The Valley of Forest Education at the international Roihu camp is buzzing with action. Lumber is carried in every direction in the forest and the sound of hammering fills the air. Tens of young patrols have been given a mission to establish fictitious forest industry companies and develop wood material innovations based on UPM products.
UPM provides the lumber for The Valley of Forest Education. In addition, construction material, drawing paper and wood-based UPM BioVerno diesel fuel for transportation at the jamboree come from UPM.
Earlier today, every group has solved a problem with their wood-based product. After that they have registered the new company and claimed a patent. Now many companies, like Ekosti Viihtyisä (ecologically cozy), have finished their prototypes. It is time to pitch the products soon, as the trade fair is about to start.
“We have made a nice package to be used at summer cottages or camps. It includes a durable swing made of lumber, rope and strong fabric, plus an entertaining, wooden mölkky-game. We only use ecological materials and we are inspired by the forests”, says Milja Veetilä, CEO of Ekosti Viihtyisä.
The girl group has particularly enjoyed establishing the company and designing the products.
“There have not been any major difficulties in setting up the business. We had many brilliant ideas in the morning, but time is limited, so we had to settle for two products”, Veetilä says.
Ekosti Viihtyisä proudly presents: a wooden swing and a wooden game set for the traditional Finnish yard game called mölkky.
How about their neighbours? Another girl patrol has built a handy little shelf that looks like a miniature size double hammock.
“We call our company Oy Puupala Oy. We tackled the problem of people not finding their stuff in drawers. This shelving unit solves the problem. It is simple to manufacture and looks nice. You will find your small items easily”, says Siiri Kaislo.
“It was a lot of fun to establish the company. We all have our fortes, so it was not hard to decide who does what. Starting a company in real life would be interesting. Why not!”
Over 17,000 young campers are enjoying their summer holidays and learning new things here in the woods of Evo, Hämeenlinna, in the heart of Finland.
The large collaboration between UPM and The Guides and Scouts of Finland, which began last year, takes many forms at Roihu. The common objectives of the cooperation include improving young people’s relationship with the forest and encouraging them to see the forest as a versatile source of well-being.
Here in The Valley of Forest Education, the youngsters are learning about responsible forest management and entrepreneurship.
It is going very well. A little further, a group of young men is pitching their product, a wooden chair developed for campers. The chair attracts several interested people around.
“We made a collapsible chair with one leg. There is a notch on the chair that you place against a tree. It makes the chair firm even though it has just one leg”, says CEO Eemil Koskinen from Metso Company.
“That looks really cool”, says a young man, as another one decides to test the chair.
CEO Eemil Koskinen from Metso Company explains how the best one-legged chair in Roihu works.
“This is just the prototype. It is something we ourselves would like to sit on when we are out here in the forest. You can also place a camp cooker on the chair. We use Finnish wood and domestic work force, and the green fabric is recycled”, explains Financial Manager Mikael Europaeus.
The young scouts seem quite business-oriented and active. Riikka Lumme, the supervisor of The Valley of Forest Education, is very happy with the youngsters’ attitude and energy.
“The creative atmosphere has been really great today. This is the first time we are setting up businesses in the valley. I was pleasantly surprised as I saw how imaginative products the campers have made today. It’s been great!”
The co-operation of UPM and the Guides and Scouts of Finland is a part of UPM’s “Biofore Share and Care” programme. The programme focuses on projects that are relevant to both UPM’s business and responsibility goals. The focus areas are: Reading & Learning, Engaging with communities, Responsible water use and Boosting bioinnovations.