Written by Laura Thornton
Last October, I was fortunate enough to be given the position of the Youth Forum Member for the Beach Rangers project (to help the lovely Adele). After moving down to Newquay from Lincolnshire, to start my degree in Wildlife Education and Media, I started completing my bronze award along-side my studies and instantly fell in love with being outside in the marine environment. Although I have always been a lover of the sea, it wasn’t until I got involved with Beach Rangers and all the activities they’ve put me forward for that I truly got to appreciate the beauty of living in a coastal town. My experience with the project is still at the beginning, but it is clear to me it’s something I am extremely passionate about.
It wasn’t until the morning of my flight to Manchester for the Annual Youth Forum meet-up that I truly got to sit down and talk to Adele. Unfortunately, our hour flight was canceled due to the horrific weather condition (thank you global warming) and we ended up getting a 7-hour coach, with no toilet – if you know me and Adele, you will be able to picture the looks on our faces when we found out. Fortunately, this gave me an opportunity to really get to know the passionate, kind interesting woman in which I am sharing the role with. From the minute we started talking about food, our lifestyles and hobbies, I knew that it was going to be an amazing couple of days.
When we got to the conference, my excitement was amplified, when I realised I was in a room with so many people, just like me and Adele, so eager to talk about their projects and all the amazing things they do. It was a day of meeting new people, making new friends and being totally, utterly and completely inspired. We started off the day with a range of nature inspired activities, which gave us the opportunity to get to know one another and hear about the successes and ambitions of the projects. We then had the pleasure of hearing some amazing people from the conservation world who inspired us, with words of how we can make a difference, and how our love for the environment and perseverance can create something special. We spoke about how together, we can make our voices heard and what we need to do to reach out and get everyone involved in the ever so important movement of saving our planet. Being in a room of people so driven and motivated is an epic feeling. We used this drive, to think about what we were going to say to our MP’s at the Parliamentary Reception. With the help of a Member of Parliament and Friends of the Earth, we started thinking about what we wanted to say when we were faced without MP’s. We all spoke about the key changes we wanted to make, and with the reassurance from the inspirational people running the event, we smashed out some amazing speeches, ready to inspire our MP’s. The day ended with an army of activated, loving, well fed project representative, ready to take on Parliament and a future in conservation.
Time flew by, and the day came of the Parliamentary Reception which I attended with Beach Rangers Academy Leader Brender. The morning was spent partaking in a very informative and pleasing tour of Parliament, in which I learnt a lot about what goes on in the beautiful buildings, and the history of how the Government came to be. Then, after a quick briefing, we headed to the Reception to start the event. Again, the energy was high, everyone was so excited to get a chance to talk to the people in power. Although we all have a chance to make a difference in our community, it’s not every day you get to talk to Member of Parliament about what you’re passionate about, so having so many MP’s, there to listen to you was an outstanding opportunity, one that I did not take for granted. I personally got to talk to 3 MP’s (one of which is North Cornwall’s) about the difference the project is making, as well as their opinions and efforts on all conservation issues. It was an enlightening day, in which I developed a sense of appreciation for all the amazing people that want to see a change in the environment and communities, and I hope I had a similar impact on the MP’s.
I have been the Youth Forum Representative for less than 6 months and have already been presented with opportunities I never thought I would have. It has allowed me to be part of a community of like-minded, inspiring people but something much bigger than that too. It has reminded me that everything I do helps and that we all need to carry on making a difference, together – because we are smashing it, and the world needs the caring, influential and strong people that we are.