Despite being borderline unpronounceable, Gerlev Idrætshøjskole is a special place. It is one of a number of ‘folk high schools‘ across Denmark that offer non-formal, adult education, providing a stepping stone for young people as they progress from the pressures of high school towards a world of jobs and universities. It’s where those new to adulthood go in order to find out what they want to do, or at least spend time constructively in anticipation of those decisions presenting themselves more clearly.
Once a year, Street Movement brings around twenty parkour-enthused teenagers to visit Gerlev for 3 nights. These 12 to 17-year-olds gain a taste of højskole and experience the incredible parkour facilities that have long established Gerlev as one of the best training locations in the world.
The focus of this visit is not just for the participants to develop as athletes, but also to develop as people, gaining a knowledge of themselves and the world – what it means to take responsibility for oneself and one’s decisions. Danish culture seems to realise the importance of this progression from childhood, encouraging this coming of age whilst retaining a youthful sense of play and adventure.
Anyone can go to Gerlev in order to study the importance of playing, fighting and dancing. I highly recommend it. To learn more, you may want to attend the annual International Gathering (16th to 22nd July), one of the highlights of the parkour calendar. See you there!