Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Youth Leadership Gathering 2017, Windsor Castle, Reflections by Matilda Gratton, Roots & Shoots UK representative

Being at Windsor for a week has been truly inspiring and has given me so much hope. Hearing everyone’s stories and empathising with their background, as well as realising the similarity in the struggles we all face was a highlight for me. Staying in the castle reminded me throughout how lucky I was to be there and what a special event it was; the Castle and chapel tour definitely reinforced this! The best thing about Windsor, besides the incredible vegan cuisine, had to be the people I met. Listening to everyone was so fascinating and I learnt so much, not just about R&S work but every aspect of their culture. I particularly loved hearing from Shiyou, Alfie and Peiwen about the Chinese culture and problems they were facing as well as their great project to combat plastic usage in China. Before meeting them I viewed China as otherworldly and daunting but I now feel they are really not that different and there are people there that see the problems and want to make a change.

Spending a whole week with Jane was so lovely, she really does represent all the good in the world. She spoke about how amongst all evil, love will always win and that really stuck with me and gave me reason for what I was doing.

I feel so empowered and excited to do more for my community, environment and animals. I am ever so grateful for having this once in a lifetime opportunity that I will always remember. Windsor has given me the boost of energy I need for my R&S work and taught me how I can make a difference on an individual level but I also now feel a great sense of belonging to this wonderful global network as well as a duty to be the best I can be. I can’t wait to get stuck into my next project: No Waste November and I will use this as an opportunity to spread awareness of R&S to neighboring schools. Having the No Waste November global team across 5 different continents gives me so much hope for this project and also makes me happy to know that I have people thousands of miles away that I can talk to at the touch of a button, and that’s really special.

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