All over the Alps, people are disturbed by the lack of young people in the mountains, notably in summer. Are the mountains boring? Here, there and everywhere people are beginning to realise that our children and our young people are short of … 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 open air, in woods or beside a stream. Sit in a meadow, listen, smell, observe. And then walk, climb, up the slope and maybe reach the summit?
So, along with many other activities and projects, we have together imagined an original way to take young people of the Alps to experience the mountains, spend a night up there, and rediscover the power of being a group and the values of citizenship and solidarity. A collective operation rich in symbolism: Youth at the Top !
For, from France to Slovenia, the Alpine protected areas are very keen to recreate or strengthen the link between mountain nature and young people from here and elsewhere. Because living in the Alps does not necessarily mean knowing the region and travelling all over it. Because mountaineering means education. Because the young people of our areas are also our discussion partners and tomorrow’s players, and also because it is quite simply vital for every human being to have regular contact with nature.
- So, what is Youth at the Top ?
It is a project led by ALPARC, in partnership with Educ’Alpes for the French Alps, which will mobilise groups of young people at a common annual date, in an active, civic process, with a symbolic and imaginative approach.
Our proposal to you is to organise together, on the same day every year, the same night, meetings in emblematic places (refuges, bivouacs, passes, summits) in the mountains in all the Alpine countries. The objective: to take groups of young people up there to share a unique experience, and, more widely speaking, to reach in this way a number of teaching objectives linked to mountain education. But please note, this is not an “educational” day in the classic meaning of the word, but one having the aim to “let someone experience”, a collective adventure in the mountains… In addition, there will be a citizen action (linked to the park or refuge, for example ) and a shared artistic activity (photographic work, plays of light…). This “simultaneous” artistic work by the groups taking part will then fuel a collective work of restitution on an Alpine scale.
The international working group developing the project has chosen the 3rd Thursday in July as common date, a compromise between the highly varying local situations from one end of the Alpine arc to the other. For the 2015 ‘test’ edition, it will be Thursday 16th July. The objective is to then renew the operation every year on a larger scale. (Fund seeking is ongoing).
- Be One of the Pioneers!
We invite you to join this major collective project, which is both simple and ambitious, aimed at young people. The operation is seen as flexible and adaptable: each protected area taking part in it can adapt the size and the local event to its own means and the local context. The 2015 edition will be a first test operation which will be the object of an assessment in order to perpetuate it in the years to come.
If you want to take part in this adventure, fill in the attached entry form, which does not commit you to anything at this stage, but which will allow us to identify potential events throughout the Alps and to include you in the working group for the preparatory phase. The entry form should be sent to ALPARC before 15th March 2015. More details in the project file attached.
ALPARC & EDUC’ALPES
The “Mountain Environment Education” working group
Contact : email