I live in the past as much as in the present so when CEO Godfrey asked me to do a writeup on the last ten years at Brathay, ‘SIXTY INTO SEVENTY’ as I labelled it, I knew I had plenty to go on.
I could look into the foundations of the place, and build on those Sixty years of progress.
But writing about BRATHAY NOW, ten years further on, is quite a challenge. Here am I, six months into my work (part time) and surrounded by masses of papers listing their schemes, initiatives, projects, reports and celebrations. Ask for an Annual Report and what do you get? A great sheet splashed with a kaleidoscope of landmarks, comments, tributes and statistics.
“Sort that lot out”, says Godfrey. But I give up. In terms of activities there are so many different threads that I could write about that I would need another book to do them justice. And having written A BROAD RIVER* covering the first sixty years, I am not into rewriting a book.
But does it need a re-write? No, since underneath all that is going on we shall find the same foundations. Summed up in two words: PEOPLE MATTER.
So, I will not spend the next ten pages describing the myriad ways in which we show how people (of all ages) matter. Rather, I will first of all refer you to the other blogs, written by staff, which describe things far better than me, and second, give you, in the coming months an archivist’s view of some of the work that has developed in the last ten years.
I said that I live in the past, and this sometimes puts me on a different wavelength to those hundred or so busy people who now run Brathay and are forever thinking up something new. Here is in an incident that happened today. The scene: a wooded knoll in the Brathay grounds. Sound of a chain saw. I thrash my way through the undergrowth to see what they are up to. “We’re making a clearing for in-the-woods activity. Camp fires and all that”. (Baden Powell would have been delighted.) I told them that, to my knowledge, that knoll had been unvisited for about 40 years. I pointed out a small piece of domestic archaeology: the remains of a field experiment left there 30 years ago in 1986 by the Brathay Field Study Centre. That particular initiative has long gone. But I guess that the pioneer work done there, like so much that happens at Brathay, set a pattern that many others have since followed.
So, the past links to the present, and while many of today’s activities are new (Brathay is always inventing) there is always a link to the foundation beliefs that, whatever then activity, it is run in order to enable people live fuller and more useful creative live.
* The book "A Broad River" - 60 years in the life of Brathay, is available to buy, with all proceeds going to Brathay. To purchase, please call us on 015394 33041.