Fryshuset – A Vision in Reality
Fryshuset is often referred to as the largest youth center in the world – but it is actually much more than that. Above all it is a vision based on the conviction that encouragement, confidence, responsibility and understanding are necessary in order to enable young people to develop their innate abilities and find their way into society.
This is exactly what Fryshuset is trying to do and the place is therefore packed with all kinds of creative and constructive activities. Young people mix with grown-ups in order to participate, contribute and learn. Fryshuset is a meeting place where people share and develop passionate interests, social commitments, sports, entertainment, culture and innovative educational programs.
Fryshuset was founded in 1984 as a result of joint efforts by the YMCA of Stockholm and a couple of unyielding enthusiasts, among them Fryshuset’s legendary founding father Anders Carlberg. Initially the centre was located in an old storage building (Fryshuset means cold store in Swedish), but after a couple of years it was transferred to larger premises (24 000 square meters) on the south side of Stockholm.
At the outset, sports and music were the sole activities, but social issues made their way into the agenda as a reflection of young people’s wants and needs. One such early example came in the summer of 1986 when violent riots occurred between differing teenaged groups in Stockholm. The Swedish government asked Fryshuset to step in and help relieve the situation. Fryshuset launched a campaign, touring around the country lecturing on constructive alternatives to violence. During the tour it became obvious that most teenagers deplored violence and had a lot of vital ideas on how to counteract it and how to a build a better future.
Fryshuset is constantly changing and developing. It is now as famous for its social work as it is for education, skateboarding, basketball, music and other leisure time activities. Today Fryshuset runs several schools and programs for vocational training, seminars and conferences, courses in theatre, music, and sport as well as hosting events, concerts, parties and discotheques. It even has its own church, the Fryshus-Church.
Formally Fryshuset is a foundation headed by the YMCA of Stockholm. Public funding covers around 5 % of the activities, the rest is financed by a mixture of grants, endow-ments and fees for services such as educational and social programs (fees that are not paid by young people or individual clients but by our co-operational partners and government agencies). Some of our activities are also running in Göteborg and Malmö – Sweden‟s second and third largest cities – as well as in several other parts of Sweden. All in all Fryshuset employs around 600 people and receives around 40,000 visitors every month.
The Bridge Builders
The purpose is to guide young boys into adulthood by providing them with good role models. Bridge building groups consists of boys and men who engage in a number of subjects and activities together, such as sports, camps, study visits, charity work and also studying and discussing such topics as morals, justice and ethics. The main component in the program is not the actual activities but the relationship and the support between the boys and their role models.
CIDES – Centre for information about destructive sub-cultures
CIDES works with developing and disseminating effective approaches for combating the formation of destructive subcultures, reducing their recruitment and facilitate in defection. By destructive subcultures we mean all groups such as street gangs, the white power-movement, soccer-hooligans etc. The problems with destructive groups cannot be fixed by the police alone. There are several stakeholders in society who need to work together. And we all need to start listening to what the young people claim that they need in order to keep out of these groups.
CIDES works with young people who are or have been involved in gangs as well as with politicians and other key stakeholders. The young are providing facts about what they need to avoid joining gangs. Their proposals are passed on to politicians, scientists, police and social services, schools and recreational activities, correctional agencies and the third sector. The goal is to obtain feasible and effective solutions to the problem.
The Calm Street (Lugna Gatan) Project
The Calm Street Project started in 1995 in order to counteract violence and vandalism within Stockholm’s public transportation system. Unemployed young people between 20 to 30 years of age were recruited to work as hosts in order to prevent problems caused by delinquent young people „hanging out‟ around subways and buses.
Since then Calm Street has become a comprehensive program of social integration and a way to get unemployed young people back into the employment market. The hosts have proven very effective in preventing violence, vandalism and crime among youngsters, due to the fact that they are more than just ordinary security guards; Calm Street forms close relations with young people and function as great role models. Their successful approach has led to hosts being hired by schools and local communities and to an increase of the whole project. Calm Street hosts have also started local junior Calm street groups where teenagers can enroll and be part of the program by helping their own local neighbourhood stay safe and clean. – A Calm Street project will be shortly started in Langa outside Cape Town in South Africa.
Create My World
A project in which children are encouraged to use their creativity in various ways to express their feelings and values. Theatre, writing, painting etc are used as ways to deal with sometimes traumatic memories which are hard to handle.
Elektra & Sharaf Heroes & Sharaf Heroines
Elektra works against honour related violence and oppression. Tens of thousands of young girls and boys in Sweden do not have access to ordinary human and democratic rights. They are oppressed and inhibited by their families and are not allowed to choose how to live their own lives, whom to love, what to do for a living or even how to socialize. Honour related violence and oppression is an archaic and cruel way to execute control over daughters (and sons) in order to preserve the “family honour”.
Elektra‟s goal is that nobody should live under honour oppression.
Elektra therefore works with:
- Providing support, counseling and in acute cases a protected get away.
- Prevention by changing attitudes among young people from honor affected cultures/backgrounds. This is done within the youth groups Sharaf heroes (for boys) and Sharaf heroines (for girls).
- Educating and giving advice to authorities, schools, social services, the police and other agencies.
- Lobbying in order to make the whole society aware of and committed to extinguishing honor oppression and violence.
The Emerich foundation
”If I could pick another path in life, I would want to be a teacher to the battered boy Adolf Hitler”. These are the words of Emerich Roth, who survived Auschwitz and four other concentration camps, but lost his parents, three little sisters and 40 additional family members in the Holocaust. Emerich came to Sweden after the war and worked as a social worker for 30 years. After his retirement he came to Fryshuset and started lecturing in schools about racism and hate and what to do about it. He also set up a foundation that rewards young people’s efforts to improve humanity and tolerance. Emerich has also written a number of renowned books about his own life and about hate, humanity and reconciliation.
Exit helps young people to leave Nazi, racist or other extremist movements. Due to the sectarian and militant nature of these groups it is very hard to leave them. Those who do are often persecuted by their former comrades and despised by ordinary citizens. At Exit they get help both from professional social workers and from people who have left the Nazi movement themselves. They are received by people who know exactly what they are going through and what they need. Exit offers everything from just listening to their stories to helping them create a new life. This can include obtaining a secret identity, psychotherapy or treatment against alcoholism, forming new social contacts etc.
As a result of its efficient, no-nonsense methods and real-life knowledge, Exit has been very successful. The organization also educates schools, authorities, police, the correctional system, social workers and parents in how to deal with Nazism/racism. Exit has also helped authorities in Germany to start a similar project and has a broad network of professional contacts all over the world.
Fryshuset’s Web Coaches
The Web Coaches are out on the Internet in order to support, guide and listen to young persons (aged 12 to 20) and to help them become confident and strong. Our web coaches have established their own spaces and chat rooms on established web communities for young people. Our goal is to give young people the support they need to handle the situation they are in. Another important task is to help young persons find their way in discussion forums. These often work as self help groups though in a quite unorganized way. The role of the coach is to ask relevant questions that can provide a perspective, without telling the person what to do. Our motto is “listen and speak as a friend – act as an adult.
Works with helping young unemployed people get jobs. Every client gets her/his own personal coach who focuses on their needs, interests, abilities, difficulties and dreams. The ultimate goal is to help them get a job, to strengthen their abilities and self-confiden-ce. The project is run by the Swedish employment agency in cooperation with Fryshuset.
The original Mission Possible project was started in 2002 in Paris. The project was designed to work in a holistic way with children, taking their whole life situation into account (family, school, leisure time etc). The Swedish version is run by Fryshuset and was launched by a joint initiative by the Stockholm and Paris Rotary Clubs. Mission Possible is centered on afternoon activities for school children between 9-12 years. It has now been transformed into a training programme for school staff and families, where the child is always the main focus. The project is temporarily put on hold.
Mpower is an educational program where young women get increased knowledge and understanding of modern society and learn how they can play an active role in the development of their own situation and help to create a safer Sweden. After the training the participants get a diploma and become MPower Ambassadors with the task of spreading their knowledge and acting as positive role models and counteract social unrest.
Works with helping people who want to leave gangs and criminal organizations. Passus provides mental and social rehabilitation in order to create a new life, and support to families of young people who are on their way to destructive gangs. It provides prevent-ive measures among young people and courses and education for professionals such as school staff, the social service, the police, the prison and probation agency etc. Several coaches work at Passus (some of them with a background in criminal gangs), along with a counselor and a network of MI trainers, psychotherapists and psychiatrists. The support each client get is based on his or her individual needs and often means that you have to start from scratch and build a whole new life and a new identity.
Single mothers & Children of single mothers
Works with single mothers and children living in economically and socially exposed circumstances, deprived of their basic needs such as decent clothing and leisure time activities. To strengthen their social network and give them the possibility to do things that usually cost money, the project organises activities for the families, things like going to the zoo, to amusement parks or having parties. One of our goals is to give the mothers strength and tools to change their life situation.
Activities for young refugees without accompanying grown-ups
A high number of young refugees arrive in Sweden on their own without any accompanying grown-ups to support them. Fryshuset offers various introductory activities, individually or in groups. If needed we help with accommodation, with contacts with public authorities, with mentors, school support. And we introduce them to sports, music, dance and other activities through which they get a chance to meet other youngsters sharing the same interests.
This project gives support to parents, relatives and professionals who meet young persons affected by the armed conflict in Syria. We offer individual and professional advise concerning the challenges to be met when young persons are inclined to get involved in the conflict in Syria.
Together for Sweden
This is an inter-religious programme where Christians, Jews and Muslims (and non-believers) meet to discuss various issues relating to their religions and to human values generally. The programme has reinforced the understanding that religion can be a key to reach young people and a positive force that can unite different groups. Together for Sweden is focusing on inter-religious guidance and education for young people with the aim of addressing hostility towards foreigners, racism and extremism. The project will use religion as a means of integration and show that religion can be a force to be reckoned with in achieving peace and understanding.
The purpose of United Sisters is to boost self-esteem and self-respect among young girls and guide them into adulthood. United Sisters provides the following activities:
- Girl Groups where girls aged between 15 – 19 years old get together with grown up role models to do things like going to lectures, discussions, exhibitions, study visits…
- Girl Coaches – a support service offered to girls who need an extra adult mentor. The coach is there to listen, encourage, strengthen and guide the girl. The coaches are volunteers from all sections of society and all walks of life.
Vilja, Vara, Kunna (willingness, existence, ability)
The target group of this project which originated in Gothenburg are young persons between 12 and 25 years of Swedish-Somali background, but it also wants to inspire the staff of schools and public authorities working with these youngsters. One result of the project is a book focusing on each individual’s right to be proud of who you are, on each person’s ambition and ability to achieve something and to realize your dreams, and on everybody’s uniqueness and possibility to influence your future.
The project helps young people (aged 16 to 24) who don’t study nor have any contact with the Employment Service – but want a job! Young-in helps them discover what they want to do and how to do it, how to find jobs and how to apply for them. Young-in is run by the Employment Service, Fryshuset, Friends and the authorities of Stockholm City with support from the European Social Fund.
Fryshuset Inc. – an entrepreneurial project
Fryshuset’s network for entrepreneurship and leadership. This is where leaders and innovative developers of society from all over Sweden meet to develop leaders and (social) entrepreneurs. The project offers training in leadership and entrepreneurship, mentors, internships and trainee programs, digital communities, forums and networks, tips on literature, film, Internet-sites etc. Each year the Youth Entrepreneur of the Year gets an award and support for further development.
Forum för Eldsjälar (Forum for “passionate people”)
Fryshuset’s annual conference for people working with young people. The purpose is to provide a meeting place where people can exchange ideas, skills and knowledge. Around 600 people from various organizations and authorities (policemen, social workers, teachers, correctional officers, volunteers and young people from schools and other organizations) participate in the conference every year in the beginning of October.
The Fryshuset spirit – a nationwide network
The project is a blend of inspiration and training for youth workers throughout Sweden. Drawing on 30 years’ experience of working with and for young people – Fryshuset has established a network of 300+ committed organisations all over Sweden. The purpose of the network is to promote and encourage exchange of knowledge and experience and to identify best practices in various areas relating to youth issues.
Up & Coming
We work as headhunters for young leaders with ”streetsmart” competence. The project identifies, attracts and recruits leaders and talents needed by business. Up & Coming functions as a recruitment company and helps corporations to increase diversity in their staff. Streetsmartness is our focus.
LärOlika (crossover knowledge)
In order to promote diversity and tolerance in society the LärOlika programme offers opportunities for individuals with different cultural or ethnic backgrounds, professions, ages and positions to meet and learn about and from each other. In this way we counteract ignorance, segregation and prejudice. LärOlika is a leadership programme built on curiosity and the conviction that diversity enriches life and increases creativity.
Fryshuset’s elementary school
Fryshuset’s elementary school for 6 to 9 graders offers elementary education to students who want to combine their studies with basketball, dance, skate or music. The school offers a safe and creative environment where students can evolve and thrive.
Fryshuset’s high school
Fryshuset‟s high school (or upper secondary school) is intended for young people who want to study at the same time as they develop different kinds of sports or cultural interests. The school offers training in basketball, skateboarding, writing, dance, theatre, music, image, design and gaming, and entrepreneurship. The school has around 900 students.
Is a leading center for dance education with 2-year programmes for professional dancers in the areas of street dance, jazz, ballet, modern and contemporary dance and breaking.
RML – the Rock Music education
Is a one-year full-time education for rock musicians. RML is run by Birkagården College and Fryshuset. The program was started in 1989 and many former students have gone on to become very successful rock musicians.
Basketball – 08 Stockholm Human Rights
is a basketball club that combines social work among young people with elite teams for men and women. 08 Stockholm Human Rights considers basketball to be not just a ballgame, but also a useful tool for educating and influencing young people. In addition, basketball attracts young people from all parts of society and from all ethnic groups, from upper-class areas to the marginalized suburbs. Therefore it has a unique capacity for enhancing integration.
is about having a place to belong, bringing youth together into a community, helping them to know a sense of security. The heart of Frysbox is to develop oneself socially, finding one’s own voice and self-respect, while learning to integrate with one’s peers across a range of social and life backgrounds, growing in trust, empathy and understanding. Frysbox is a social project working in martial arts training, and in particular Muaythai. It is run as a cooperation between Fryshuset and “TiP Muay Thai IF”, a Swedish Muaythai gym in Stockholm. The target group is youth: 13-20 years old.
A project aiming at kids who never had the opportunity to enjoy boating, sailing, the archipelago or other out-door activities. Sea-life organizes sailing courses, boat trips, camps and other sea-oriented diversions.
This youth basketball society consists of around 100 teams based at Fryshuset. Young players, around 3500, between 10 – 16 years old from all parts of Stockholm get involved in sports and social interaction. Basketball has a large movement among young people from all parts of society. It is not only a game – it is a way to learn tolerance and fairness.
F.U.S.E is both a record company and a project for young musicians between 15-25 years. F.U.S.E is an abbreviation of the Swedish words for; publishing company, education, support and commitment – which is what F.U.S.E is all about. Young musicians, performers and bands get all the guidance, feedback, advice, tips and information they need in order to create their place in the music industry. F.U.S.E Music also produces and releases records.
The sports club at Fryshuset is a well-equipped fitness centre for everybody from beginners to skilled athletes. Our goal is to create an open and pleasant atmosphere, where all kinds of people feel welcome. We believe that we offer the most affordable gym in Stockholm.
Providing sports and cultural activities during all school holidays. Every school holiday Fryshuset arranges a wide variety of activities for young people. When lots of activities close down, especially during the summer holiday, Fryshuset’s Lovely Days offer everything from street basketball, floor ball, dance- and music classes, excursions, movies, discos, music and games to contests and concerts. Lovely Days has become the meeting place for teenagers from all over Stockholm.
The Music Department
is home to around 600 musicians and 100 bands rehearsing in 39 music studios. The Music department also has courses in playing the guitar, keyboards and drums, in singing and DJ-mixing. Fryshuset has two concert halls; the smaller “The Club” and the bigger “The Arena”, arranges concerts with many of the world’s most renowned bands and performers.
Fryshuset offers a variety of evening courses in music, dance and theatre, including electric guitar, electric bass, drums, keyboards, DJ mixing, DJ-courses for girls and music production.
Stockholm Skate Park
This is the only indoor arena for skateboarding, inline skating and BMX biking in all of Stockholm. The hall covers 1600 square meters and is open all year round. It is also the home ground for student skating training at the schools of Fryshuset. There are around 4000 members of the Stockholm Skatepark, run by Fryshuset.
Writes, produces and sets up plays about contemporary social issues such as “Burn the ghetto” or “Top Boys – a hooligan’s story”. Other themes dealt with are relating to the “life in prison”, “self destructive behavior” and deradicalisation of Nazis. These “documentary plays” have been played for schools, politicians, youth organisations, authorities as well as business corporations.
For many years, Fryshuset has hosted various kinds of youth parties. We organize Sweden’s only permanent disco for people aged 15-20 years. It is also one of the biggest discos in Scandinavia with three floors and capacity to host 3 000 guest. The events are constantly changing and developing – the only thing that stays the same is that they take place in an alcohol- and drug-free environment.
Fryshuset at Almedalen
Every summer Fryshuset participates in Sweden’s biggest and most influential annual political get-together Almedalsveckan. One week in July, politicians, lobby groups, organisations, business and the media gathers on the island of Gotland in the Baltic, to debate economics, politic-, social-, environmental- and other issues concerning Sweden’s future. Fryshuset participates with the purpose of drawing attention to young people’s situation and their opportunities to develop and lead full and meaningful lives.
Fryshuset Church and Together for Sweden
The church was established in cooperation with the Salvation Army, the National Ecumenical Council and the Diocese of Stockholm. The purpose is to encourage and support contemplation about major issues such as the meaning of life, good and evil, etc.
Kärsögården – The Kärsö Estate
Fryshuset and the YMCA run Kärsögården, situated by Drottningholm on Lake Mälaren. Kärsögården consists of a beautiful wooden house built in 1860, and conference facilities. Guests can water-ski and swim, play frisbee, golf, beach volleyball, basketball etc. A wide variety of activities take place at Kärsön, for example courses, camps, educational programs.