Kids Out 2019 – When the old and the young make connections

Rotarians taking a break at the Cotswold Wild Life Park

From Dick Mattick – our own Kids Out Organiser

Kids out was blessed with fine weather (well done Mark and Bill). An early scare came when Julie thought I had under ordered on the sandwiches until a second trolley load was wheeled out of Goddard Park by Lisa Batsome who always ensures we are well provisioned.

My attempt to show Jeb Stuart’s first principle of leadership: “be there first with the most” by Peter. He was there two cars in front of me with Pam and Martin whereas I only had Julie. Happily we were both there ten minutes before the official opening time and had time to put on the new tabards. These are excellent in many ways 1) We are easily identified by those who need to know who we are 2) they give us confidence 3) Help park staff identify who is with which party 4) raise the profile of Rotary and encourage people to talk to us about it.

The three mini buses carrying the Robert Le Kyng party arrived first and were soon followed by the Inter Active Arts Group. Lunch times (1200 and 1230 hours respectively) were agreed and they departed with various Rotarians to begin enjoying the day. I tagged along behind some of the Inter Active Arts Group in the morning. I still remember something I read years ago that was written by David Attenborough to the effect that bad zoos display patches of fur on slabs of concrete and animals are collected rather like stamps so the collection with the biggest and rarest is seen as best. I have always enjoyed seeing fewer animals for longer and would rather spend quarter of an hour looking at one exhibit that running round spotting animals like a collector of engine numbers. So to give one example I learnt that Peruvian Penguins are better known as Humbolt penguins. At feeding time not all the group rushed to be fed As some were looking after chicks ( males and females share this duty) and they are well fed so some of the food is allowed to lie in the pool until they are hungry. Whether it’s one of Stephanie’s cuddles or a real animal I like animals to have names so was delighted to hear about Wonkey the twenty five year old penguin who has lived well beyond the expected age of penguins in the wild.

Lunch time arrived and Martin had proved his worth by getting there early to make sure some tables in the picnic area were kept clear for us. Adrian and Richard had joined us by now and the latter in particular did great work carrying a huge pile of lunch bag boxes to the site. Julie was still worried that I had not ordered enough and although we thought Rotarians might have to go without (greater love hath no man than that he lay down his cheese sandwich) there was enough for all. When Julie said “make sure the adults get the ones with the bluebottles” I was afraid I might have to contact the Head of Goddard Park about the state of his kitchens but she was referring to the colours of the drink containers so all was well.

Rotarians taking a break at the Cotswold Wild Life Park
Hard working Rotarians take a break during their Kids Out trip

Lunch over I spent some time with the Robert Le Kyng group and we spent some time with the rhinos where Belle, a baby rhino born at the Park who had been hand reared for a period due to a bad leg proved a great hit. All too soon it was time to hand out the goody bags and say goodbye. As I have said already to those who were there it was the sort of day that makes you feel proud to have been a Rotarian. Unlike Zoos of old, the Cotswold Wildlife Park has spacious enclosures and the animals seem content and do not leave visitors feeling depressed. This was evident from our groups who were smiling and vociferous with their thanks to Rotary. To top it all one of those looking after the Inter Active Arts group was so impressed that he has said he would like to join. Having been given the options of times of the Swindon Clubs he said he thought the morning one would be best for him so we are aiming to get him along in the next two or three weeks.

By Dick Mattick our own Kids Out organiser