Those of you that know me and follow my blog will know that I have a passion for nature and that I try to spread the word and encourage other young people to appreciate and care for it too. I didn’t really think of it this way but a lot of what I do is social action, doing something to help make a difference, to improve society in some way, without seeking anything in return.
Well that is just what a group called Step up to Serve are interested in and they run a campaign called #IWill which is all about encouraging social action in young people. After an article in New Nature on the theme of “I can’t vote but I can make a difference” the #IWill team told me about the 2018 Ambassador programme which this year is themed around environmental action. It sounded like a brilliant programme with lots of opportunities so of course I had to apply but didn’t expect I’d be chosen as it was bound to be popular.
A few of us already involved with environmental socialaction got to meet and have a photo with Lord Gardinerof Kimble Despite my pessimism I did get selected! And better still, the #IWill event to tell the new ambassadors the news was to be held at Kew Gardens. To say I was pleased, excited, over the moon, chuffed – what ever the words you use it would probably still be an understatement.We made social action pledges on a pledge tree I’d read up about the campaign and the previous ambassadors but didn’t really know what to expect from the day. Dad came with me and we turned up at Kew just as it was starting to get busy. The event was in a lovely building, the Nash Conservatory. I’d taken my camera of course to record the day, and I was able to put it to good use. In fact as the official photographer was late I had a little job to do to try and capture a few informal shots of the event.We had workshops to help us Raise our Voice -here I worked with Princess & Yetunde There were 50 ambassadors and the day was all about celebrating the things we had done, showing how important social action is and helping us to think about how we can build on what we’ve done and be role models to encourage more young people to get involved. There were some amazing speakers. The day was hosted by former #IWill Ambassadors Ceylon Hickman and Tom McEachan and we had some fantastic speakers mixed in with workshops and discussions all designed to help us to promote social action and help inspire others.I got to work with lots of passionate young people – here’s Shahid I really enjoyed learning about Kew’s @GrowWildUk project from Tim Owen, I hope I’ll be able to get more involved with this and the things they are trying to achieve. There was an awesome talk by Antony Bennett talking us through his journey. It could have been really sad, he’d had a really tough time with his health when he was young but the story was focused on how he viewed the world differently after his problems and how he started saying yes to opportunities and how from that great things have happened. He has been engaged in some great social action work and helped raised lots of funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital who cared for him when he was really, really ill.There were a few familiar faces – but being behind the camera Imissed my chance to say hi to Rob McFarlane! Workshops, networking and discussions filled the rest of the day. Through it I got to meet, talk with and start friendships with a really great bunch of passionate people. The range of things young people are doing is incredible and it just goes to show that as I said at the beginning you don’t need a vote to be able to make a difference! It was great to meet up with someone I know as well, I was glad to hear Dara McAnulty was a fellow #IWill ambassador. Great to catch up with him and hear him recite a social action poem he’d written, such an incredible talent with words!I hope I’m well on the way with this now. This is a shot from my workshop which was about “Raising Your Voice” and I had some actions to follow up on. Well, I hope this blog contributes to the first one! The second one, well I had my camera in hand through the day and I hope some of the images here you’ll be seeing a lot more of. Of course I’ll be doing more on these points but the third point I’ll have to work on with a few organisations I know, but if any of you reading this want to help out and enable a twitter take over based on youth social action please let me know.
All in all what an incredible day. Such a positive, inspiring group of people. I am very proud to be an #IWill Ambassador and look forward to #AYearofGreenAction – #IWill4Nature!!
Look out for more on this through 2019. I think it’s going to be a really interesting year!
Hope you enjoyed,