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Bund Deutscher PfadfinderInnen 
LV Hessen Baumweg 10 60316 Frankfurt Tel: 069 431076  Fax: 069 4059595 
LV.Hessen@BDP.org    Wegbeschreibung

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The Bund Deutscher PfadfinderInnen (BDP) was founded in 1949 with support of the western allies in the Federal Republic of Germany. The new born association harked back to the tradition of interdenominational scouts-organizations in the sense of Baden Powell of the time prior to WW II. Up to today it has been through an eventful development finally leading to its transformation into a progressive association organized for and by young people. The political discussions of the late 1960ies didn’t leave the BDP unaffected and generated the realization that youth work and politics cannot be seperated. Instead socio-political aspects were to be included in the association’s work with young people. Consequently scout-traditions were done away with wherever they were considered anachronistic and out-of-date; where it seemed wise, however, they were filled with new meaning. Therefore we dropped our traditional uniforms and we discarded the hierarchical organization. Trailing in the forest became trailing of historical traces of every-day-life at our homes; the traditional big summer’s trip was replaced by political scouting in foreign countries and even the whitsuntide camps today are mostly subjected to a topic of some importance to the life of young people. Nowadays the BDP is politically connected with the new social movements like the citizens action movement, the peace movement and the environmental movement. Caused by rising juvenile unemployment, our organization participates in the search for new forms of work and life by initiating and supporting related projects. Similarly, the BDP is concerned with the needs of youth and children in other areas. The autonomy of the organization’s single groups is highly evaluated in this respect. The BDP is divided into 13 regional organizations on the level of the federal states, whose full-time and honorary staff members take care of communication among the single groups. They also organize topical seminars and represent the association politically on the regional level. Communication among the regional associations on the other hand is provided for by the organization on the Federal level. Moreover it represents the BDP in the German Federal Youth Council and fosters the internal discussion on currently important topics in the field of youth politics. Today the BDP is one of the few youth associations whose principle is grassroots democracy and who are not subordinated to an adult organization. The BDP is engaged in a lot of different activities: ENVIRONMENT Being concerned about nature has always been a key element in our scout organization; outdoor experience has always been a part of our work. Today the growing environmental consciousness opens up a new critical access to nature and environmental conditions in general. Traditional approaches of scouting (camping out, nature-trails, protection of our natural environment, etc.) easily tie in with critical environmental activity. In this area we closely cooperate with citizens groups of the environmental movement regarding it as our special task to include children and young people into our work. We want to support children and young people in sharpening their view for a development that endangers both our and their future. With our seminars for apprentices and young workers (paid educational leave), summercamps and environmental scoutings we wish to contribute to the process of raising environmental consciousness among the young and to help them work out independent and informed attitudes concerning this subject.

NEIGHBOURHOOD CENTERS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE The BDP has supported youth centre initiatives organizationally, materially and with regard to the contents by seminars and the like throughout the history of self-controlled youth centres which has roughly started in 1970. During the last years the political struggles have shifted to local peace-initiatives, anti-nuke-groups, etc. Wherever there are or will be youth centre groups willing to create autonomy for themselves, the BDP will provide its support by the means it has at hand. POLITICAL SCOUTING Often enough we experience the culture of a foreign country merely as an exotic background of our vacation. Usually the fact remains concealed from our eyes, that this "foreigness" is in itself a result of historical development and stands in a certain political, social and economic context. "Political scouting" offers the opportunity to deal consciously with every-day-reality of a country. By that we do not mean a program to be presented and rolled off but, on the contrary, one that rests on the initiatives of the participants. This includes the time of preparation, when the basic questions are posed, as well as the time of travel, when the attempt is made to collect as much information as possible on life in a certain country by way of interviews with trade unions, political parties, various social institutions and young people.

"TRAILING" From 1979 on "trailing" has developed as a new emphasis of educational activities inside the BDP mainly in rural areas. By "trailing" we mean projects of local youth groups, by which the young people explore their hometown, detecting its changes and finally discussing their own experiences and perspectives their and beyond. The pictures, drawings, stories, thoughts and intentions, and the interviews with the natives are published as brochures and are sold in these towns and in the BDP offices.

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES Musical and artistic activities have also belonged to the BDP’s tradition. Besides numerous other theatre and play-courses the annual Theatre and Media Meeting on Waldeck Castle has become famous. Each year at Easter member of the BDP meet there being equipped with make-up, photo-, video- and film-cameras and they like to work on current topics or just to indulge in fancies.

CHILDREN- AND YOUTH-GROUPS According to the need of long-term and constant activities on the local level there are a growing number of self-organized youth-groups in the framework of the BDP, which get involved in various projects in their weekly meetings and spend their spare time together. But also children’s groups for the younger ones and day care centres for the youngest are organized by the BDP. Under care and control of unpaid staff children participate in all kinds of recreational activities, some of which are common shopping and cooking, ice-skating in winter, scouting in summer, playing theatre or building log-houses. ANTIMILITARISM Especially the Bundeswehr, the Federal Republic’s army, commonly perceived as the "school of the nation" runs counter to our ideas of self-determination on the job and in our lives. Therefore the BDP offers seminars on the Bundeswehr, conscientious objection and social defense. In our project area "peace work" we predominantly are busy with organizing seminars on "Service in the army or conscientious objection? Which path should I take?".

PUBLISHING The Verlag Jugend und Politik is another BDP-project. They do not merely publish books on the work of the BDP, but also theoretical texts being of imprtance to educators and social workers. Their program also encompasses texts written by young people.

BUILDINGS In Bremen more than 20 adults from the BDP work together with numerous young people in redeveloping a house ceded by the city. They are establishing a locksmith’s workshop, a carpenter’s shop, a kitchen, a print-shop, an office and various other rooms designed to be used by the young. The project which is currently being paid for by the employment office is planned to eventually become self-reliant. It will provide for all kinds of activities like music, theatre, in short: it will try to combine life, work and youth work with each other. In Neu-Anspach (Hessia) the BDP is rebuilding an old school which will eventually be a training centre for young people including an autonomous youth centre, space for seminars and lodging facilities for conferences and meetings, rooms for local BDP-groups and smaller workshops. The house will also be adapted to the needs of the handicapped. The construction firm responsible for the redevelopment has emerged from a BDP-project and works exclusively with biological building materials. 

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