On Friday we convened the first betterplace junior meeting in our offices.
My own children, Lilian (14) and Vico (12), had been involved in the design of the platform right from the beginning – we had first started to look at local initiatives while we as a family had been travelling around the world. And as so many of their friends had heard about betterplace and wanted to be part of it, it seemed natural to start a section for children and young adults at betterplace right from the start (or even before the official launch!).
The first meeting was attended by eleven children between 8 and 14. We briefly discussed the functions of the platform, after which all those who hadn’t registered yet were able to do so – it will be Lilian’s job to remind everyone to post their photo asap!
The bulk of the meeting consisted of finding a name for the children section of betterplace. Julius came up with betterkids, a nice name, but the “kid”-part somehow has a connotation I am not so happy with. It is so mixed up in consumerism and that is not what betterplace is about. Names with “child” or “children” didn’t work either, as they seem inappropriate for the 14 and 15 year olds in the group. Philip had a number of nice suggestions, including the German “Elfen Helfen” (elfs help), but we discarded that one too after hearing that it was the name of a TV programme. Thus at the end of the day the working title betterplace junior seemed to be not a bad choice after all.
In between muffins and chocolate chip cookies some of the children came up with the idea of asking their idols for testimonials for betterplace once the platform is online. Julius and Piers are already trying to contact their hero Tiger Woods. Good Luck!
What are children and young adults supposed to do on the platform? This group is kind of a pilot group to find out what possibilities there are. One of the first things we are going to organize is a stand on a flee-market in Berlin to do fundraising and donate the money to a project chosen by the children themselves. As many of the children present are bilingual, they will also be able to help with the translation of projects from German into English and vica verca. I can also envision them starting partnerships between their respective schools and classes and others around the world.
Whatever this group decides to do – I am convinced that they’ll come up with ideas which we adults haven’t even envisioned yet.