“What a week” – that is the first thing that comes to my mind while trying to settle in back home after those seven sensationally orange days.
Now in this place I could tell you about every single program point in detail, but let’s be honest: you are reading this, so either you have been there, or you have already seen hundreds of pictures from numberous things that happened during that week. If neither of that applies to you, I just recommend to visit the LEF2017 Facebook page and have a look.
So what am I talking about in this article then? I am talking about what makes the LEF special, about those feelings the pictures can’t absorb, the reason why you shouldn’t go on a five day trip to an all inclusive resort somewhere in the mediteranian. But why you should visit a European country and celebrate LEO, celebrate social contacts, celebrate beeing open minded torwards any culture and yes, just to celebrate for the sake of it.
Because what makes any LEF, but this one in particular, special is not whether you have been in the most exciting climbing garden you’ve ever been in – that is just the icing on the cake. What makes a LEF special is the people.
So the main job for a LEF orga team is to provide the best possible support frame to make this happen.
The hotel was sold out to the LEOs exclusively (which is neat), so more than 240 people, half of them newcomer needed to be formed into one group. And damn did the orga team do a good job.
Right on Sunday, the first day, in the opening ceremony, when Vince declared the LEF opened, confetti came from the ceeling, everyone received a cold Heineken to the tunes of “Don’t Stop Believin'” and you could feel how the excitement from the old LEFers spilled over to the newcomers. Suddenly everyone was fulfilled with the LEF magic.
The fun presentation of countries on Sunday evening then helped to set aside the last reservations torwards each other and people from various countries met each other to talk and share what they consider as their national foods and drinks.
That is why I come to LEF, to meet people you wouldn’t meet if you weren’t there. To learn something about other cultures and open your mind in times when we see the opposite happen.
And what further can I say? The rest is legendary! A beautiful social activity with a visit from IVP Gudrun Yngvadottir where we took more than 200 children from difficult circumstances to the zoo will always be remembered as an outstanding highlight from LEF 2017. Two very different motto parties were crazy fun, as my LEO friends from the German carnival strongholds always tell me “put 200 people in costume in a room and it will be fun!”, even though I’d like to add: “200 LEOs is even better”.
Some Dutch events like the farmers golf or cheese making rounded the program off together with awesome day trips to Amsterdam and Rotterdam and the gala on Thursday was a beautiful evening that I am sorry for everyone who missed it.
In the end I’d just like to thank the amazing orga team once again for all their hard work and hope to see everyone again next year at a #hunforgettable LEF in Hungary!
Alexander Kölpien – ILO MD111 Germany