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Young people turn Cairngorms National Park into largest playground in Britain

13th November 2007

HUNDREDS of young people got to experience why the Cairngorms National Park is such a special place at a two-day youth conference last week.

Pupils from seven high schools in and around the Cairngorms National Park took part in the ‘Your Park, Your Future’ event, which took place at the Aviemore Highland Resort, Thursday November 8 and at Victoria Hall, Ballater, on Friday November 9. The event was organised by the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Aberdeenshire, Angus, Highland and Moray Councils.

The aim was to raise awareness and understanding of the special qualities of the Park amongst young people as well as to get them involved in the work and projects going on around the Park – which all help to meet the Park’s third aim ‘to promote understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the area by the public’.

Around 350 youngsters from Kingussie High, Grantown Grammar, Speyside High, Aboyne Academy, Alford Academy, Brechin High and Websters High attended and enjoyed a range of activities including archery, climbing and mountain biking. There were also education workshops looking at your ecological footprint and how photography, dance and song can bring culture and natural heritage together.

There was a competitive, but fun edge to the days as well with a Battle of the Bands, an inter-school quiz and Dragons Glen, where the youngsters got to show off their entrepreneurial flair.

David Green, the CNPA’s Convener, said “It was wonderful that so many young people took part in this event. They represent the future of the Park and therefore it is vital that they not only understand what makes the Park so special, but that they get involved in that work as well.

“This was a fun event, which allowed many organisations working in the Park to engage with young people as well as help them learn new skills.”

Bruce Robertson is Director of Education, Learning and Leisure for Aberdeenshire Council, said: “It is essential that young people help drive the direction of the Cairngorm National Park and it was with this in mind that I encouraged them to make best use of the day. It was great to see young people from a range of schools and council areas work together and provide advice to the Park Authority.”