Mountain, I love you!
‘We borrow the Earth from our children, it doesn’t belong to us’, as the old indigenous saying goes. Wise words, aren’t they? We will hand down this land, this nature, these mountains and fields to the children, to the next generation.
But what if the next generation doesn’t love them, doesn’t know them and doesn’t cherish them? If somebody has never breathed mountain air, has never seen the vast expanse of the views from the top, or has never tried to reach for the stars that look so near, will they appreciate the heritage we’ll leave to them?
Thinking about these questions, we – the Natural Explorers – saw another angle, another aspect of the theme of the love for nature. Nature, our credo and purpose, love and treasure, experience and mission, inspired our desire to take each child and youth to the mountains. Each and everyone, and especially those who don’t know the mountains. The boy who hasn’t gotten to love them yet. The girl who is afraid of the wind.
A challenging idea? Maybe. But such ideas are born when a few crazy heads, years of experience in mountaineering, a passion for learning through experience and a love of nature gather together. And such ideas are realised when they find friends and support.
Our journey passes through the ‘Mountain, I Love You!’ campaign. Our mission is to create a strong and permanent relationship between children and young people and the mountains. To introduce them. So that young people find a new, inspirational, wise and eternal friend, and the mountains find the next generation of mountaineers.
In its first steps, ‘Mountain I Love You!’ found the friends and support that allowed us to believe that it is possible to reach those young people who have not yet been to a mountain. Lyubomir Popyordanov and the retail chain Stenata recognized that they share our mission for a strong and permanent relationship between young people and the mountains, and provided their support in a financial, social and community aspect. Stenata is not just a shop, a place where everyone can find quality equipment. In the years since it was opened, Stenata has been supporting civil projects, standing up for environmental causes and developing the world of outdoor sports. For Stenata shops, the ‘Mountain, I Love You’ campaign is on the agenda in 2017. ‘Mountains are around us, we have to build them a new community of friends – children and young people – who will go to them and love them. Thus we will help protect them. Tens of thousands of children from the big cities have never been to a mountain, in a tent, they do not know experiential learning,’ people from Stenata say.
The first stage of the campaign takes place until the end of May, during which our goal is to raise 6,000 levs. When buying products from the brands Deuter, Julbo, Buff and Berghaus in Stenata shops, people donate for ‘Mountain, I Love You!’. They also become participants in the campaign and in the promotion of its cause. Everyone can join the campaign – to give a child and youth the opportunity to meet the mountains. With the funds collected, we will hold the first free camp for 12 children and youths who do not know the mountains, and we will buy the necessary equipment for their stay in the mountains.
The first free camp for children and youths will be take place in June. Its host will be Chakur Voyvoda hut in Rila. The children’s camp will give the first participants an unforgettable experience in the nature. Young people will gain experience in staying in the mountains, learn a lot about them – how to understand, know and love them, and they will also discover things for themselves and learn more about others.
From the top of the mountain, you can see a lot of things. Vast expanses, fields, rivers and forests. There, on top of the mountain, you see your friend – the one you can count on in hard times and in easy times. On top of the mountain, you also get to take a peek inside yourself. To find peace, to appreciate, to think.
This is the mountain for us – nature, friendship, self-knowledge. And what is it for you?