My first Basecamp experience
Greg Pike had signed a few Friends of the Earth petitions but never attended an event. In 2014, he had his first experience of Basecamp: a weekend with some of the leading campaigners in the country.
He debated, made allies, danced, drank and signed up to do it all again the following year.
I was able to bring my passion and strengths to a movement of people, working to create fairer societies and protect the natural environment.
When you first attended Basecamp in 2014, did you ever have any doubts?
I didn’t know if I’d hit it off with people, but being around strangers wasn’t awkward at all. There were some very talented people. You just get along with them extremely well.
Within an hour of arriving, I already had the feeling I was going to enjoy myself.
Is it just for Friends of the Earth activists?
No, not all. A lot of the people are involved in different groups. Some are completely new to it all.
If you look at the range of sessions, there’s a wide list of things to do. And there's a whole programme of activities for kids, as well as social events that go on into the night.
The other thing is this sense of camaraderie. It’s good to meet like-minded people and it does fire you up.
What’s the point of it all?
Basecamp gives you the opportunity to be part of a much wider movement. It’s energising. Whether you’re new to activism or not, you’ll hear inspirational speakers: passionate people, absolute experts in their field.
It gives you the sense that you’re not on your own. There’s also a strong social side to it. I thought the balance was brilliant.
What are the location and facilities like?
The Hope Valley is a particularly beautiful part of the district. Losehill Hall is one of the best youth hostels I’ve ever been to.
The facilities are fantastic and so are the staff. You can also camp or stay in a local B&B.
What made Basecamp 2014 a success?
The diversity of the subjects and activities covered. It was remarkable how it all happened in one space.
The professionalism of the whole set-up knocked me out completely. I was hoping it was going to be good, but it was so much better than that. It’s life-changing really.
On the Saturday night I started talking to a woman about the same age as me. It turned out that we’d both been on the same Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) march in 1964.
It was when I was still at school. She's remained an activist all her life.
Name something you did as a result of going to Basecamp
It’s connected me to issues that have had a real effect on my life. Even my diet has changed. After going to Basecamp I joined my local group: Manchester Friends of the Earth.