Youngsters tested the suitability of the Kolodavitsa‒Värska section of Forest hiking trail (E11) for the target group

Hike with Mikitamäe school student council took place on May 27. A youth worker at Mikitamäe Youth Center of Setomaa Youth Employment Center and representative of the project partner ERTO (Estonian Rural Tourism Organisation) also participated in the hike. The hike was organized by the Setomaa municipal government in cooperation with the NGO Setomaa Turism.
The age of the participating children was 11-15 years.
On the hike, a 5 km trail was covered on the 20th section (Kolodavitsa‒Värska) of the Metsa hiking trail, which also overlaps with the Northern Camp hiking trail. On the hiking trail, the children were told about the objects located on the North Camp trail and their history. The children had the opportunity to follow paper maps, landmarks and read the information on the information boards.
The representative of ERTO told the participants about the Forest hiking trail and also explained what was said, on the map.
Children could grill and eat hotdogs at the RMK Värska campfire located on the Forest  hiking trail. The hike ended with a discussion.

Feedback and suggestions from hike participants (Mikitamäe school student council):
• Children mostly hike with friends, hiking knowledge/skills are gained from hiking with friends. Topics related to hiking are not taught at schoolprogram;
• The children have gone on a hike with a youth worker also eralier;
• The hike should be in cooler weather (the day of the hike was sunny and 30 degrees);
• The length of the hike was suitable (5 km) for the participants, but the hiking trail could have more benches/seating options;
• On a hike, there could be hiking wisdom signs or hiking wisdom information on the trail. Topics for example: Map reading; Packing the backpack; Plant wise; How to start a bonfire etc;
• The children learned that there are hiking information signs everywhere at the RMK campfire sites (including how to make a campfire, where to put garbage, etc). The children familiarized themselves with the RMK information label.
• The children liked the idea of getting information on the track via a QR code. The information could be about the history of the Northern Camp - depending on where the code is taken, the corresponding area/building, etc. information. In other words, similar information that was told to the children during the hike.

Suggestions of the Mikitamäe Youth Center youth worker:
• Young people like night hikes - you could organize, for example, a night hike and stay overnight in one of the barracks buildings (old, dingy building).
• The Northern Camp Casino could be a hologram.
• The barracks could be an escape room.
In conclusion - to achieve independent hiking skills, it is necessary to hike more and learn skills in practice.

Summery was prepared by Margery Roosimaa, Setomaa Municipality