10. – 13. 5. 2024 in Nitra, Slovakia

From May 10th to 13th, 2024, the picturesque town of Nitra, Slovakia, hosted the final meeting of the STORY project. This special event brought together hikers from Austria and Italy, as well as inspiring women and project managers from three countries, to participate in a memorable weekend filled with outdoor activities and meaningful discussions. The event also coincided with the 15th anniversary of the national gathering of hikers in Slovakia, making it an especially significant occasion.

Urban Trekking and Historical Exploration

The festivities began with an urban trek to the historic Nitra Castle, where participants were treated to a guided tour that delved into the rich history of the area. Following this, informal discussions took place in the heart of Nitra’s city center, allowing participants to get to know one another and share their experiences and aspirations for the weekend ahead. This initial activity set a positive tone, fostering connections and encouraging dialogue among the diverse group of attendees.

Scenic Hike and Group Reflections

On the second day, participants embarked on a scenic 10-kilometer hike from Kostolany pod Tribecom to Jelenec, including a visit to the ruins of Gymes Castle. Before setting off, everyone shared their expectations for the journey ahead. After the hike, attendees divided into small focus groups to discuss their “aha moments” and key takeaways, fostering deeper reflections and insights. These discussions helped create a list of inspiring women, which will be used for an ongoing awareness campaign aimed at encouraging more women to partake in mountain sports.

In the evening, participants joined a presentation by Slovak climber Lydia, who shared her experiences of conquering the highest peak of the Atlas Mountains. This inspiring talk took place during the national gathering of hikers in HidePark, providing participants with the opportunity to network with hikers from all over Slovakia.

Day 3: Final Hike and Farewell

The final day of the gathering featured a 6-kilometer hike to Dražovský kostolík. Upon arrival, participants enjoyed refreshments – buchty – prepared by OTI senior hikers and engaged in a final evaluation session before receiving certificates of participation. To celebrate the unforgettable event, attendees were gifted T-shirts as mementos.

This three-day event in Nitra was a celebration of hiking, storytelling, and empowerment. It demonstrated the power of outdoor activities in bringing people together and highlighted the benefits of hiking for both physical and mental health.

The Erasmus+ Sport programme has proven to be an effective tool in supporting projects like STORY, which aim to create more inclusive and safe spaces for women to engage in outdoor activities. By encouraging women with fewer opportunities to participate in mountain sports, initiatives like this are making a meaningful impact on communities across Europe.

We look forward to seeing the continued growth and success of such projects, and we are excited about the future opportunities they will create for women in the world of mountain sports.