My name is Massimo Giannuzzi
I heard about the “job that will change my life” through Facebook (Mark Sears and Laurie Wolf posted it through the ‘WildWise and Schumacher College – Call of The Wild’ Facebook group)
Why do kids need more wild time?
There are so many answers to this, of course: scientific, researched, common sense, theoretical, educational, developmental.
But the reasons that feel most important for me arise when I watch children (and adults) outside.
The lack of boundaries, the self-challenges, the improvisation, the exploration of the world and themselves – all of which show up in their faces and their energy, the way they lose themselves and any sense of time in their surroundings and the way they can remain occupied for hours on end.
Parents can spend so much money on toys, educational tools, child minders, entertainment, etc. – but put children outdoors and they make their own entertainment and learning – and for hours and even days! Nature – the ultimate, ever-changing playroom!
What can I do about it?
Over the past few years it’s become clear to me that the things I feel most passionate about are the planet …
(always good to start small I feel 😉 )
and how much kids and adults seem to get from being connected to nature and the outdoors – be it camping, sports, gardening, bird watching etc.
And in my mind supporting the latter is one way of having people care about the former.
And I feel that this post matches my skills and interests perfectly – networking, communication, technology, creativity and, of course, the outdoors.
Some background information
I first heard of your organisation at the Wilderness festival in 2013 where David Bond talked about his inspiration for the film ‘Project Wild Thing’ and the ideas behind it.
I have worked in IT for over 30 years (programmer, analyst, trainer and most recently designer of database systems). In the last 15 years I have run my own company ITsorted.
5 years ago I decided to move away from the technical world and, while looking for something, was asked to join a forward thinking, local funeral company – Heart & Soul Funerals (that also provides training courses nationally). I trained as a funeral director and, during a couple of months of illness for my bosses, managed and run the company, pulling together a small team to support me. During this time I coordinated setting up their new website, revamped 3 Facebook sites, introduced a database, Dropbox, Google groups (as a peer-support mechanism for our graduates) as well as many other internal systems.
However, my passion for the outdoors and getting people reconnected to nature continued to grow over this period …
My involvement with the “Wild”
In 2014 I attended the year-long foundation course in outdoor education leadership – Call of the Wild – with WildWise and Schumacher College.
I have since done some work with WildWise, the outdoor organisation that Mark shares an office with in Devon (I happen to live 5 miles away). This included helping to get their new web site designed and running and improving their online booking and payment systems.
I have been on the managing committee for a Men and Boys’ camp, Manifest, held annually on Dartmoor and in its 21st year.
Other relevant projects
Over the last 10 years I have been involved in various projects such as:
- Trustee on the board of a local charity (Sustainable South Brent) and founder of a communications group. During my time I transformed the charity’s communications and newsletter, introduced e-bulletins and organised community film shows
An example of one of the newsletters
- Setting up a small marketing group for a successful bid for a community wind turbine
- A Coaching Diploma
- Organising and leading local, funded, community computer awareness sessions
Some of my ideas
I wasn’t sure whether you were specifically asking for ideas that applicants might have (“Send Natalie an email telling her … what you can do about it”). If you were, while I am very aware that you and Mark have been immersed in this area for a long time and I am relatively new to it, here are some initial thoughts:
- Raising confidence (particularly for parents) in that gap between ‘camp site camping’ and ‘wild camping’: I have no immediate answers, but feel this could be a useful focus/question.
- A Blog by a ‘beginner’ wild camper: as they go on basic courses, discover stuff, have adventures, make mistakes, pass on the advice they get from others. I feel that this might be more accessible and relatable than some of the ‘expert’ blogs
- A national Outdoor Badge system: where kids and adults can earn ‘badges’ in various areas (like the Scouts and Guides badges).
- This would be an online system, so you can see what badges you’ve earned and which still to earn. And you’d also see what you could expect to do with that badge – e.g. spend the night out wild camping, help others light a fire or cross a river (health and safety issues arise, as ever 🙁 )
- The key benefits would be: to encourage people to collect more skills and experiences; and to instil in people a degree of confidence that they have been recognised as being able to do certain things and perhaps help others
- Organisations across the country would be able to award people these (based simply on their having attended a course in order to keep admin simple)
- Identifying Local Champions: people who have access to skills, resources, confidence
- Identifying and disseminating what works: there are so many organisations, individuals and agencies out there doing this work, there must be plenty of great success stories to share
Within all of this, I am acutely aware of the importance of partnership and of learning from people who have already been doing this work for years.