“A Journey through Mirkwood” or rather … Lithuania
When the German Tolkien Society thought about applying for EU funding for one of its projects not many of us knew how much work it would be. The hobbitish heroes at the regulars’ table at the Lower Rhine, in cooperation with our friends at the Tolkien Society Unquendor in the Netherlands, managed to get the money in for an international cooperation in the year of The Hobbit and did some great events with it besides the simple fact that both societies are now cooperating better than ever. Simply call it the European spirit 🙂
Now, two other European Tolkien societies have come up with a wonderful idea funded by the EU and I am very glad to present to you Journey through Mirkwood. The Lithuanian Tolkien Society in cooperation with the Hungarian Tolkien Society are organising a nine-day-Middle-earth experience in the woods of Lithuania.
The event is a hiking and camping trip from the 19th to the 28th of July (the programme starts on the 20th, but participants will arrive on the 19th). In addition to hiking, the programme includes lectures with topics as diverse as Ranger lore, Lithuanian and Middle-Earth architecture and Tengwar writing; workshops on plants and their uses, archery and prop-sword making; physical exercises such as “spiderweb hunt”; and creative tasks to allow the participants’ minds to shine.
About two years ago a member of the Lithuanian TS suggested it might be worth a try to plan an international event supported by the Youth in Action programme of the EU. When you have a look at the page of the YiA programme called “How to apply” you may quickly get an an idea how much preparation goes into this: the Programme Guide in itself is 164 pages strong (in German) and the online application process is several steps long, demanding tons of documents detailing time tables, budget plans and more. And all of this preparation does not mean that your efforts will be rewarded – many applications are turned down!
It took about a year to come up with a fully detailed project application for a travel group consisting mainly of young people under 25 (some under 30 also allowed :)) and the Lithuanian TS intended to go for a youth exchange with the Hungarian TS. Both sides started to work together to really make it happen and when the application form was submitted in January of this year everyone kept fingers crossed and waited for an answer from the EU – which arrived in April, saying the funding was granted.
And this journey is coming to life right now!
Thanks very much to Kastytis Zubovas for providing me with all of the information on this great event.