Change has been on my mind this week. Last week was the end of term and the end of our son’s time at primary school. I’ve found myself wondering where those seven years went. Reminiscing over the lost years and feeling nervous for the future. To be honest, this has much more to do with me than our son and how he’s feeling. He is taking it all in his stride. Can’t wait to get on with the next stage! In fact, his ‘reflection’ read out at the leavers’ church service was rather like a resignation letter. For me, it just feels like another step closer to old age.
I went to the same school and during the service an award was presented in the name of my first teacher there. The Headmistress, in telling the story of the award, wondered aloud how long ago it was that this lady had taught there. To my complete horror it was over forty years! Where did all those years go?!
School is definitely a place where change is constant. But so too is the heritage movement. We may often be seen as yearning for a nostalgic past, unable to cope with the reality of today (see above!). And yet, our work is as much about the future as the past. National Trusts have an important role to play in shaping the future of our diverse communities. David Brown, a former INTO Trustee from the National Trust of Historic Preservation, wrote an excellent series of blogs about this.
This week, I met the Swindon volunteer team to fill them in on the meeting in New York. We took the opportunity to connect with the new NTEWNI Director of Volunteering, Participation and Inclusion. It was great to learn about his priorities and to hear how INTO could input into those. He was particularly interested in the fact that many INTO member organisations are more closely aligned to the original social purposes of the National Trust movement than perhaps the NTEWNI is now. Great to think that INTO might be able to help answer the question: “What would the National Trust look like today if it hadn’t been given all those large country houses in the 1940s?!”. He was also keen to learn from more volunteer-run organisations, like some of our INTO members.
On Tuesday, I met the President of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, Mark McDonald and his wife Carmie. It was fascinating to hear more about their work and plans for the future. Later that day I also met a possible new INTO volunteer. In the evening, I went to the opening of the exhibition “The Frontiers of the Roman Empire”. This project focuses on the World Heritage Site which now connects communities across Europe. The central message being “what joins us is greater than what divides us”.
The rest of the week involved more preparation for our own EU Project, sorting out invitees to a lecture by the INTO Chairman in Hong Kong, helping Jackie with membership subscriptions, reviewing new website themes, advising on Trust-like organisations in Bulgaria, working with Julie on the impacts of GDPR on the INTO working holidays programme, dealing with invitations to China and Germany, writing a report to the NTEWNI on INTO, more work on our funding proposal, next steps with our new constitution and bank account …. Endings are a strange business and change, whether good or bad, can be a challenge. I certainly won’t be sorry to wind up the old INTO entities!
I also received in the post – to my great excitement – a reprinted copy of the biography of my great, great, great aunt. This doughty lady, born in 1844, took up cycling at the age of 50 and proceeded to travel around the world in her bicycle! What an adventuress! Can’t wait to read it!
So what have I learned from my son about change? Expect it, embrace it and don’t be afraid of it.