Between the Ages: Socio-Pedagogical Walking Hikes as a Perspective in European Youth Work

“I think about the walk every day. It was the beginning of my life. Before, I had no life.” (Marc VD, 1965-hike 1982)

Herewith you are visiting the final document of a three-year research and networking process on the European level. In the project: “Between the Ages: Network for Young Offenders and NEET”, initiatives have been interlinked and developed, in which modern socio-pedagogical work with disadvantaged and delinquent youths avails itself of historical pilgrimage routes for the development of self-confidence and a perspective for the future. At the core of the project are socio-pedagogical paths developed by the Belgian organisation Alba, the French organisation SEUIL, and the Saxon Jugendstiftung in order to show alternative life blueprints to disadvantaged and delinquent young people

“I definitely changed through this walk. Actually, from the very moment I wrote that letter to Oikoten. That was a difficult task. From that moment I started to change already, in my way of thinking, not yet in my actions. I knew already at that moment that it could not go on like that” (boy, 1983-hike 2006)


These pedagogical approaches, originally created and implemented on the national level, show a rather wide variety in their implementation, a remarkable methodical variety, and, most of all, national traditions of various lengths, whose duration differs between several decades and a few months

What unites the projects, however, is the ongoing struggle for those young Europeans who, for the most diverse reasons, independent of socio-economic backgrounds, and for the most part outside of national educational careers, have placed themselves at the peril of permanent withdrawal from their national legal and social systems due to delinquent or asocial behavior. The Erasmus+ document at hand makes a contribution to the European cooperation in the realm of crime prevention planned by the European Union Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) which, aside of the topic area of youth crime, also focuses on the international transfer of knowledge. The aim of the European project was to interlink the national initiatives, to document their work, and to make it comprehensible. Simultaneously, the transfer of the process knowledge developed with the support of the Italian Ministry for Justice and tested by two newly founded social ventures in Italy, thus accompanying the development of new initiatives. These initiatives have an experimental character and have been possible thanks to a private donation (the case of Associazione Lunghi Cammini) and the interest of RAI - the Italian public television (the case of the experience in Rome).

“Those four months of walking gave me space in my head, a space where my good experiences are. I can resource there when things are not going well.”
(boy, 1975-hike 1990)


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