by David Rossall, Stamp Active Network
Stamp Active Network is the national organisation, under the auspices of ABPS, which endeavours to encourage young people to take up stamp collecting as a hobby. Once called the National Youth stamp Group, it comprises a small core team of dedicated volunteers to coordinate actions. It works primarily through Federation Youth Officers, plus publicity in the philatelic press, federation and society newsletter, both to encourage children in their collecting, and request the assistance of more established collectors to provide the necessary backing and expertise.
One of our most successful ventures is the Kidstamp postal club, with over 800 members UK wide, which maintains contact with youngsters, provides stamps to augment their collections and keeps them informed of events and competitions. This needs considerable inputs of suitable material to maintain, and we rely on our adult and trade contacts to keep us supplied.
The Competitions committee is the organising force behind both the Stamp Active competitions and the British Youth Stamp Championships, both annual events held respectively at Spring and Autumn Stampex, and our more outstanding youngsters are encouraged to progress to international level.
The organisation of youth activities at national level exhibitions is coordinated by the Exhibitions committee, who will be especially busy with the Festival of Stamps this year. With this in mind we are appealing for volunteers to help in London in May, especially on the 8th, 9th and 15th, to provide extra hands at the Stamp Active stand at the Business Design Centre. If you are available during that time please contact Dave Armitage at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01279 503 625 for further details.
Stamp Active Network is always available to give advice and assistance to leaders of school and youth stamp clubs. Our latest initiative, sponsored by Stanley Gibbons, is a club starter pack. When Gibbons are given material to auction for charity, the proceeds go into a fund to provide these packs of philatelic materials (worth over £50) to help new clubs get started. Applications for the packs should be sent on an official letterhead to Beverley Davies, SAN Secretary, The Meadows, Chapel Lane, Mathern, Chepstow, NP16 6HS.
During the Festival of Stamps year Stamp Active Network will also be distributing, free to children, a 16 page full-colour stamp Fun Book of activities and a CD guide to stamp collecting, which we hope will generate lots of interest. These are being made available to organisers of any event linked to the Festival of Stamps where provisions are being made for youth participation.
Anyone wanting further information on the work we do is welcome to visit our website www.planetstamp.co.uk. This is mainly aimed at young collectors but has plenty of information on collecting, competitions, guidance for group leaders and a listing of all known events in 2010 which are making provisions to attract juniors.