leirikeskus_mapI am just reading an article in Forssan Lehti about Leirikeskus. It so happens that I was there last summer before visiting the makkaramarkinat in Tammela. I was there because I had read that FSKK and HAMK were organizing an innovation competition about “What to do with Leirikeskus”. It was cold, but the sun was shining and I thought it would be a good day for a walk. So my wife and I parked out car at Hämeen Luontokeskus and asked the personnel on how to get to Leirikeskus. Big question marks in the eyes of the woman on the other site of the table. She had to look it up! Once found it turned out that it was a drive with the car over a muddy road or a few kilometers walk.

Leirikeskus is a dump!

We opted for the latter and made our way towards Leirikeskus. We crossed the water with a ponton that could be moved by pulling a rope. Very old fashioned, but fun. After a few hundred meters we found Leirikeskus. I took my camera and started to make pictures. At first glance the buildings seemed old fashioned, but in reasonable shape. However a closer look revealed that the place was actually a dump. It was like nobody had been there in the last ten years. The trees had grown without anyone to take care of them. I could imagine that the place had once full with school kids and scouts, but it seemed that it lost it's vigor long ago. Both the inside and the outside were not up to standards. Let's be clear. If you wanted to improve this place, you actually have put all the buildings down and rebuild them! That's not just a renovation, that is a new building project.

Ditch it!


What would be needed to make that place into something attractive? I am not talking about reviving the place. It seems to me that when a place gets so deteriorated no one interested in keeping it up. So instead the question is “what can we build there that appeals to people”? A no hands tied to your back question.

I came up with several ideas, but I submitted only one to FSKK/HAMK. Later I heard through the grapevine that I was the only one to submit an idea, by rights I should have won the competition! Even so I did not get the impression that it was taken seriously. Should I have been taken seriously? That's what I want to ask you now. Because I think that any attempt revive the Leirikeskus like it is now, is doomed to failure.

Pustolovski Park in Bled

It so happened that we were that summer in Bled (Slovakia). Bled is a holiday resort. Both in winter and summer. I took a look in Pustolovski park. More or less by accident. It turned out to have a very nice obstacle course for families. And not just on land, but high up in the trees! My thought then, as it is now, is that it would be nice if we would such a thing in Forssa!


Mud in your face!And actually when you take into account the environment of Leirikeskus it has a lot of possibilities. Leirikeskus is on a small peninsula (Niemi). There is a patch of water called Toralahti which is very suitable to all kinds of water activities. It is on this side of the water that the main activity should take place. On land there can be several obstacle trails in different levels of difficulty to conquer. It is possible to make a trail high up in the trees as long as you have good ropes attached. It's ultimate sports to conquer all the obstacles with your face full of mud until you reach the water. There some other challenges await you.


ww1Back on shore you can change clothes again. Get coffee and pulla, pizza or pea soup. You also get a diploma for conquering the course. If you have made a good time your name will added to the hall of honor. In winter time the obstacle course cannot be held. Instead the restaurant can serve people who want to skate or ski.

Ninja Warrior (Sasuke)

The ultimate obstacle course is Sasuke. Sasuke consists of a great many obstacles that are almost impossible to do. In that case the whole operation changes from do-it-yourself attraction to a tournament spectacle. It is doubtful we can have such a big attraction around here, but one can dream.

 Kalkar, now and then. The nuclear reactor was abandoned and is now a theme park.

It was in 1980 that the green party was founded in Germany. I was 15 and just living on the other side of the border. The Germans were building on their side nuclear reactor (Kalkar) that inspired a lot of protests from both the Germans and the Dutch. Another factor that accelerated the protests was that both countries had already their share of chemical scandals. Scandals that threatened the direct environment of people's living space. In Germany both the Christian-Democrats and the Social-Democrats turned a deaf ear to the protesters. That was a mistake. Especially the German Social-Democrats suffered because the protesters were largely a group of left wing activists. In the Netherlands the most left wing groups became inspired by the German movement. They looked for a new view on the world and in the end the communist party, the pacifist party and a party of protestant radicals merged into what is now called “Green left”. Why the the term “Green left”, why not just “Greens”? Left as both the German and the Dutch green parties are, there is still no “Green right”. This has of course to do with the roots of those parties. At beginning they were very anti-establishment. Throwing a stone at the police was not uncommon. However nowadays they are part of system. Even the managing director of Greenpeace found it necessary to take the airplane to go to work. So the gap between conservative people and the greens seems to be closing.

There is no reason why it should not. Green principles are actually quite conservative. Conservatism and conservation are almost the same term. If you like to stick to things as they always were you would like preserve the environment you live in. That means a clean environment, and strict environmental controls in your immediate surroundings to keep it that way. Just as law and order apply to everyone when drinking and driving or plain thievery is concerned, so environmental laws should be defended by any conservative. It appeals to traditionalism and care for your own immediate surroundings.

So why is there still a distance? Can it be true most true conservatives have mixed themselves too much with Neo-Liberals to have their own say. Neo-Liberalism is not about law and order. It is about freedom to do what you want. Laws usually stand in the way of this, therefore deregulation is a virtue. That's a clash within for most parties that have a Liberal/Conservative wing. No one in these parties wants to make an issue of it because it can be divisive, but individual conservative representatives can be persuaded to deal with their left wing counter partners. That would help on both sides to create jobs and prosperity without the drawbacks of pollution and destruction of natural resources. I hope we can make this come true in Forssa. It would set a good example for the rest of Finland.

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