On April 25, 1969, fifty years ago, the Italian Scout Philately Association (AISF) was founded in Ancona, by the will of a fairly large group of enthusiasts, about forty, who were already gathering to cultivate their hobby in the various Scout Associations they belong to, and in the CIFT (Italian Center for Thematic Ohilately). I remember the “Philatelic Scout Section” of ASCI and the “Philatelic Patrol” of the MASCI of Florence.

Today that group has greatly reduced, there are only 4 Founding Members still present in AISF, but 130 members throught Italy still give life to this Association, which manages to organiza one or more meetings and exhibitions of philately with a scout subject every year, with several holdings from abroad.

It is true, we do not hide it, today philatelic collecting attracts little, especially young people, also because now relationships between distant people are no longer done by writing letters and postcards, but with simpler and faster “clicks” on the computer tools that each of us has in our pocket, in real time.

However the paper – letters, telegrams, postcards – still retains a particular charm, it manteins that irreplaceable task of trnsmitting a thought, a memory, a reflection, stopping it over time, written precisely on the paper which, if preserved, is transmitted from generation to generation.

Here then it that the stamp, but also envelopes and postcards traveled, become a sign of memory, a vivid reminder of something therefore not just accumulating material – I have it, I miss it – but also a return to the roots, a testimony of facts and places, a concrete help to relive past history.

Collecting also has an educational value: it requires attention, research and method. In fact, it stimulates the taste for research and the ability to “read” beyond the piece of paper; by collectinf stamps you also learn history and geography, as the hundreds of schools that have introduced philately among complementary subjects know well.

It helps childrens, but also adults, to the spirit of observation and the development of memory; favors the spirit of enterprise and perseverance in pursuing a goal.

Deepens the skills; develops friendship with other people, initially interested only in the common collection; and also develops a sense of internationality, if the exchange of material and informations takes place with foreign friends.

In short, we believe that stamp collecting is still an effective means of personal growth, as well as a fun hobby.

This is why we have chosen to celebrate our first 50 years in MATERA in the European Year of Culture, in conjunction with the “Pedagogy, Cultures and Scouting” conference, organized by AGESCI and CNGEI of Basilicata.

It is very significant for us to celebrate the anniversary in this prestigious setting, because the underlying reasons of our Association are underlined: that is, collecting as a matter of culture and education, and our belonging to the scout world.