In June 1972, the youth farm association Möhringen was founded. A handful of committed people built the place – and showed great foresight in the process.
For many girls and boys, it is paradise, a piece of freedom, a place where they can be children. And that was exactly what the founders of the youth center were looking for 50 years ago: “Where and how should children play today? The residential towns are well organized. Every square meter is built on, planed or fenced in, ”they wrote in a magazine published in the late 1970s, recounting their experiences after seven years on the farm. In addition, from the beginning it was also about what is now called inclusion: about coexistence between people with and without disabilities. To this day, the collaboration with the Hengstäcker special school center and the healing riding festival is part of the concept.
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Marion Kalka is still impressed and grateful for what the basic generation achieved at the time. A handful of people built the farm on a voluntary basis and acted so solidly and foresighted at the time that almost nothing has changed to this day. “It was a good concept from the start,” says the farm worker.
The team spirit on the farm is amazing
In the early 1970s, Erika Deringer got the idea to found a youth farm in Haldenwies. At that time she was active on Elsental youth farm, the very first youth farm. Together with the pastor Jörg Zink, she continued the project. In July 1972 – almost 50 years ago – they founded the association. The farmhouse has existed since 1973, the riding hall since 1975 and the workshop since 1978. From the very beginning, the craft was of great importance at Möhringen youth farm. To this day, this means that just over 50 percent of the visitors are boys. This is not the case in places where the focus is primarily on the animal area.
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Marion Kalka has followed the history of the youth farm from the very beginning. She was 16 when it was founded and came to the place because of the horses. But soon they would not have been so much in the foreground. “It was just amazing to see how a group of people had an idea and just implemented it. It shaped me, she says. To this day, the team spirit on the farm is great. Not only many families came to the festival in mid-May. , but also many alumni.And Erika Heyl, who also belongs to the founding generation, was there and sat on the terrace by her spinning wheel.
The demand for mandatory care has increased
But one thing and another has changed, for example with the expansion of full-time schools. Because if children also spend the afternoon at school, they have significantly less time to get to the farm. In addition, the question of compulsory childcare offers has increased – many parents today are too insecure that their children come and go as they please, as is provided for in the concept of open youth work.
Read from our offer: The lunch table is in great demand
The youth farm team responded by continuously expanding the lunch menu. This means that the children come to the farm to eat, then they can do their homework, and then they have time to play. In addition, the team offers “Gården for morgenister” during the holidays, where the children are looked after in the early afternoon.
How Corona has changed the work
There followed a cut with Corona. The farm was also closed during the closure. The employees spent the time on renovation projects. But the children were missing. “With the relaxation, we have always tried to get as many children as possible on the field,” says Marion Kalka. But it was different than before. The children had to be registered, the gate had to be closed again and again and fixed groups and distances had to be kept in place. The obstacle to getting to the farm was higher. “I think we also lost children in these phases,” says Marion Kalka. On the other hand, the gratitude of parents and children was felt at this time. The importance of freedom on the farm increased during the shutdown period caused by the pandemic.
For the future, Marion Kalka hopes that the open concept continues and that “the farm will not suddenly offer courses”. Thomas Lang, also a long-term employee of the youth farm, adds: “The elementary experiences with crafts and nature that children can have on the farm are something invaluable in our increasingly digital world.” He hopes there will always be people who do the same, consider it important and support the farm. By that he means not only policy makers in politics and administration, but also parents who sign up very voluntarily, especially if they are involved in the farm association’s board. “We are very grateful for that,” says Marion Kalka.
A place of joy, but also of sorrow
The farm club celebrates its 50th anniversary on July 24 with a blues brunch. It will be the official farewell party for Marion Kalka and Thomas Lang. You retire after many years of full-time work on the field.
The team still has vacancies for the Federal Volunteer Service. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
People did not always laugh at today’s farm on Balinger Straße 111. During National Socialism, it was a prisoner of war camp. Seven Soviet forced laborers died who were officially considered “unwanted” as a result of lack of care. Seven stumbling blocks in front of the large courtyard gate have reminded them of them since 2017.