Ung Örn since 1987
Monica's eagle journey started in Skaraborg in the late 80s. Unlike most of our members, her involvement began in adulthood when she had her first child at the age of 25.
"I started my involvement in SSU and S-women and later I got involved in Unga Örnar. So it didn't start in Unga Örnar, which would have been the most logical. But it didn't turn out that way for me.”
Monica explains that there was no UÖ department where she grew up and that this also limited the opportunity to be active in Unga Örnar. She adds that she would probably have been there if there had been.
"One lesson that can be learned is that the more places Young Eagles are at, the more members we can recruit, because there are probably many children who would like to get involved if they only had the chance. But I first got involved in SSU and then it became natural to take a look at Unga Örnar and the fantastic activities that give children and young people the opportunity for richer free time."
Monica first became a leader and later she got a position as ombudsman. There she was responsible for organization and starting new departments. There were a lot of camps involved and she tells us that at that time Unga Örnar had two cottages in Skaraborg where many camps were arranged. There were ghost camps in the fall, ski camps in the winter and lots of canoeing in the summer.
Monica then took the step further and trained as a teacher. In 1994, she became a Member of Parliament for the Social Democrats, where she remained for 24 years. Unga Örnar then took the opportunity to recruit her again and humbly asked her to consider the presidency, something that was hammered through at a congress in Östersund in 1997.
"It was great fun to be nominated. My three children were there and it was eagle activities that suited us all. It is fun to have a mission where you can also have your children with you. You get involved in a way that allows the whole family to be involved.”
We talked a bit about Young Eagles in the late 90s and what issues were current. Monica tells us that they were already working to make the Convention on the Rights of the Child into law. This was done by wooing politicians locally and centrally, holding training sessions on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and increasing information activities and knowledge on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The focus was on looking after the best interests of the children and wearing them children's glasses when making decisions.
“We noticed that awareness increased during this time.”
Monica adds that they worked a lot with international issues and wanted to reach out to the young people who wanted to get involved in Unga Örnar through international missions and camps. She also says that they invited many international guests to Young Örnar's camp.
It was really fun. We had large international villages with guests from large parts of the world. We had invited guests from both Palestine and Israel and it was extra fun that they got together. For them it was natural to talk, socialize and have activities together."
"It was so strong for us that they were hanging out and that we could get them to talk to each other when they were in a completely different place from home"
Another thing Monica remembers is the work with gender equality. They worked a lot with the value base and the equal value of people. The focus was on girls and boys having the same chances. Monica tells us that Unga Örnar worked the equality perspective into their educations. They had an exchange of experience with the Norwegian Young Eagles, who started with the work around Stop, my body to shed light on the problem with girls who were molested and create a change in behavior around this. Something that was later adopted and worked into Unga Örnar in Sweden.
"Never again should expressions like 'Love starts with fights', 'he pushes you because he likes you' or 'He likes you, that's why he hits you' be accepted." 30–40 years ago, it was unfortunately a generally accepted concept of rowdy boys. Today, there is a different focus on these issues. When we in Unga Örnar drew attention to these behaviors in society, it led to eye-openers."
"It wasn't obvious then and it isn't now either, but we have come a little closer to an equal society than where we were 20-25 years ago."
When we round off our pleasant conversation with Monica, she throws in:
"Another thing that struck me was how Young Eagles so clearly took a stand against violence against children and how we questioned war toys. One of Unga Örnar's pioneers, Nic Nilsson, was union secretary when I was employed as ombudsman. - His commitment to better park games, children's rights and actions against war toys, has influenced both me, Unga Örnar and the development of society as a whole, I think."