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Yesterday morning I spent several hours doing some work for CAMRA. Not at all unusual that, for me and countless others. In my case it was starting to write our members mail-out, which I do at least once a month. It keeps us all in touch and hopefully motivates members to get more involved. (We'd like that.) I also spent some time considering our next branch newsletter, which goes out to the public at large and then I filled in the first of four pub surveys for next years Good Beer Guide, having driven (at my own expense) the 12 or so miles to the pub concerned the previous day. That day I had also met a local newspaper editor to offer support to a "Save Our Pubs" campaign he is running. Then I sent off some updates to HQ about breweries in my area. Afterwards I got the bus to Rochdale to to another pub survey (£4.10 fare if you are interested) and after the survey spent some time discussing with a local landlord, a Real Ale Pub Trail he is planning, before having a few well deserved pints.

I do this, like countless others, because it is a hobby, a labour of love, a mission for good beer if you like. It is often a thankless task, but usually you feel it worthwhile until you read comments like this. Then you feel flattened. Knowing a fair bit about what goes into the choosing of the CAMRA National Pub of the Year and the effort the branch officials and members will have put in to ensure that their selection is truly one that is a genuine Pub of the Year contender, it is a tad galling to see that their efforts aren't only unappreciated, but are casually denigrated, though I'm sure they'll just laugh it off. (We all know we aren't the most photogenic creatures in the world.) It is is particularly annoying though, when in this case, the local CAMRA branch whose pictures were found to be so repellent, had clearly had done their work well, as their nomination, the Harp, was met with universal approval as a deserved winner. I have to add that this includes praise from the person that wrote the piece.* Truly a case of the messenger being thought more important than the message.

The thing is that CAMRA does need young people to be active and to present the fresh and appealing pictures that are so desired by some, but more importantly to replace us tired old codgers as we drop off the perch. We all know this and we do try hard to attract young people with varying degrees of success, but the truth of it is that it is quite difficult as there are so many other exciting things for them to do these days. Certainly far more than when I first joined CAMRA. Nonetheless, as all voluntary organisations know, you still need people with experience and as importantly, with time to do the thankless tasks that ensure we have a Good Beer Guide, beer festivals, interesting local newsletters and so on. People like me that are retired and still have a bit to offer, have that time, so surely it isn't that odd that we should be doing most of the work? Do most people really expect something that different?

I brooded on this off and on throughout the day yesterday and was still feeling disgruntled when I returned home full of beer, but you know what? I read this piece here by a different young blogger with the title "Giving something back" describing how she as a young female CAMRA member is helping lighten the load of us old folks by doing her bit. Quite a lot of bits actually. So well done Shea and those like you. You have restored my faith and I will have a much lighter step today when I survey my final two pubs.

Giving something back eh? My beer hero(ine) of the week. I owe her a drink. In fact you all do.

I hope Shea won't mind me illustrating this with a photo nicked from her blog.

* This isn't a pop at any individual either. The writer of the original piece represents a genuine school of thought and a major concern about CAMRA and how it appears. This is a counter to it.