Community Classes with Ben
I am a community man. One of the best things about my job is getting out and about with local people. I love the incredible experience of older people—those faces you feel like you have known forever. I also jump at the chance to meet new people and appreciate how each of us contributes something fresh to a street, a suburb, a city. Difference and compassion are key, as far as I am concerned. Communities exist on different levels, and being part of one involves sharing stories, skills and ideas. So, today, I want to reach out to you and ask, what would you like to learn from me?
But first, what does community mean to me? A hell of a lot: friendship, helping each other, feeling connected. The incredible knowledge that we can always count on one another in times of need; if our kids need to be collected from school, or we are seeking some advice, or there is a problem at the house that needs fixing. That kind of security helps the day run smoothly, alleviates stress. Community means stopping to say hello and having a chat not just a hand wave: it’s a deeper connection, an understanding that we are all in this together and that each time we lend a helping hand, offer a smile, or just make the time to have a genuine chat, we are building a better world for ourselves and others. As the saying goes, no person is an island, so do as bees do, and get together and help each other to make life better, happier and more productive.
On an educational level, a community can learn so much from passing on knowledge and skills. That’s why community, after-school and adult education have always been so dear to my heart. There is so much to be gained from learning something new. Learning gives you a sense of accomplishment and pride, as you build on your old knowledge base and become skilled at something you never imagined possible. Scientifically, learning changes your brain chemistry, increasing the myelin mass, which improves your overall performance on any number of tasks. It has also been proven that learning new things helps you learn more quickly over time and has the possibility to starve off dementia. And just in case we needed another excellent reason to start something new, learning is outright FUN! And that’s what life’s about, isn’t it?
So, over the cooler months, I will be as busy as ever, staying in touch with you all, keeping you up to date with new developments in the bee-world, and running Ben’s Bees courses and classes from place to place. For years now, I have been a representative at conferences; I have appeared on tv and radio; I have mentored new beekeepers in their practice, one-on-one, in person and online; I have also been an active teacher in the community, travelling around from school to school, town hall to town hall, community centre to community centre. My sell-out courses have proved to be great fun and very popular, as they are driven by my passion for spreading the word about bees, beekeeping, sustainability and local produce. So, as I develop my new program for the next chapter of 2019, what courses or skills would you be interested in learning from me?