Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Camp Avalon - Making it diverse

Camp Avalon - A camp for any teenager

I was quite happy with how the planning for Camp Avalon was going, with bookings coming in at a steady pace. I had already  decided with Mum that if we had 10 young people for the first year, that would be ideal, so that we could iron out any issues without too many people being there.

Then we could aim for a bigger and better Camp Avalon for 2016.

David Lindo The Urban Birder
Photograph courtesy of The Urban Birder website

Then, I read an article written by Britain's only prominent black birder, David Lindo 'The Urban Birder' in the American Birding Association (ABA) Magazine about getting ethnic minority young people into nature and birds by taking them out and 'opening the door to nature' for them.  This made so much sense.  

Read more from David http://theurbanbirder.com/

As the pretty much only ethnic minority young birder that I knew of, I realised that I had a responsibility to try and do something.  I could be that person who opened the door for other young people so that they could walk in and connect with nature.

ABA Magazine, May 2015
Photograph courtesy ABA

I sent an e-mail to all our Afro Caribbean family and friends and to all my Asian family and friends with teenagers.  I knew that they would 'so' not be coming.

The response was silence.

Then I talked to a couple of people about what I could do.  I spoke to organisations who I could work with next year, I could have a stand at a Bristol Multi-Faith Forum conference about nature and health benefits and target groups providing  weekend schooling to children from deprived families.  We would need to set up a charity to raise money to fund free places for teenagers and parents.  Also, our camp was during Ramadan for Muslims, excluding a whole section of society. The was the first barrier to overcome for next year.

What about this year?  I managed to persuade 3 Asian brothers aged 12, 14 and 16 to come and a friend who is a Afro-Caribbean Minister found two Afro-Caribbean 14/15 year old friends from St Paul's who would come.  None of these boys had camped or engaged with nature in any way.  

I had no idea how tough it was going to be for them or us, but the results were amazing and moving....

Read more about Camp Avalon.

About the Writer

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig 

Mya-Rose Craig is a 12 year old young birder, conservationist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She is looking forward to going Mountain Gorilla Trekking in East Africa in the summer and watching Penguins in Antarctica in December 2015, which will be her 7th continent. She has recently been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter

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