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NGI Recipient: Ben Moss

Session Attended: CDS Boston Centre - July 4th Weekend (2013)

Dear all at CDS-Boston and Pinewoods,

I am writing to say a massive thank you for giving me the opportunity to attend the July 4th Session at Pinewoods camp through the NGI Scholarship programme. From the moment I arrived I was welcomed into the community at the camp with open arms. I made so many new friends and cemented old friendships through the sharing of songs and dances over the weekend. I very much enjoyed my introduction to American Contra dancing and appreciated being dragged onto the dance floor whenever I was reluctant to throw myself into something new.

It was great to experience the differences in the American approach to teaching and running workshops (Jamie was a fabulous morris teacher and having been in his workshops will be very valuable for me when trying to get work teaching morris dance this coming year) and also the differences in the social side of the American folk scene. What struck me most was the inclusivity; everyone gathering at the Porch and Rail for a drink and a chat before lunch, the steady hum of conversation over the family style dining, the constant encouragement and opportunity to sing my favourite songs for a new group of people.

I’m so glad I got to be involved in so much over the weekend — helping to run the Hunsdon House cocktail party and contributing a song to skit night are two very special experiences that will definitely stick in my memory for a long time (however hazy some of the details of the former may be!). Despite my short stay, Pinewoods quickly began to feel like home and I hope very much to be able to attend future sessions in years to come.

Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to experience this beautiful place and the wonderful community which goes with it. My time there was truly special.