Supercell Youth Board Helsinki
By Ballyclare High School on 21 May, 2018
Back in April, two of our Year 11 Childnet Digital Leaders were successful in becoming Supercell Anti-Bullying Ambassadors. Their first job was to visit the Supercell HQ in Helsinki, Finland, where they networked with gaming professionals and online safety champions.
Here, David and Amber share their experiences.
David, Year 11
Ever since the age of 11 I have been deeply involved in the fight against bullying. I have always wanted to make an impact, and have taken every opportunity to do that, whether it’s in school as a digital leader or outside working on advisory boards. In March I heard about the opportunity on the Supercell Youth Board, I immediately applied. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a bigger impact as I would be working alongside two huge names in this field. I got accepted! The first meeting of the group was in Helsinki, Finland, home of Supercell.
I arrived in Heathrow at about 11 on Thursday morning. At one half of the group arrived at the airport, and there was no awkwardness at all! They all started introducing each other, by the time we boarded our flight, it felt like we had known each other for years. We arrived quite late in Helsinki, and we jumped on a bus and headed to the city centre, where our hotel was. The hotel was beautiful and huge, the big sign saying, ‘Welcome Friends,’ really set the tone. We then met the other half of the group and they were just as amazing as the others! We then hit the hay because we had an early start the next morning.
When we arrived at Supercell HQ our host, Jess, greeted us and she was one of the most amazing people I have ever met. We then had a tradition Finnish breakfast which I could only describe as green rectangle with a tomato on top and sandwiches filled with grass, luckily, I wasn’t too hungry. Jess then gave us a talk about Supercell, how they work and what they are about. After that we went on a tour of their offices and I don’t know how they get any work done. There is something fun around every corner; swings, climbing frames, iPads, Nerf guns and so much more! We returned to the meeting space where our group leader Alex gave us a talk about bullying and The Diana Award, then we had some free time to sample some of the free food and drinks that are there for the employees or play table ice hockey, very Finnish! After our little break we were greeted by some of the developers, one from each of the games, we sat down for a very insightful question and answer session with them. By the time all this was over we jumped on some very luxurious mini buses and headed for the docks, when we arrived, all you could see was ice, ice, ice! The sea was completely frozen over, but that didn’t stop our boat getting to the island where we were to have our tea. We sat down to be greeted with a plate of caviar, fish paste and cream cheese, the chef then dropped two pan cakes on to our plate. I will admit that was not the best started I have had, but the main made up for it. It was the most tender and flavorous meat I have ever tasted, Reindeer!
Another early start and we headed back to Supercell, this was when all the work was done. Spider diagrams, posters and weird drawings all added to the information we needed. It was also today that we were all interviewed in front of a camera about why we were here. After all these discussions and games of Clash Royal, we jumped back in the buses and headed to an escape room. I had never done one before, but it was amazing. Our room had a horror theme where the object was to cast a spell on a witch before she cursed you! We were unsuccessful but were so close. When the witch eventually let us go, we headed for a Viking themed restaurant. If I was to sum it up in one word it would be MEAT! Ox, pigeon, reindeer, lamb and goodness knows what else. It was one of the best meals I have ever had, but it was spoiled when we were told this was the last day we would see Jess.
The next morning couldn’t even be described as early, we had to leave the hotel at 3 in the morning! Although after a cup of the hotels extremely strong coffee, we were all raring to go. On the bus, spirits were at their lowest because we were leave this beautiful place and these amazing people. I was extremely sad to say goodbye to everyone at the airport, I just didn’t want to leave, but I still felt inspired and excited about what is to come!
I will be working on this board throughout the year and I’m excited to see what we will achieve. I really hope that I can make a difference in this field and that I can help reduce the amount of people being bullied online. I feel that working with this board will help me achieve that!
Amber, Year 11
In early May, I applied for the Supercell Anti-Bullying Youth Board. I applied because of my own personal experiences with bullying; I’ve dealt with homophobic bullying, and I don’t want anyone else to have to deal with any experiences like mine alone, or at all. I’m also very passionate about anti-bullying work and I wanted to be able to take my work to a whole new platform. I thought it would be an incredible opportunity, and so I applied!
A few weeks after I applied, I received an email telling me I had been accepted to the board! After that, it was a long few weeks of waiting for the trip because I was so excited. The trip was from the 4th to the 7th of April, and I can honestly say it was one of the most incredible experiences and greatest opportunities of my life so far! Every minute of it was so amazing, and I’ve made so many close friends, despite only knowing them for a few days.
Every single day of the trip was packed with cool things to do; on the first full day in Helsinki we visited the Supercell HQ in Helsinki, and were greeted by the lovely Jess, who is the Head of Anti-Fraud and User Safety at the company. To our surprise, the Supercell HQ had a no shoe policy, so everyone had to walk around in socks! (It did make it feel very homely though!) Jess took us on a tour of Supercell, letting us see the offices that the game teams worked in, and there was even a set of neon swings and a live map of the log-ins in their games such as Clash Of Clans. After the tour, we did some fun icebreaker games to let us get to know each other, and then we had a Q&A with the game developers, which was very interesting. Throughout the rest of the day, we had lunch and had many intriguing talks, while we all got to know each other! That night , we got a ferry over to small island, where Jess gave us a tour and told us about the history of the island. We then had dinner at a restaurant on the island, called Panimo, and it was interesting to say the least! We all tried reindeer and caviar for the first time, and both were surprisingly nice.
The next morning, we went back to the Supercell HQ and discussed our plans for tackling bullying over the course of the next year, and our aims to create a curriculum that anyone could access. That evening, we went to an escape room called ‘Exite’ I was on a team with some of Supercells anti-fraud champions, Jack (who is also on the Youth Board) and Katie, who was one of the Diana Award team that came with us to Finland. My team came first, and it was an amazing experience, I loved every minute of the escape room! For dinner, we went to a Viking themed restaurant called ‘Restaurant Harald’. The food was tasty, and on top of that, we got to wear Viking helmets! We then all said thank you to Jess, who we were all so grateful to for organising the trip and being so generous and nice to all of us.
The next day was a long day of travelling, and at the end of all the travelling it was very sad to say goodbye to the people I had become so close to over the course of the few days we had known each other. I’m still amazed and so grateful that I was able to enjoy such an amazing opportunity with such incredible people.
I’m excited for the road ahead, and hopefully I’ll be seeing everyone again soon in May in London!