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Richard Schirrmann

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Richard Schirrmann (May 15, 1874-Dec. 14, 1961) was a German school teacher and the first youth hosteller. He initially had the idea of inexpensive accommodation for young people after noticing the lack of such places while on a school field trip where they stayed in barns and village school buildings.

The outbreak of WWI and his involvement greatly impacted his outlook on world affairs. Mr. Schirrmann served four years with the German army and the Christmas truce between the French and German troops in 1915 left him pondering whether ?thoughtful young people of all countries could be provided with suitable meeting places where they could get to know each other.?

Having a clear vision, he was tenacious in the pursuit of the establishment of youth hostels. The first youth hostel was in Altena Castle and in 1919 he founded, in Germany, a nationwide youth hostel association. He eventually left his teaching career to focus on hostelling. Having the capacity for transmitting to others the enthusiasm which inspired him, an International Youth Hostelling Association formed. From 1933-1936 Richard Schirrmann held the chair position until forced to resign by the Nazi government. After WWII, he worked on the rebuilding of the German association which earned him the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Cross of Merit) in 1952.

His vision of a service and his ability to see beyond hardships helped this extraordinary man inspire others so that a local idea progressed into an international movement that we, as Hostelling International in Canada, are committed to carrying on.

The Richard Schirrmann Award is presented to the Association of the Year, one which demonstrates inspiration, vision and progress as measured by the following criteria: 

  • Advancement of the Hostelling International Brand through local improvement and growth within the Four Core Activities
  • Development of initiatives promoting HI-C's Environmental Charter 
  • Participation and support of National and International programs and strategies 
  • Commitment to the mission through actions such as Public Education and Volunteer Development 
  • A cohesive and complying network of affiliate hostels 

Support from communities within the region

Regions in good standing are eligible and the Regions will submit their candidacies for the 12 month period ending at March 31 (not all would automatically be considered by the Jury).

The award recipient will get a plaque and a mention on the HI-C website. This Award shall be presented annually by the President of HI-Canada or his/her representative.

At the Jury's discretion this award may not be bestowed every year.


2014 - HI-C Pacific Mountain Region
2010 - Pacific Mountain
2009 - Maritimes
2008 - Pacific Mountain
2008 - St-Laurent
2007 - Ontario East
2006 - Pacific Mountain
2005 - Nova Scotia
2004 - Northern Alberta
2003 - Manitoba
2002 - Ontario East
2001 - British Columbia
2000 - Southern Alberta
1999 - British Columbia
1998 - Southern Alberta
1993 - Northern Alberta
1992 - Tourisme Jeunesse
1989 - Great Lakes

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