The Loimaa and Härkätie 4-H Leader project to activate the young reached more than 4 000 people

Kolme nuorta poseeraa näyttäen käsimerkkejä.


In the beginning of VALMISTA NUOREN IDEASTA (A finished project from an idea by the young) project, 4H employees involved thought that soon enough they would organise concerts and LAN parties, but something else came out. The project about to end now produced among others a cosplay event, a hobby horse camp, a Christmas shop, a cake course and a project where one could meet with young people with immigrant background.

The Leader project VALMISTA NUOREN IDEASTA in Loimaa and Härkätie area (Marttila, Koski Tl, Aura, Pöytyä and Tarvasjoki area in Lieto) comes to an end at the end of the year. The objective of the project, supported by the South West Riverside Partners’ Association, was to active youth in the countryside between the ages 13 and 28 to organise meaningful activities for themselves and others. The project succeeded beyond all expectations. There were altogether 165 youths organising events, 30 projects within which 52 events were arranged. The events reached 4,427 people.

Sari Palomäki-Raitala (on the left) and Eeva Kattelus from Loimaa 4-H and Tuovi Löytynoja from Härkätie 4-H club are pleased with the results of the project. Härkätie 4-H club will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. Loimaa 4-H club in turn was founded in 1932.

Tuovi Löytynoja from Härkätie 4H club and Eeva Kattelus and Sari Palomäki-Raitala from Loimaa 4H club are very pleased with the project. The young took action eagerly and finished their project surprisingly independently.

– For example, for the hobby horse camp in Kettulinna, all I had to do was to book the place and everything else was done by the youth. A group of a few young people led the camp during the two summers. Even though the project ends now, they have promised to arrange the camp next year too, Tuovi Löytynoja praises.

Project funds have covered the rents for various facilities and the instructor salaries, but in some cases the youth have done the financing themselves as well.

Hobby Horse Camp was arranged in the past two summers in Kettulinna in the border area of Aura and Tarvasjoki.

Call for people

In the Loimaa and Härkätie 4H clubs, the members are mostly elementary school aged kids, because the continuous activities build on clubs and camps. Through the project a lot of people, also young people of age, joined the activities. For example, the event intended for immigrant background youth mostly activated young adults.

– That particular project involved a lot of Loimaa Evangelical Folk High School students, who live elsewhere during the weekends. Through the project they found meaningful activities and made new friends. We met many times and the programme for the event was designed according to the wishes of the young women involved. There were physical exercise and baking, among others. The Somali girls, for example, cannot go to the swimming pool during the normal opening hours, so we managed to book a private swimming time for them, says Sari Palomäki-Raitala.

Local youth didn’t participate in the extent we wished for, but Mellilä Marthas got excited about the project. Marthas taught the youth how to make Karelian pasties and themselves learnt how to make Turkish bread, for instance.

Mellilä Marthas had the opportunity to teach young women with immigrant background how to bake cakes and Karelian pasties.
The Finnish, in their turn, learnt how to bake Turkish bread.

Eeva Kattelus gives another good example from Loimaa.

– A small group of young people arranged Loicon, i.e., Loimaa Cosplay event, which was visited by 50 people. It was such a wonderful event with so many fantastic costumes. Originally the cosplay kids were a little disheartened that their hobby was not really understood in the countryside, and they might have even been bullied in school because of their hobby, Kattelus explains.

The event cleared up prejudices and got people all excited about the Cosplay world. The word cosplay is a portmanteau of the words costume and play and is an activity in which the participants wear costumes to represent characters from e.g., comics, video games and anime. Many cosplayers make their own costumes and additionally do their own make up and act, because it’s not only costumes that make the character, but also the expressions and gestures.

– There was also a workshop to make the props, the costume accessories, and they also photographed the costumes. The arrangers got 1,000 € of Mahis funding and the whole event was very successful.

4-H means head, heart, hands and health. These values were also honoured by the many young people participating in the project arranging events as Loicon – Loimaa Cosplay Event.

Entrepreneurship interests young people

Even the 4H basic activities include employment activities directed to the youth and 4H has a youth business model of their own. Also, in this project, the youth were able to create economically viable activities.

– A group of young people founded a marketplace café in Loimaa for the two project summers. And the same kids now have for the third year in a row a Christmas shop in Aura centre in Turuntie 3. They sell products from 22 producers and run a cafeteria. This project has become profitable for them and I’m sure they will continue after this project ends, TuoviLöytynoja says.

The Christmas shop was open again in Aura centre in December 2020.

New emphasis through the projects

Loimaa and Härkätie 4H clubs have carried out Leader projects before.

– Leader projects are good in the way that through them we have a chance to concentrate on one theme only for a while. Before this project we had NUORET DUUNIIN project which concentrated on creating employment possibilities, Löytynoja says.

The total expense for the VALMISTA NUOREN IDEASTA was 92,283.80 euros. The South West Riverside Partners’ Association covered public funding for 73,827.04 euros. Private funding covered 14,266.76 euros and voluntary work in the project was estimated to be 4,190 euros.

On a cake course in Sarka – The Finnish Museum of Agriculture, the youth learnt how to make spectacular layer cakes.
The family event Sleep Outdoors gathered many to sleep in tents in Myllyranta in Koski. In addition to overnighting, there were activities like reflector trail and cooking on open fire.
The picnic cruise for the YouTubers resulted in magnificent videos.


Text: Janica Vilen

Translation: Sirkku Viitanen-Vanamo

A three-year clearing bee saved Millspring in Oripää

Aerial photo of a pond and a dock.


The three-hectare Millspring (Myllylähde) in Oripää was once surveyed as the largest body of water in the Nordic countries with a flow rate of 6,000 cubic metres a day. At worst there was no flow at all, and it seemed like the spring was going to turn into swamp. But the resident association of Myllykylä and the municipality of Oripää decided to intervene.

The resident association of Myllykylä has for the past three years done communal work around the Millspring area. Now the bottom of the spring has been dredged, the vegetation on the beach cut, water weeds removed, and trees felled. The flow rate improved immediately and at the moment the water flow rate of the spring is 3,000 cubic metres a day already. Plants and animals typical of spring environment have started to reappear and new species as well.

This year a grey heron and a crane have been spotted at the spring among others. Even a swan built a nest mound here, but eventually it nested in Hanhijoki. Even the flying squirrel has returned. Early marsh orchids and heath spotted orchids bloomed here all July and Arctic brambles were found for the first time, Jukka Tähkiö lists.

In the winter one can observe the life of ducks and with a bit of luck otters playing.

I would still wish to see a white stork and brown trout make appearance in the area. The river trout population died out 20 years ago in Millspring, and now I await the day when they find their way back, he continues.

The duckboards round Myllylähde have been made of trees felled locally. The trail is short, and the duckboards are wide enough to venture on the trail even with children. The swamp is wet, so it is best to stay on the duckboards.

Tähkiö, who participated actively in the communal work, thinks that the state of the spring started to deteriorate when they started to pump water for the City of Turku from Virttaanharju.

It was then that the flow rates of Millspring plummeted. And when the flow of cold water decreased, the temperature of the water went up, which again resulted in eutrophication of the spring. Then the algae problem appeared, Tähkiö summarises.

A couple of years back, the water collection for Turku was so intense that the spring suffered from oxygen depletion, and the fish died, he continues.

During the communal work hundreds of cubic metres of trees and thicket were removed. From now on coppice is going to be removed every year, so that the spring would not become eutrophic again.

The water level in the spring can be raised or lowered by a batten mechanism. Jukka Tähkiö in the picture. Oripää’s popular rug washing place used to be in this place.

For the Nature

The restoration of Millspring was done as a Leader project funded by the South West Riverside Partners. As a part of the project a small nature trail was built around the spring. The trail of duckboards wind in the marshland around the spring. Millspring immediately became a popular recreational area where people visited to admire the scenery and endangered plants and animals. At the moment the area is full of tasty cranberries and the smell of the marsh is captivating.

To delight the visitors in the summer, sheep were brought to the area to feed, i.e. to continue the restoration work people started in the area. In addition, clear, clean water enticed people to take a swim.

The recreational use made possible by communal work is just the icing on the cake. The reason why tens of people had the energy to do hundreds of hours of communal work is, in fact, the Nature.

We have been close enough to see the spring deteriorate year after year, and eventually the spring might have been destroyed, Tähkiö says.

We were lucky that in the beginning of the project we had two very cold winters, the temperatures were low and there was only a little bit of snow. The spring area was so frozen through that we could use tractors and ATV’s. If we should have had to do everything by hand, we would still be clearing the brushwood, he continues.


The almost 50,000-euro project was carried out with the support of the Rural Development Programme funds granted by the South West Riverside Partners, but also the municipality of Oripää played an important role in the project.

We were fortunate to be able to employ Virve Koski as the project manager to take care of the funding and authorisation matters. Millspring is part of the Natura area and thus the authorisation process is extremely strict. If all the paperwork had been the association’s responsibility, the whole project had been undone, Tähkiö believes.

Even if there was a lot of communal work, the dredging work bumped up the budget in a way that the project would have been impossible without the Leader funding. Cooperation between the parties was excellent. The project clearly improved the spring area, and additionally, the increased flow rates have brought water also to Hanhijoki, where to Millspring flows.

A pond of their own and a common sauna for the villagers

Henna Anttila (left), Tiia Virtanen and Katri Lähde were surprised how quickly the guest book at the nature trail filled up. Myllylähde has in no time become a very popular local recreational area.

The people in the Myllykylä resident association are really active; they constantly work on multiple projects. The chairman of the board Katri Lähde and board members Tiia Virtanen and Henna Anttila say that alongside the restoration of Millspring there are numerous projects under way.

In 2000, the association built a sauna for the use of the villagers and later on dug a pond in front of the sauna.

The water in the spring is so frightfully cold that we wanted to build a separate pond for swimming. The pond is connected to the spring by pipes, i.e. the water comes from the spring, but the water temperature in the pond is always a couple of degrees warmer than that in the spring. People sauna bathe here every Thursday all year round. And last year concrete stairway with heat pipes underneath, was built to make sure people could safely back and forth to the spring, they say.

The sauna by the man-made pond is heated every Thursday. There might be as many as 30 bathers any Thursday evening. The pond is emptied every year and the bottom cleaned of the accumulated silt and waste.

When there is no resident association activity in Lähteentupa, it can be rented out. In the summer there are reservations for almost every day.

The hottest attraction this autumn was the Robber’s Roast evening, which gathered almost the all the villagers together.

And children can participate in everything. In the various bees the children’s names have been signed on lists even if they had only carried three twigs and eaten four sausages. This way children grow into being part of the community and learn to appreciate what is done together, they say.

The next project undertaken by the association is to build a flush toilet and a new sewage system in the building, this too as a Leader project in cooperation with the Riverside Partners. The project will improve user experience of the building but can be regarded an environmental achievement as well. In the groundwater zone, an up-to-date sewage system is of primary importance.

Tiia Virtanen and Jukka Tähkiö.


Text: Janica Vilen

Translation: Sirkku Viitanen-Vanamo