Membership in the Estonian Defence League Girls Organization (Kodutütred) and the Estonian Defence League Boys Organization (Noored Kotkad), the youth organizations of the volunteer Estonian Defence League (Kaitseliit), is growing. More and more women are voluntarily signing up to serve in the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) as well, and one factor involved in this increase appears to be prior membership in Kodutütred.
For a Kodutütred or Noored Kotkad member, breaking out of one's comfort zone can involve going to camp, hiking in the forest, and yes, even doing morning exercises, ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.
At a recent nationwide Kodutütred and Noored Kotkad summer camp held at Lake Karujärv in Western Saaremaa, there was plenty of action and activities to go around, and, based on the Saaremaa District of the Estonian Defence League, at least, it appears as though youth interest in learning offered quasi-military skills has started eclipsing leaders' ability to teach them.
"Children are interested in doing things," Saaremaa District Commander Gunnar Havi said. "Around here, it tends to be a question of leaders instead sometimes; whether we are capable of doing as much as the kids are interested in doing."
"We offer various active activities, ranging from how to manage in a forest camp and cooking over an open fire to organizing survival camps outright," Kodutütred Chief Elder Ave Proos said.
There are currently a total of over 8,000 Kodutütred and Noored Kotkad in Estonia, with total membership currently higher in the the girls' organization.
"Very many kodutütred have gone on to serve conscription, where they have apparently ended up via our organization," Proos highlighted. "We certainly very much support this; we are in favor of it, and one day I hope Estonia's next woman general is a former kodutütar."
Editor: Aili Vahtla