11th International Meeting of Young Beekeepers

Prague, Czech Republic

2nd – 6th July, 2022

Participating countries:

Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine

During 2nd to 6th July 2022, the 11th year of the IMYB – International Meeting of Young Beekeepers took place in Prague. In addition to the Czech Republic, the previous 10 editions were also held in Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Austria, France and England. So far, hundreds of young beekeepers from 36 countries and from all continents have participated. Although these meetings were held annually, circumstances did not allow us to do so in the last two years. The last 10th anniversary meeting took place in 2019 in Slovakia. The association ICYB – International Center for Young Beekeepers, which coordinates the IMYB meeting and arranges its organizers, commissioned the beekeepers in Slovenia to organize the IMYB meeting in 2020, but due to Covid-19 pandemic the meeting has been cancelled. We thought we would meet in 2021, but even in this year the pandemic still persisted. For the year 2022, beekeepers in Moscow were entrusted with organizing IMYB, but due to the war in Ukraine, the ICYB association withdrew the mandate to organize IMYB from Russia. However, since we did not meet for such a long time, we decided at the last minute to organize the IMYB meeting in Prague. This time, the ICYB has entrusted the hosting of the event to the organization Bee Guard.

The meeting attended approximately 150 young beekeepers from 14 countries – the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Israel, Lithuania, Malta, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. This year, the meeting was held for the first time without competition. The reasoning is that the young beekeepers did not have enough options to prepare for the competition during these difficult times. Nevertheless, we all were simply looking forward to meeting again after a few years and talking about the situation in beekeeping and work with beekeeping youth in individual countries.

During Saturday afternoon (2.7.), meeting participants gradually arrived in Prague to the Olympik Tristar hotel. After registration and dinner, the meeting started. Various beekeeping and team building activities were prepared for the children, while the adults had an organizational meeting.

On Sunday (3.7.) after breakfast, children set off for a sports day, where they were competing in bowling, mini golf and laser game. In the morning, the adult participants visited the Beekeeping Research Institute in Dole u Libčice, where they listened to an interesting lecture by Ing. Dalibor Titěra, followed by a visit of Kbely Aviation Museum, which is one of the largest aviation museums in Europe. After dinner, all participants enjoyed the presentations of individual countries. Teams from participating countries presented themselves and their culture to the other participants, e.g. in the form of music, dance or other performances. All presentations were well prepared with a very high standard and there was a wonderful atmosphere.

On Monday (4.7.), participants toured the historic centre of Prague. The tour led from Hradčany through Malá Strana, Charles Bridge to the Old Town Square. In the evening, the children and Czech leaders of beekeeping clubs went to the cinema to see the Swiss documentary film “More than Honey”. This 2012 film was directed by Markus Imhoof and reports on bee colonies in California, Switzerland, China and Austria. The film was submitted for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. After the viewing, adult participants exchanged experiences in beekeeping and work with beekeeping youth in individual countries at a joint conference. In a 10-minute presentation, a representative from each country informed the audience how they work with children in the field of beekeeping in their country. Given the differences in beekeeping in individual countries, this conference was very beneficial for the participants. The aim of this conference was also to inform foreign participants how they can organize local, regional and national rounds of beekeeping competitions in their country. There are big differences in the work with young beekeepers in the participating countries. IMYB is attended by countries in which work with youth is traditionally very extensive, e.g. the Czechia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Germany, etc., but in many countries work with children is minimal. The IMYB meeting is a great inspiration for the participants from these countries.

We were pleased by the great interest of all present to participate as much as possible in the work with young beekeepers, because one of the goals of our efforts is to connect beekeeping associations of different countries with each other so that they exchange experiences and create the possibility of their cooperation.

On Tuesday (5.7.), participants had a free program. The teams could visit multiple museums in Prague or see the rooftop beekeeping on the Clarion Hotel building. After dinner, the closing ceremony of the international meeting of young beekeepers took place followed by a ride on a steamboat with refreshments and a small party. All participants took away not only a participation certificate, but above all a lot of experiences, friends and motivation for further work.

On Wednesday, participants had their farewell and departure to their homes. With IMYB 2022 being over, it was clear that everyone had a great time.

The organizing team of Bee Guard (Včelí stráž), under the leadership of Mr. Jiří Cafourek, did an amazing job. The representatives of the ICYB association, as the coordinators of the competition, thanks the organizers for their extraordinary efforts, which they spent on the preparation of this meeting. Information about the IMYB meeting was broadcast on Czech television.

This year, this meeting took place together with a nationwide meeting of young Czech beekeepers. We believe that it was an interesting opportunity for us and our young Czech beekeepers to find new friends with common interests and common life values ​​among children from abroad.

We want this international meeting to fulfil its mission – to break down barriers between people and, on the contrary, to build bridges between peoples and cultures. Especially in this difficult time, when there is a war in Ukraine, we need to learn how to find a common path from childhood.

We are glad that the organizers managed to fulfil the ideas of the IMYB meeting – to arouse enthusiasm for beekeeping, and at the same time to erase the differences of cultural, religious, age and political diversity among the participants and unite them into a solid unit that wants to actively develop the support of young beekeepers all over the world together.

We all hope to meet again in a year.

Naďa and Jiří Píza

International coordinators of the IMYB project

ICYB – International Center for Young Beekeepers, z.s.