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Working Professionally with Children and Youth in Care
CYC-Online Issue 115 SEPTEMBER 2008 / BACK
Listen to this

Postcard from leon fulcher

From Wales

Leon Fulcher

Bore da (Boreh da) – Good morning; Noswaith dda (Nos-waith tha) – Good evening; Shwmae (Shw-mai) – Hello from Wales! Warm greetings from Aberystwyth, the iconic and historic coastal village of mid-Wales! I confess to loving the sounds of the Welsh language. I took every opportunity possible during my short visit to listen to the lyrical sounds, even though I confess to being totally confused by what I heard. Good on the people of Wales for insisting that theirnative language be preserved!

The distinctive Welsh dragon icon

Like billions of others in the world, we've been mesmerised by activities at the Beijing Olympics. The opening ceremonies in Beijing were amazing and I was delighted with the way that children featured in that event, even if the little girl who sang the opening song was replaced by another considered “prettier”. Depending on where you are in the world during the Olympics, there is always a local spin on the results. I remember watching the Olympics one year while I was working in Malaysia. My Bahasa Melayu was not good enough to pick up the details, but it was clear that the Malaysian media followed every one of their Olympians in a way I had not seen before. For the people of Wales, the biggest event of the year has to have been their first Olympic Gold Medal since the Munich Games of 1972, a medal won in the women's road race.

The mid-Wales seaside town of Aberystwyth

The Welsh cyclist Nicole Cooke, 25, who comes from the Vale of Glamorgan and spent her childhood racing in the Welsh valleys, is the first British woman to win a gold medal for cycling. She won her gruelling race despite the filthiest of weather. The rain bucketed down all day, just as it did during my visit to Wales, rendering the hairpin bends of the 78-mile course especially hazardous. The race began in Beijing and ended with a double circuit in the shadow of the Great Wall of China. Many of the 66 competitors from 33 countries skidded alarmingly; several crashed and a South Korean fell into a ditch. Everyone agreed, however, that there have been few more thrilling cycle races in Olympic history. There was a lot of cheering in Wales!

A summer stroll along Marine Parade in the rain

With school holidays in full swing, I was struck by how many children were ready to go “paddling” at the seaside when all the adults apparently wanted to do was huddle in their sweaters to watch their children play. For some, the most radical event of the summer day appeared to be ice creams on the promenade. Then of course, there was the obligatory postcard home to friends and family. So that confirmed it for me. I should send my postcard from the Welsh seaside too!

I wonder whether CYC workers know about the International Child Welfare Forum that takes place in Cardiff, 28th Sept to 1st Oct 2008 around the theme “Early Intervention and Prevention”? WorldForum2007 brought delegates together from around the world in New Dehli. The 2006 event in Canada hosted delegates from 34 different countries. As planning for our next International Child and Youth Care Conference proceeds in Florida for 2009, I’m wondering how many North American CYC workers will be attending WorldForum2008? It’s easy to talk international conferences while remaining insular in perspective. It requires more than invitations to create such events. To become a profession CYC needs international networking!

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