This year has seen the launch of a new venture 'Big Green Canoe'. This is the evolution of Transition Tours which we have been informally delivering for several years to groups visiting Totnes to study Transition. We have hosted school and university groups, foreign language students, business groups and government delegations from all round the world.
What we do has always been about more than 'tours', ie just showing people around. The tours are often the basis of programmes that are deeper educational and personal or team development experiences. The ethos behind Big Green Canoe is to better reflect that and to be able to develop it further.
It also represents a step change in our approach. So far we have been responding to random enquiries that have come through various networks, mainly the Transition Network, TTT and the Tourist Information Centre. This experience has taught us what works and what people want.
The Big Green Canoe is now a vehicle by which we can be more proactive; strategically placing ourselves in certain markets to bring more groups in. To begin with we are focussing on youth groups, educational field trips (schools and Unis), business groups (away-days).
We are addressing these markets through three programme areas; Transition Tours (Transition research and study trips); Leadership for Resiliency (personal development); and Source to Sea Exploration (adventure and field trips on the River Dart). You can learn more about these here.
We continue to fulfil the aims of Transition Tours by providing quality visitor services for the increasing number of people who are coming to Totnes to learn about Transition. We aim to provide the best possible experience to visitors, to maximise benefits to the local community, to disseminate Transition to a broader range of people and sectors, and to create a reliable source of income for TTT.
The bottom line of all of them is about developing an understanding of resilience and the leadership to deliver it. We work with anybody and our priority areas are 'key change-makers and young people of any circumstance', which we loosely interpret and apply as we go. For example we were able to provide a series of activities for a Spanish School sent here to study English as their town, Santa Caloma, had just become a Transition Initiative. They were studying in Plymouth as there was no room in any of the language schools and they had no budget. We were able to do trips for free and cover ourselves from the profits of other programmes.
In this way we are exploring ways to apply the Transition Enterprise model being developed as part of the REconomy Project. In January we held our 'First Gathering' in the Scout Hut to which practically everyone who has been involved in our tours in some way came, got to know each other better and helped develop our business plan for the next few years.
While we are a commercially orientated project, a huge amount of voluntary and underpaid time has gone into getting us this far (and I am sure it will continue to do for a wee while longer!). I would like to thank everyone who has been a part of our amazing journey.
You will be seeing more of us over the next few months; we have spent the past few months focussing on our communications which we are placing in the limelight this week in this newsletter and at the Transition Network Conference in London. For this I really want to give a huge big up and thank you to Jane Brady. Many readers may not know this but Jane is a huge talent and phenomenally hard worker who is busy behind the scenes driving many of the projects you will be familiar with, as well as ours, such as Totnes on the Move and TRESOC. Thanks Jane, you are amazing. Also thanks to Nick Walters and Emilio Mula who have also been instrumental in developing the website, groovy animations and other crazy ideas.
We are now pulling together our steering group and will be progressing a more strategic agenda in next few months.
You can help too! Please visit our website. Sign up for our newsletter. Tell your friends. Visit our Facebook page and 'like' us. Follow us on Twitter. And best of all, if you work for business in Totnes and District, ask us how we can do an away-day for you. We might even do it for free. Please ask!