Basecamp is an annual gathering of activists organised by Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland (EWNI) held in Castleton, Derbyshire. This year we were joined by FoE campaigners from around Europe and I enjoyed getting to know them. I arrived quite late Friday night and celebrated the end of this year’s university exams by joining the rest of the BFoE volunteers for a drink and dance.
There is always so much to do that it’s hard to choose which workshops to go to. On the Saturday after catching up with campaigners from around Europe I went to a session about how to tell a good story. I found this session really helpful in brushing up my media skills and I’m hoping to run this session at one of our Monday meetings! After a quick lunch I went to different sessions including a workshop on how to have effective 1-2-1s, a session on facilitation techniques and finished the day with a workshop on lobbying.
The highlight of Basecamp is always the Earthmover awards, which took place on Saturday night. We celebrated the achievements of FoE groups and affiliated groups. I was very proud that The Warehouse received a lifetime achievement award for being the home to many environmental, social justice and community groups over the past 40 years. The BFoE Lockups team were also celebrated for their hard work in raising vital funds for BFoE by running phone charging and secure lockups at festivals.
I started Sunday with a nice walk into Castleton and I’m always swept away by the beauty of the area. After a hearty breakfast I went to my first workshop of the day, ‘Creating a Buzz’. The Bee Cause is a campaign which I’m very passionate about and I had been looking forward to meeting members of FoE’s bee team. Sadly I didn’t get a chance to speak to their bee expert!
Next I tried out my acting skills at the Forum Theatre session. In groups we acted out a scenario in which a person was oppressed. In a lot of sessions I went to over the weekend we about spoke the different forms of oppression and this has made me think about the way I interact with other people.
My time at Basecamp flew by and before I knew it, it was time for the closing talks and group solidarity photos. Basecamp had once again been inspiring and restorative.