Project “Euro-Hike – youth empowerment through sport and nature” took place since January 2019 till May 2021. Project was based on innovative combination of sport activity for all /trekking, hiking/ and outdoor experiential practices of self-development and nature connectivity.
The content of two empowerment hikes that were held in Cantabria mountains /Spain/ and Madeira Island mountains came from participants of the treks – trainers, educators, youth workers, guides – who wants to explore with us the notion of MOUNTAIN HIKE as a tool for empowerment and self-development.
While many sports activities and games require special equipment or training to get started, hiking/trekking is relatively much simpler and more beneficial than any other exercise.
Literally, anyone can put on a pair of shoes along with few necessary gears and equipments and start moving into the woods for a little fresh air. The scenery, accessibility and diverse nature of hike trails make this heart-healthy pastime attractive for people of all ages and fitness levels.
Our goal was to allow European youth organisations to develop and reinforce network of partners active in youth empowerment by trekkings/hikes. We wanted to increase our capacity to operate at transnational level, exchange good practices, confront ideas and methods of strenghtening youth through sport and physical activity, in connection with nature. Our objective was to produce and disseminate innovative outputs on youth empowerment trekkings. We helped and supported networking of European youth educational and sport organisations.
Hiking allows to maintain the body in good working condition simply by walking which is really a good exercise. It improves the physical as well as mental health and the list of benefits from hiking and trekking is infinite. It is a pursuit that allows people to determine their own limitations, strengthen the potential and reshape life goals. It is proved as well that hiking/trekking can stimulate development of relevant life skills and competences, e.g sense of leadership / inner leadership as well/, decisiveness, personal power, self-sufficiency, risk management and prevention, self-assuredness and self-confidence, goal orientation, skill of overcoming obstacles, cooperation and teamwork and many others.
That is why there is a need that sport-related organizations and European institutions start to perceive importance of the hiking/trekking as a relevant tool in combating social and economical problems of the young Europeans.
During the lifetime of the project we focused our activities on networking. Also we intended to identify and share “good practices” in empowering youth through trekking and hiking. We prepared, developed and implemented educational tools and innovative approaches towards youth empowerment /documentary movie, educational tools description/. It was important to organise as well awareness-raising activities on the added value of sport and physical activity in relation to the personal. Activities also had a purpose of social and professional development of individuals. We prepared activities to promote innovative synergy between the field of sport and the fields of health, education
The content of two empowerment hikes were held, one of them took place in Cantabria mountains and second one was on Madeira island.
From 3rd till 10th of September 2019 Permacultura Cantabria hosted the first empowerment hike in Cantabria /Spain/. The goal of the hike was to invite experienced outdoor trainers and educators, who could create the program with us and share their know-how in nature-based non-formal education. Together we spent a week in a community of 18 youth workers, nature guides and outdoor youth trainers from Latvia, Madeira, Poland and Spain exchanging our tools and methods on the way.
- Program of the 1st hike in Spain:
1 DAY: Arrival to Santander
2 DAY: Negro at Rubalcaba, from Llanos
3 DAY: Tresviso picos de Europa + Hot Springs in the river
4 DAY: La Ruta de les puentes, reserva del Saya
5 DAY: Ruta Del Cares in Asturia
6 DAY: Costa Quebrada from Santander COSTA QUEBRADA from SANTANDER
7 DAY: Evaluation
During the hike we used mainly community-based methods of non-formal learning. The program was predominantly delivered as a group experience, with time and space for personal reflection. Exchange of innovative outdoor tools among 5 organisations from Europe / Medeina Foundation, Permacultura Cantabria – Spain, Teatro Metaphora – Madeira, Club Pes Livres – Madeira, JASMA – Youth Development and Cooperation Multicultural Union – Latvia/
We developed innovative program for youth empowerment, so as to face life challenges, e.g. transition and identification of the next stage of life, navigation of life changes or new responsibilities. We wanted to explore great potencial that lays in trekking/hiking, as ‘Reaching a top” and ‘climbing a mountain’ may be metaphorical expressions which refer to mountains a symbol of determination, the end point and a more or less easy to reach a goal, and they represent the idea of ‘being able to do it’ and represent success.
We wanted to create a common, vivid space for learning, where everybody was welcomed with their own contributions and experiences. We spent 6 days walking, trekking, hiking and sharing our know-how in the topic “how to empower youth on the way”. Also we used methods like bringing the “box” of your treasures, outdoor methods and practices that you would like to share with others.
Every day we had at least two slots for the outdoor practices /about 50 minutes each/ and one slot for the warm-up and energizer before we set off.
- Program of the 2nd hike in Portugal:
1 DAY: Western area of Madeira /Fanal, Porto Moniz, Cabo Girao, Camara de Lobos/
This day we combined some walking activity together with some of the most amazing sightseeing experience in the Western area of Madeira. In the immensity of Fanal plateau, begun this beautiful about 1 km trail. Among some climbs and descents, there are breathtaking landscapes, where stands out the lush vegetation that surrounds the entire area of Laurissilva forest dominated by tils. This was a ideal spot for relax and enjoy this wonderful place to absorb positive energies. Our next step was at the beautiful village of Porto Moniz known for its natural volcanic swimming pools. On the way to Funchal we stop ate Cabo Girão, one of the highest cliff in Europe, the highest in Madeira. Standing on panoramic skywalk above 580 m above sea level we got the best experience ever. Our last stop was in one of the most picturesque cities on Madeira – Câmara de Lobos. We saw fleet of painted boats that have been pulled onto the foreshore. At one of the bars you will have a chance to try poncha – one of the typical Madeiran drink.
2 DAY: Trekking Rabacal – Risco – 25 fontes
The trail begun on the regional road (E.R. 110) and goes down about 2 km to the Rabaçal government house. The trails diverged along two parallel levadas located on different levels. Trail PR 6.1 went along Levada do Risco, at 1000m above sea level, after 1,2 km taking the hiker to an impressive waterfall, which falls horizontally creating a ridge in the rock.
After coming back to Rabaçal, we went down to PR6 where we visited the 25 Spring Lagoon (Lagoa das 25 Fontes), created by the waters which come down from plateau Paul da Serra and mysteriously appear from behind the wall that forms the lagoon, where we saw more than 25 springs. Legend says that whoever was to dive here would never come back up to the surface, which is what happened to an Englishman who wanted to break the superstition and was never seen again. This area includes the Madeiran Laurisilva Forest which has classified as a Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO, since December 1999 and is part of the European network of important community sites – Natura 2000.
3 DAY: Trekking – porta Sao Lourcenco /trekking + return by boat to Quinta to Lord Marina/
Visiting some of the finest cliff scenery on Madeira, this walk explored the long thin peninsula at the eastern end of the island. The paths were good, but undulating – whether you get close to the edges is up to you. This peninsula is volcanic in origin, and is mainly made of basalt, although there are also some limestone sediment formations. The peninsula is classified as a partial natural reserve.
The semi-arid climate and its exposure to North winds have sculpted the low vegetation and explain the lack of trees, which distinguish this area from the rest of the Island and is a veritable natural heritage. Here we saw the Island’s basal plate at its best and several rare and endemic plants. Of the 138 species of plant identified on the peninsula, 31 are endemic (exclusive) to Madeira island.
Along the way, you could marvel yourself with the fabulous seascapes of the north and south of the Island. On the horizon to the South you can see Ilhas Desertas (Deserted Islands) and to the North the Porto Santo Islands.
At the end of the trail there is the Sardinha house, the base for a group of Ragners who work for the Madeira Natural Park. It is a perfect place for you to gather all the participants.
In order to discover the cost line and beautiful bays of the eastern end of Madeira we went for the boat trip. During about 50 minutes we werre enable you to explore the north cost, nice sea both and ensure the safety return to Quinta do Lord Marina.
4 DAY: Trekking – Pico Areeiro – Pico Ruivo – Achada de Teixeira
This energetic ridge walk begun just at third hightest pick of Madeira Pico Areeiro and heads to Pico Ruivo, the highest summit of Madeira. Most part of this path we had to face up going down and climbing the steep steps. Extremely beautiful landscapes await travelers as they cross two types of ecosystems, both of which are part of the European Network of Sites of Community Interest – Natura 2000 Network: the Central Mountainous Massif and the Laurisilva Forest.
5 DAY: Trekking: Larano – Boca to Risco – Machico
This walk connected Porto da Cruz to Machico through an old footpath once used by the local people. The walk offered magnificent perspective over Atlantic Ocean as well as the Penha d’Aguia, Ponta de São Lourenço and at the end Machico although the trail made in narrow path, so was recommended for experience hikers.
During our time on Madeira Island, we also prepared a movie documenting our hiking experience,exchange of knowledge and learning new non-formal methods.
“Euro Hike- Youth Empowerment through sport and nature” Full movie
Sensory Walking Practice
Wind Dance Practice
Water Release Practice
A Leader of My Dreams
The path of your life