A tenth birthday is a special occasion for anyone, and we are delighted to write as RicNic approaches that very mark - a huge milestone for our organisation.
When RicNic began, the producer of this year's Hampshire show, 'Anything Goes', was seven years old. Despite the consternation the realisation of this caused to our founding members at a recent RicNic HQ meeting, we are extremely proud of the fact that since 2004, RicNic's unique ethos - giving young people genuine control of the creative process - has provided an experience like no other for hundreds of participants and thousands of audience members.
All of this year's companies are, as ever, bursting with talent, and have been working immensely hard over the last month to produce the spectacle of music, dance and drama so many audience members are going to be treated to over the next week. From the actors to the musicians to the technical team, each company showcases the very best of local talent; young people whose names will certainly be up in lights one way or another before too long.
Much has changed between our first birthday and our tenth, and the last year has been a particularly exciting one for RicNic. Alongside the continued success of our original branch in Winchester, RicNic Oxford is now in its second year and RicNic Bristol launches this week with its performances of Oklahoma!, involving dozens of talented new recruits.
Recently, we were also delighted that our work was recognised by the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services, who have shortlisted us as "Best Social Enterprise" in their Young Partners Award 2013. We keenly await the final results!
The establishment of each new branch shows just how special the RicNic ethos is, and we have ambitious plans for expansion, though these rely on more than the volunteer-only capacity which currently drives RicNic. Anyone who can support our fundraising towards this end is keenly encouraged to get in touch! Alongside this, RicNic has recently undergone a complete re-branding (driven entirely by alumni and their views) and, having held a highly successful gala concert in London last winter, is now planning what we hope will be a tenth birthday party to remember.
Young people, trusted to fix bayonets, get married and so much more, are still not treated with the respect and trust they deserve in many portions of society, and we are thrilled that RicNic continues to play a small part in changing that. Alumni – many now forging successful careers in business, the arts and other fields – continue to tell us how much RicNic means to them.
We're immensely grateful to everyone who has supported our work over the last ten years, without whom we could not be where we are today. As we enter our second decade, we're incredibly excited at the prospect of giving what we know can be life-changing experiences to hundreds more young people across the country.
Ben Nicholls Nick Morris
Founder & Chair Trust Director