A "decent" one job he had, back then in coburg. But he was no longer any good. So the then 23-year-old changed his mind, quit his job as a tax official, completed his vocational baccalaureate and studied social pedagogy. Because numbers don't give you anything back. But people have always been close to hartmut stiller's heart. He came to kitzingen in 1978 as a district youth worker – and stayed on. "When I came, I knew no one. But kitzingen has become my home." Today, the man who not only practiced his profession, but lived it, is retiring after 34 years of service.
The need was great
"I actually wanted to return to coburg after my studies. But there was no vacancy in youth work there", reports the 63-year-old. He applied for a job in the district of kitzingen – and was accepted. The need was there: stiller remembers that young people approached him even before he took up the job. "Somehow it became known that I would be hired – they contacted me before I even had an apartment in kitzingen."
As a future district youth worker, he naturally already had an open ear for the concerns of young people – and was to achieve many things in the following years. Because youth work outside of clubs and associations was virtually non-existent. "Only the evangelical youth deacon did full-time open youth work. That was it." For example, stiller introduced the vacation pass at the district level, built up open youth work and made a strong case for it not being seen as competition to associations and unions. "It was supposed to be a supplementary offer."
1980 opened under his cooperation the youth house in the schrannenstrabe – as also in the whole district smaller and coarser youth houses arose. "Today, there is open youth work with full-time social workers almost everywhere: iphofen, marktbreit, dettelbach. Today's young people have really good starting points there." And where there are no full-time employees, there is usually at least a center run by the youth themselves, which is open to everyone. "Youth work today is at a very high level."
In the course of this whole development, stiller became chairman of the district youth association in the mid-1980s, representing the interests of all young people in the district. "Together we started the schwanberg youth forum, which still exists today." The social pedagogue also initiated the still practiced international exchanges with partner cities.
At some point, however, the point came when stiller preferred to hand over youth work to younger people. "I was already in my mid-40s and didn't want to do this until I retired."
In 1995, the position of a specialist area manager in the social department became vacant. "I made a seamless transition to working with seniors – I skipped middle age", says stiller with a smile. But disabled people, the socially disadvantaged and emigrants were also part of his
clientele. In the years that followed, he also introduced "senior citizens' representatives" in the district municipalities. "Like the youth representatives – who already existed at that time – there should be a contact person for the seniors on the spot as well." Stiller launched the senior citizens' weeks and, in cooperation with the vdk, the annual event for the handicapped in geiselwind.
New office from 2007
In 2007, the office for seniors' issues was created at the district office, which sees itself as a point of contact and advice for older citizens. Since the same year, the district has been working on an overall concept for senior citizens' policy. By this the pfflegebedarsfplanung is to be continued and an old-age assistance planning is to be decided.
In the last years stiller was also responsible for the honorary office. Fitting for someone who has always been involved himself and is still politically and socially active today – his local and district chairmanship of the vdk and his place as a CSU city councilor are just a few examples. In this area, he helped prepare the introduction of the coordination office for civic engagement as well as the bavarian honorary service card. He also took care of the self-help and helper groups by organizing events for the exchange of experiences and further training courses.
No job as an "old godfather
In all that time, he has worked under three different county commissioners and with countless colleagues. "I had a good relationship with everyone and the bosses always had an open ear for suggestions and concerns." It says a lot that he was asked if he would like to continue supporting the district office on a 400-euro basis. Although stiller's versatile profession has always made him spab, he refused to do so. "I don't want my successor to have an 'old godfather' breathing down his neck telling him how it's done. He is to pursue his own goals and ideas."
Besides, stiller wants to be free to pursue his many interests. "I'm certainly not going to fall into a hole – on the contrary, I'm looking forward to what's to come." His honorary posts, but also his love of travel – which he is now making his business: from the end of november, he will be on the road again and again as a travel guide for the vdk and for a tour operator – will prevent him from doing so. "I have always loved to travel. I am fulfilling a kind of lifelong dream with this."
A new wind should blow quietly in the office after him. New ideas and thoughts are important – especially in the social sector, where demographic change is causing a lot of upheaval. "Seniors are a growing target group with their own problems and needs." Of course, one should not lose sight of the youth – although a lot has already been done here in the last 30 years. "Youth work is just as important – even if, or precisely because, there are always problems in the process." But where is there not?
Silent woman that his work is well continued and therefore also gladly lets go. "The sustainability of what I have done and the interaction with people – that is what has been most important to me in my professional life." His advice for success: see all competitors and clients as partners and value them as people. "Because without the help of others you are nothing at all."
Longtime county employee officially leaves at the end of the month. But with time off and overtime, he's already getting used to retirement – which is sure to be just as exciting for hartmut stiller as his professional life.