Short Speech at National Parks Societies Conference

A very busy day for me, travelling to Kendal from Whitehaven to start with. I walked to the National Park Authority head office where I met Clare, from the Campaign for National Parks. We spoke about some ideas for Mosaic and I offered to come through to Kendal and help her with some of the Mosaic activities. Then Clare drove me to Yorkshire for the National Park Societies annual conference.

Arriving at the Conniston hotel, Clare introuced me to Kabeer and Sarah from CNP and Tofeeq, another Champion with Mosaic. I was aware that Clare would be leaving soon but I was confident that I would find people to talk to, and I was right. Within minutes I was talking to different people from the National Park Authorities and other organizations. We had a three course meal and after it there were several speakers including Bill Mitchell explaining the reasons for this conference and some the politics affecting the National Parks Authority.

The next day we spent most of the day on visits. I joined the group visiting a quarry then going up a dale and finishing at a hostel for tea. We arrived at the Lafarge Tarmac quarry. We met the young employees who work there, who were once on a apprenticeship scheme, this reminded me of my apprenticeship.  Then we walked up a mountain, but the weather was very wet and cloudy so we all got soaked. I was so engrossed in talking to everyone on the walk I didn’t notice it until we got back to bus and I sat still, then I realised how numb my hands were from the cold. Next we went to the hostel and learned about the staff they employ, but we were so cold we weren’t taking it in as well as we could have.

Getting back to the hotel, I warmed up in a bath. I put my suit on and went down to the dinner hall to listen to more speeches. We had a nice talk from the hotel owner, telling us about the history of the venue and how he prides on employing young people.  Then we got a talk from two of the actors from a local film. One of the actors was very young and had good charisma about him!

While eating my dinner, Julian Woolford, the CNP Chief Executive, asked me to finish his speech tomorrow by giving a few words answering his question: “how can we get younger people involved with the national parks.” I was worried but I said I would do this. After the meal I started writing my answer. This was scary.

I woke up early from a bad dream, probably from being nervous on talking in front of everyone today. I went to have a quick breakfast then started going through the answer I had written for Julian’s question. Tofeeq, Kabeer and Sarah came and went though it with me, Kabeer mentored me through a good method of keeping calm before public speaking. I had got my final piece for the speech and I went through it with other young people there to see if they had any input. I printed it off and practised it several times with Tofeeq helping me, then realised that the talks had already begun.

There was a board of people including Kabeer taking and answering questions. After this we had a speech from MP Julian Smith, followed by a very inspiring talk from the man who managed to bring the tour de France to Yorkshire. Then Julian began his speech. I grasped my printed off answer I had made, and highlighted key words I wanted to pause on. This is my answer I had written:

I personally would involve young people in more discussions. Getting younger people to put their views forward and taking part in some of the decisions being made in the national parks.

Allot of organizations offer young people the opportunity to be pro-active outdoors in the national parks, but there are few that offer the chance to get involved in real decision making.

As a young Champion I have taken part in several different activities such as dry stone walling, boating on the lakes and micro-adventures. But I also enjoy taking part in planning activities with the national park authority.

What I mean by this is Different people have different interests. So just because I’m a young person doesn’t mean I don’t want to be involved with National Park authority.

I felt anxiety, my hands were sweating, I was shaking and my breathing was heavy. I got called up to give my answer to the audience. I was so nervous that I was going to fall over walking to the front. Julian hand me the microphone and I thanked him, he said to hold it right to my mouth so they could hear me clear but I think I stuttered and shook. I said what I needed to say and swiftly got applauded off. The conference concluded and I received some good feedback from some people.

I have really enjoyed the conference (even getting soaked through). At first I thought it would be very formal and posh, so I had in my head a plan of being very well spoken using words I wouldn’t such as ‘exacerbate’ ‘delegate’ and ‘intricate’ but then I thought they want me to be who I am, so I just said what I really felt and that is what they desired to hear. I met a lot of good people, and I came back home very inspired about National Parks.

Adam Philip-Phillips, Mosaic Champion, Lake District National Park