Angela's Letter

To guides and scouts of today from a guide of 1970’s and a scouter of today,

“Wonder, imagination, happiness, adventure and so much to discover. The excitement of being totally immersed in surroundings and feeling at one with the trees, the flowers, the cold stream or the sea. Breathtaking, secret and time stands still”
That’s what I feel now when I am in nature wether it be local open spaces or in the wilder places less affected by human “progress” where you can almost touch a wild free spirit of the place
Encountering a wonder of nature such as watching an ant or studying a flower or looking at the pattern of the clouds or the feel of rain on my face i can be anywhere outdoors.
When I was young the roads weren’t crowded I walked and cycled and never imagined the safety tracking features of mobile phone or sat nav. Each season had its delights first strawberry, blackberry, winter frost and snow and snowdrops and long lazy summer days
Clothing and home comforts were different. My grandparents didn’t see the need for a fridge and it was a big deal for us getting central heating. In the winter you expected cold on the inside of the window.
My first guide camp was great and I have loved camping and waking up to the smell of grass ever since. When I was young girls couldn’t be scouts. When I became a leader in early 1990’s I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to share nature discoveries and adventures outdoors had so captured me as a child.

Change happens slowly and my younger guide self and even my younger leader self would not recognise much of modern life experienced by the scout and guide of today.

Some things are good more safety in adventurous activities and more formal protection of wild places. Having apps to help identify species and colour images on tv anytime and zoom the world is available as a tap on screen or button

But what isn’t there?
The variety of garden and local bird life. The loss of amphibians insects and especially butterflies and the fact that I rarely need to wash dead insects off my windscreen. The loss of connection with and understanding of the local environment young people and adults alike unaware of the location of local wild places and their connecting paths.

I am saddened when the names of very common birds trees or plants are not known. I feel sad for loss of community identity felt by many and that nature is not relevant to their busy lives.

I am heartened by the fact that the positive benefits to us as humans of being connected to respect and nurture our environment is now being championed that voices are being raised.

I see in young people the same emotional and mental uplift that nature can bring. My opening list of what nature means can be experienced by all especially if given a little help and opportunity.
The younger at heart can be 11 or 100, it just takes that connection with nature
I want to see nature in the curriculum as an integral part of education. I want to see individuals develop a sense of citizenship of the world and their community. So much could be taught, life skills, team working, attention to detail and research by involvement in local projects. Young people can be inspired and can inspire others to live better but need help to see this.

I want the scouts and guides of today and tomorrow to be numbered in the pioneers of saving our planet. In the 1990s we were told in a scout museum that most of the astronauts who walked on the moon and many famous people and leaders had been scouts. My hope is that we will now have pioneers who go to the edge of the known to save the world. That these individuals will value life in its fullness with respect and compassion and they will be curious and open to new voices and experiences
change is possible
The wild places are there even if threatened. These places need to be valued and shared by neighbours and friends.

Change happens
May you experience nature as I have

Written in love and hope

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