“Youth at the Top” 2nd Edition: A Civic and Symbolic Experience on July 12th 2016 in the Alps

Monday, 09 May 2016

On July 12th 2016, groups of young people will meet in several protected areas and natural sites throughout the Alps in order to share a physical, human, cultural and artistic collective experience in the mountains.


Out in the Mountains !

All over the Alps people are disturbed by young people’s lack of interest in mountains. Is it a growing phenomenon?
Little by little people are beginning to realise that our children and young people are missing something … nature. Has contact with nature become a waste of time?
Omnipresent screens, hectic lifestyles, no more room to simply… go out. Yes, out, in the fresh air, into the woods or to the river. Sit in a meadow, listen, smell, observe. And then walk, climb, up the slope and maybe even reach the summit?
From France to Slovenia, the Alpine protected areas and mountain education actors are very keen to recreate or strengthen the link between mountain nature and young people from there and elsewhere

Because living in the Alps does not necessarily mean knowing the region and roaming about in it. Because “mountain experience is an educational experience”. Because the young people of our areas are also our discussion partners and tomorrow’s key players, and also because it is quite simply vital for every human being to have regular contact with nature.

A Unique Moment in Symbolic Places

So, amongst many other activities and projects, we have created an original way to take young people of the Alps to experience the mountains, spend a night up there, to rediscover the power of being a group and the values of citizenship and solidarity. A collective activity rich in symbolism: Youth at the Top!

What in Youth at the Top?

It is a project led by ALPARC*, in partnership with Educ’alpes, which mobilises groups of young people from 6 countries at a common annual date, in an active, civic process, with a symbolic and imaginative approach.
The project has a collective setting but at the same time leaves plenty of room for local initiatives.

*with in particular the financial support of the German Ministry for the Environment.

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  • Find out what events are already scheduled on the online map 
    You can still join the initiative by contacting the organisers!

  screenshot map

For the first test edition in 2015 around thirty events were organised simultaneously, near a summit or a refuge, including various activities: rock painting, land art, writing, wood carving, light painting, tales, treasure hunting, stargazing, climbing peaks, solidarity actions, meetings with mountain players, etc.

"I really liked being with mates, sleeping outside and also moving around in the mountains during the holidays! We saw an 8,000-year-old rock shelter and I really liked the history"

“I didn’t think I’d be able to do that… it’s a long time since I went mountaineering!”

For the 2016 edition: More than 50 simultaneous events have already been planned!
They will be run by the Alpine protected areas, youth workers, associations, refuges, communities, etc., with the participation of local professionals. The evening of 12th July will be a highlight of the operation, bringing the young people together around a collective artistic action on the theme of light.

In 8 Countries

This international collective action will be organised at the same time in six countries of the Alpine arc (France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and
Slovenia), which will make it possible to connect the different countries and symbolically overcome administrative and language barriers by taking the Alps as one sole great mountain region. This year for the first time, the Carpathians will also participate with 4 events (Romania and Slovakia).
So this will be a day that will mobilise several Alpine actors around a unifying, original action. Above all it will be a collective project to allow young people to “share an experience”, with the aim of making them aware of the value and importance of these mountain territories and developing (or rediscovering) a feeling of belonging there. 

“Youth at the Top” in a Nutshell

Across borders: an international event concerning the Alps as a whole

Symbol: “Youth at the Top” mobilises groups of young people for mountains around one single date. For one summer night it lights up the fires of the highest and simplest solidarity throughout the Alps

Celebration: Offering a festive occasion based on the happiness of being in the mountains, the   pleasure of roaming around there and at the same time doing something useful for the mountains and showing respect.

Together: Preparing an outing in the mountains together, directed to a summit, a pass, a mountain meadow, a historic site, a shelter, a refuge, a pastoral hut, a bivouac etc.

Mountain: Rediscovering a bond with mountains through feelings, observation, play, encounter, imagination, dreams and self-expression.

Experience: Going off in search of adventure, taking time to live and discover the mountains, savoring the little paths and the wide-open landscapes, the sky and the stars...

Sharing: Living as a group in the mountains and making new friends 

Citizenship: Taking part in a solidarity action with mountain professionals: shepherds, refuge keepers, mountain leaders, players in nature and heritage… 

Inter-cultural: Sharing thoughts with other mountain generations and other young people from the Alps

Self-expression: Creating small works of art and other forms of self-expression by photo documentaries or videos and publishing them, using the image as the universal language of the Alps.

Night: For a real personal night experience in the mountains and creating beautiful personal memories.


2016 Edition Organising Partners


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ALPARC - The Alpine Network of Protected Areas

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