I WAS at Bledlow Country Show last Saturday morning. It was a great showcase for local agriculture, rural business and for the growing number of Buckinghamshire’s specialist food producers and suppliers. If you wanted to sample local pies, sausages or biscuits, this was the place to be.
What was particularly remarkable about Saturday’s event was that it was planned and organised not by some professional outfit but by the Bucks Young Farmers’ clubs. What they managed to do was produce something that was at the same time an enjoyable family outing and a piece of public education about the continued importance of enterprise and employment in the countryside.
Reflecting on the success of the Bledlow Show, I was struck by the fact that again and again in my constituency work I come across young men and women who, either individually or through youth organisations, are contributing positively to our local and national life.
I’ve seen this in a multitude of fund-raising efforts in both primary and secondary schools to support charitable causes. Young people in our churches have been leading initiatives to set up youth cafes in some of the more difficult local estates. Cadet organisations, scouts, guides, St John Ambulance and others voluntarily give enormous amounts of their time with to serve the local community.
All this goes on, and we ought to make more of a point of recognising it. All too often, both media headlines and, if we are honest, everyday conversation among us older people can focus on those occasions where young people go wrong. Shock-horror stories about gangs, anti-social behaviour or vandalism get the attention: the good works, the charitable fund-raising, the volunteering are too often ignored.
When I talk to the adult leaders of youth organisations, they often tell me of their frustration that more is not made in public about what young people are achieving. They tell me too that often a shortage of adult helpers means that young people have to be turned away from joining an organisation. For example, scout groups in many parts of our county now have waiting lists because there are not enough adult leaders to supervise all the boys and girls who want to take part.
I hope that as a country and as a local community we can do more to recognise and support the positive contribution made by so many young people today.