and topics which are related with media) coordinating ESC voluntary service projects in Valga county and coordinating 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 (Estonian Defence League, Valga County Development Agency, Estonian Police, Estonian Red Cross, Valga county schools and 3 municipalities Valga, Tõrva, Valga).
There are 13 youth centres in Valga county, three main ones, which are located in small towns - Tõrva, Otepää and Valga (population of 2 500 to 12 000) and 10 branches in rural areas, where the youth centres are serving youngsters throughout the local areas (a group of villages), but are located permanently in one village. Valga county countryside areas are sparsely located and diffusely established and the youth centres are located in major villages (population of 200 to 450). Because in most Valga county areas the population is little and thin, then youth centres are cooperating a lot with neighboring youth centres and with various institutions in the municipality (schools, libraries, cultural centers), to organize higher 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 non-formal and in-formal 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.
The volunteer responsibilities would be: making different workshops in chosen areas; lead the work of youth groups; helping to organize events; participating in various local culture events and projects; helping youngsters to realize their ideas; promote youth centre and its activities; most of the time he/she would be involved with youngsters to help them spend their spare time; introduce his/her own culture and language; involving in camps; participate in youth work meetings; introduce voluntary work in county youth centres; write articles to newspaper/ keep a blog; to plan motivation trips for county youth workers and young people; involving in camps; developing co-work between the youth and local community; develop together with local youth local community.