In November, our team organised an exciting hiking retreat in the picturesque town of Melk. Exploring the scenic trails of Jauerling Wachau natural park, we hiked through the stunning landscapes of Lower Austria. This weekend event was filled with a blend of engaging outdoor activities, lively games, and inspiring workshops, creating an unforgettable experience for all involved!

Group photo with view of Melk

Joined by a group of young people and our dedicated volunteers, we organised inclusive and hands-on workshops set in nature. Starting with a energetic 17-kilometer hike from Melk town and meandering through the breathtaking expanse of Jauerling Wachau nature park, participants delved into a series of activities and discussions focused on hiking essentials. The sessions encompassed exercises and dialogues surrounding hiking preparation, navigation tactics, and handling emergency scenarios. Sharing their expertise and personal anecdotes, participants learned invaluable insights from one another on hiking safety measures, emphasizing techniques to prevent getting lost. They even honed their navigation skills using maps and compasses, fostering a practical understanding of the terrain.

Working with a compass

In addition to exploring safety measures in nature, the group actively participated in an engaging “Statements” game that encouraged them to articulate their perspectives on pressing youth-centric issues prevalent across Europe. These discussions revolved around topics of inclusion, tolerance, equality, and the importance of creating an inclusive space for all. The thought-provoking statements presented encompassed diverse subjects, including the voting age in Austria, the impact of influencers compared to political figures, the role of social media as a source of news, and the effectiveness of disruptive methods employed by climate activists. This interactive session facilitated a dynamic exchange of opinions and viewpoints, fostering a deeper understanding of these critical societal matters among the participants.

Sightseeing in Melk

Sunday morning started with an inspiring workshop dedicated to celebrating the achievements of renowned female mountaineers and hikers. Participants presented inspirational women from their respective nations, sharing compelling narratives that aimed to spark motivation among themselves and their peers, encouraging a sustained passion for hiking. This session served as a tribute to the accomplishments of these trailblazing women, fostering a sense of empowerment and aspiration within the group to perpetuate their hiking endeavors into the future. This session honored the achievements of these remarkable women, inspiring everyone to keep hiking in the future.

Group workshop

The rest of the day was spent sightseeing in Melk, playing “Selfie run” and discovering the history and hidden corners of this beautiful town. We visited the Melk Abbey, downtown and enjoyed the picturesques view of the Danube and nearby nature.

The weekend offered a great chance to forge new friendships, learn about hiking, nature, safety, and important youth topics. It was also an opportunity for the group to improve their English skills and explore the stunning natural beauty of Lower Austria.

If you’re interested in joining more events like this in the future, feel free to follow us on social media. You can also reach out directly through our forms, where you can select the activities you’d love to be a part of!