With Strong Enthusiasm

The idea of the ShapePark goes back to 2008. When Guido Guth’s close friend Steven Karger died at the young age of 49, Guido wanted to remember Steven with more than just thoughts. Steven loved sports and Israel, although he lived in Switzerland. And Steven was a very community-oriented person, who liked to do good to help society.

Guido always shared Steven’s values, and one day as he was running through the Swiss woods, an idea came to mind. Why not bring the Swiss Vitaparcours to Israel in memory of Steven? It would be marvelous to do sports in the outdoors, enjoy nature, and benefit your entire body – free for everyone!

An idea born in Switzerland

In Switzerland, there is a ZURICH vitaparcours buzzing with activity in practically every community with nearby woodland. The trails are used by amateur sportspeople and families as well as professional athletes. Today, there are over 500 fitness trails in Switzerland. The very first Vitaparcours started with a group of men tired of training in stuffy gyms. They shifted their training sessions to the woodland, making use of natural obstacles such as fallen tree trunks and stumps. Eventually, the community approved turning this into a permanent trail with natural obstacles and make it accessible to everyone. The sponsor for this project was the insurance company called Vita (now known as Zürich Insurance), hence the name Vita Parcours.

As Guido delved further into the idea and what it would take to make the dream a reality, he realized it was a rather complex project that would require the support and assistance of different people…

Shape Park Timeline
  • January 2012

    The initial idea: Inspired by the greenXchange project from JNF-KKL Germany, Guido Guth suggests a new kind of project to the JNF-KKL: to establish recreation areas in nature that are in walking distance of cities like Kfar Saba and include fitness and bike trails.

  • May 2012

    With the support of JNF-KKL, Guido Guth proposes a fitness trail with lots of trees to the municipality of Kfar Saba.

  • June 2012

    Kfar Saba approves the project in the new Green neighborhood of Park 80. Its managing director Eshel Arnoni takes a personal interest in the project.

  • Feb - Mar 2013

    The Swiss VITA Parcours Foundation approves the translation of the instruction signs.

    Translation and redesign of the instruction signs are made possible by ISTRA TradeLink Ltd.

  • April 2013

    A 40-page construction manual is developed in Hebrew by ISTRA TradeLink Ltd. It is based on the Swiss manual kindly provided and supported by the VITA Parcours Foundation.

  • August 2013

    The Hebrew instruction boards are produced by Rutschi AG, Zürich, Switzerland.

  • August 2013

    The fitness stations are produced in Switzerland by the Zurich Vitaparcours equipment manufacturer Bürli Spiel- und Sportgeräte AG.

  • October 2013

    The fitness stations and instruction signs arrive from Switzerland.

  • Oct 2013 - Mar 2014

    The Kfar Saba Economic Development Company builds the trail and fitness stations according to the specifications manual with local construction companies.

  • April 2014

    The Standards Institution of Israel approves the fitness stations as compliant with safety regulations.

  • May 2014

    The opening ceremony is held with the Swiss Ambassador to Israel, H.E. Dr. Andreas Baum, the deputy mayor of Kfar Saba, Zvika Zarfati, and the donors Thomas, Yvette, and Gabriella Karger.

  • From May 2014

    Weekly group trainings for all ages and fitness levels are made possible, first by ISTRA TradeLink Ltd., then by the NGO ShapePark Assoc, (R.A.), its donors, and supporters.

  • November 2016

    Thanks to the sponsorship of Danel Motors – Toyota, the Shape Park is promoted in the city of Kfar Saba.

  • November 2016

    An additional donation by Thomas and Yvette Karger enables the enhancement of the ShapePark with lighting, trees, recreation areas, and drinking fountains.

  • Feb - Apr 2017

    Lights are built along the entire trail, and an irrigation infrastructure is set up with planted trees.

  • October 2017

    To honor the support of Yvette and Thomas Karger, Guido Guth engages local artist Nitzan Avidor to build a statue.

  • May 2017

    A ceremony celebrates the enhancement of the ShapePark,  honoring Yvette and Thomas Karger and Guido Guth. More than 400 guests join the mayor of Kfar Saba, Zvika Zarfati, the Swiss Ambassador to Israel, H.E. Jean-Daniel Ruch, and Yvette, Thomas, Gaby, and Shay Karger .

  • January 2019

    JNF-KKL Germany supports the enhancement project by Yvette and Thomas Karger and plants a significant number of additional trees along the trail.

  • February 2019

    Hundreds of people enjoy the ShapePark during the day and night.

The ShapePark, as it exists today, is possible only thanks to the generous support of public and private institutions and donors (see Acknowledgements).