Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Month in the Life of an MSYP – Jordan Linden MSYP

Monday, July 28th, 2014

The life of an MSYP can be very busy at times and I’m delighted to share a snapshot of the work that an MSYP can get involved in.

The past four weeks have been particularly busy with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games beginning and a range of other events taking place throughout the month.

Last month, I took part in the Cross Party Group on Volunteering. This was a great opportunity to participate in a discussion about volunteering and what volunteering opportunities there are for people, in particular, young people across Scotland. Convener Margaret McDougall MSP and Deputy Convener Annabelle Ewing MSP, along with the CPG, were delighted to hear an MSYP’s perspective on volunteering and the benefit that these opportunities carry for young people.

JL YouthCab eventOn June 20th 2014, I joined with fellow MSYPs, Young Scot Representatives, and young people from across the country, at a Scottish Government Youth Cabinet event. The First Minister and his Cabinet Secretaries met with young people to hold intimate discussion groups on issues relating to the independence referendum. This was a fantastic opportunity to engage directly with the key decision makers in Scotland, and access the opportunity to ask the questions that young people across Scotland want to the know the answers too.

At a local level, earlier this month, I was delighted to be invited along as the inspirational speaker at the North Lanarkshire Council Saltire Awards Evening. I joined with young volunteers from across the local area to share my volunteering story and to inspire others to keep doing what they are doing. These young people really inspired me – they give up hours of their life to contribute to our communities. Some volunteers had given up as many as 500 hours to their communities. I was privileged to receive an honorary 700 hours Saltire Certificate for the work I’ve done. This is an example of the power that volunteering can have and an example of how great it is to be an MSYP – you can champion and inspire others to keep doing the work they do, and encourage others to start volunteering, as it could be the best thing they ever do!JL saltire award

July began with a bang as MSYPs from across the country joined together in Lerwick, Shetland, for the 54th National Sitting of the Scottish Youth Parliament, kindly hosted by Shetland Islands Council. MSYPs had incredible debates, an independence hustings, held our Annual General Meeting, and spent time together. We also had a great journey to and from Shetland and had fun documenting it on Twitter with #SYP54Ferry – what an experience! Sittings are key to an MSYP’s role and it is an opportunity for everyone to get together, to debate and form policy, but also to see each other.

JL London
Last week, Thomas Mair MSYP, Thomas McEachan MSYP, Assad Khan MSYP, and I all attended the All Party Parliamentary Group on Youth Affairs Annual General Meeting and discussion on access to low cost housing. We travelled to the meeting with the support of our partners at the British Youth Council and it was a really interesting event, allowing us to hear the perspectives of young people from across the United Kingdom.

Finally, I was privileged to visit the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village along with friends from Young Scot. Ahead of the Commonwealth Games, we met with friend of the Scottish Youth Parliament and ex-First Minister, Lord Jack McConnell, and Chieftain of the Village, athlete and gladiator, Shirley Addison, as well as representatives of Team Scotland. It was absolutely inspiring and exciting to be at the heart of Glasgow 2014.

I hope that I’ve been able to demonstrate the range of activities that MSYPs participate in and the difference that our roles can make to communities across Scotland. I believe MSYPs play a crucial role in empowering other young people to participate in local democracy and encourage them to become active citizens.

With the SYP elections in the near future, I hope that the examples I have highlighted will share just a quick glimpse at the amazing opportunities, events, and ultimately the contribution that you – as a future MSYP – could make to the lives of young people across Scotland.

Being an MSYP has changed my life, it has given me the confidence to be the person I am today and the skills to empower and inspire others to go better, think bigger, and help make a difference in your community. What a brilliant experience it has been.

- Jordan Linden MSYP

East Dunbartonshire’s Youth Summit Event – Rachel Crawford MSYP

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

It all started in February, when the Membership of East Dunbartonshire Youth Council were presented with the idea of hosting a ‘Youth Summit’. The aim was to improve political literacy with students in the area. In short, we wanted the day to be about engaging and informing our constituents about local issues, and most importantly, about the upcoming independence referendum. So, early this June – after hours and hours of planning – that’s what we did.

We invited a group of around twenty S5 and S6 pupils from each of the eight secondary schools in East Dunbartonshire, along with some locally elected members (who came to see the event unfold), for an action-packed day filled with different sessions. We held a session on the process of voting itself, and afterwards held a mock-vote using ballot boxes. We had speeches on ‘The Importance of Democracy’ from two members of a debating club from a local school who have recently won a televised debating competition. We held our own Aye Naw Mibbe sessions with groups of pupils, and afterwards discussed local issues concerning education, health, transport, and recreation with them. Then to finish off, we had a fantastic independence debate, where our constituents put forward their own questions to the panel – which consisted of two speakers from both Yes Scotland and Better Together. Empowering young people was a big theme of the day, so we found it important that each of the two campaigns included a young person as a speaker, giving the debate an honest opinion of how they felt independence would affect them as young people.

One of my favourite sessions of the day was the Aye Naw Mibbe session. All members of the Youth Council had been given training in how to run these sessions, so we divided off into groups and carried out an Aye Naw Mibbe session by ourselves. I was fortunate to have a really engaged and enthusiastic group, which made running this part of day even better. There was some fascinating debate and a lot of great ideas circulating during the part of the session where we asked the question, “If you were in power for a day, what would you change?” As well as having invited locally elected members, members of the SYP staff team were in attendance giving young people, including myself, the opportunity to register to vote. It was eye-opening to see how many young people there didn’t realise that they had to register to vote, and those who just hadn’t gotten around to it. It was an amazing feeling to know that most of the young people in attendance are now registered to vote, as it’s such a huge part of what will be their first ever opportunity to vote.

At the beginning and end of the day, we held short interactive voting sessions, where the use of voting pads allowed our constituents to tell us how informed they felt about registering to vote and how to vote. When the young people were asked at the end of the day, “Do you now feel more informed about how to vote?” an incredible 99% of them voted ‘yes’ – meaning our efforts in delivering the Aye Naw Mibbe session, along with the mock ballot, had helped the majority of them feel more confident in the process of voting. Also, when they were asked, “Do you now feel more capable of making an informed decision when voting in the referendum?” an amazing 83% voted yes – indicating that the independence debate helped answer a great deal of their questions.

I feel incredibly proud of the East Dunbartonshire Youth Council for the huge effort that we made in order to make this day a success – alongside the wonderful SYP Youth Engagement Team, who offered a great deal of support. Being part of our Youth Council and making an impact on the political involvement and interest of our constituents gives me a great deal of pride – and I’m sure other youth forums looking to do something similar would feel the same too.

Rachel Crawford MSYP

Empowering Women Through Conversation – Nicole Dempster MSYP

Friday, June 6th, 2014

‘Empowering Women Through Conversation’ is a series of community led conversations aimed at women across East Renfrewshire. The six conversations will take women on a journey through time, exploring the inequalities faced by women in the past and their participation in the democratic process, and the actions which have led to social change for women in the UK. Find out all the details here.

Speaking about the importance of such events Nicole Dempster MSYP said:

“These events aim to bring together women of all ages to inspire discussion in the lead up to the referendum. The events have been designed by a group of women who did not use their vote because they did not recognise the value of their opinion. Each session has a different theme, and has been designed to encourage conversations.

Myself and SYPeer Jessie Ling, along with the women’s library, will facilitate the education session. This is a real opportunity for women to freely chat about why they have the right to vote. We will also hear about the suffragettes and the women’s movement. It is important that all women feel valued within society so that they use their vote.

Everyone’s opinion matters and everyone should be heard. Events like these are hugely important, as they are a fantastic source of information and encourage people to use the vote that they rightly deserve.”

Are there are any exciting events coming up in your local area? Use the SYP website or the Aye Naw Mibbe hub to promote these opportunities to your peers. You can send any details to Stephanie Brown, Communications Officer, at

‘Rural Scotland in Focus’ 2014 report launch – Scott Simpson MSYP

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Scott Simpson MSYP, Convener of the Transport, Environment and Rural AffairsOn Monday 2nd June 2014, I attended the Scottish Rural College’s (SRUC) ‘Rural Scotland in Focus’ 2014 report launch at the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel in Edinburgh. The Scottish Youth Parliament’s Transport, Environment and Rural Affairs Subject Committee met with Dr Jane Atterton from the SRUC at the SYP’s 53rd National Sitting in Stirling in March 2014. I was delighted to see that the session with Jane was featured in the report, in which Members highlighted the following points:

  • The sense in which rural issues are often neglected at a Scottish-wide level.
  • Issues surrounding transport as a key short-term issue. Particularly cost, timing and frequency, causing problems with accessing employment, education and other services.
  • The main long-term issue highlighted was access to affordable housing and good quality jobs to encourage young people to stay in or return to rural areas.
  • Cultural and family ties in rural areas are prominent, and are one of the leading reasons for those staying in rural areas, even on a temporary basis.
  • Members acknowledged that recent developments had helped, such as increased provision for education.

The launch event itself was a great experience for me. I spoke to several people from organizations such as Scottish Rural Action, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, and Planning Aid Scotland.

During the Q & A session, which featured authors of the report and Rob Gibson MSP, the Scottish Parliament’s Convener of Rural Affairs, Climate Change and the Environment (RACCE), who is also MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross (my constituency), I was able to ask the question “With the report highlighting the need for a new strategy/vision for rural Scotland, how would the panel recommend that young people be involved?” Mr Gibson answered the question, and highlighted the need for better careers advice for S3/S4 students, mentioning that he is a former guidance teacher.

Going forward, I feel that the best strategy for young people and rural Scotland is for more affordable housing to be made available for young people and for further provision of education in rural areas so they do not feel like the only option is to move away, enabling young people to live and work close to home.

I spoke to Dr Jane Atterton after the event, and I thanked her for coming to our Subject Committee session. Hopefully the SRUC and SYP will work more closely in future when it comes to young people in rural areas.

Debate on Scotland’s Referendum at the National Library of Scotland

Friday, May 30th, 2014

On Wednesday 4th June 2014, the Scottish Youth Parliament and the National Library of Scotland will be co-hosting a Referendum Debate.

Young people from across Scotland will join Kyle Thornton MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, to put their questions about Scotland’s constitutional future to a panel of representatives.

There are no more tickets available for this event, but if you would like to attend, please click here to be added to the waiting list.  We will contact you on a first-come-first-served basis if any tickets become available.

We will be tweeting throughout the event, so follow us at @OfficialSYP and join in the conversation at #AyeNawMibbe.

Meet The Speakers

Dr Jan Eichhorn, University of Edinburgh

Dr Jan EichhornDr Jan Eichhorn is a Chancellor’s Fellow in Social Policy at the University of Edinburgh. He researches political participation and culture, with a special interest in young people’s approaches to politics.

At the moment, Dr Eichhorn is involved with two surveys relating to the Scottish independence referendum.  He is part of the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey team investigating attitudes towards the constitutional future of Scotland amongst the adult population.  He also coordinates the only comprehensive and representative survey of the under-18 year olds able to vote in the referendum because of the voting age having been lowered to 16.

In addition to his university-based work, Dr Eichhorn also acts as research director of the think tank d|part which works on the intersection between research and practical engagement in the field of political participation.

Patrick Harvie MSP, Yes Scotland

PatrickHarvieMSP20110510Patrick Harvie has served as a regional MSP for Glasgow since 2003 and is Co-Convener of the Scottish Green Party, and was a member of the Referendum Bill Committee. He has worked on a wide range of issues including housing, energy, climate change, equalities, transport, planning and justice. He is Convener of the Cross Party Group on Sexual Health, and has also been active on CPGs on issues including refugees and asylum seekers, food, and international development.

Before his election to Parliament, Mr Harvie was employed with the Gay Men’s Project at the sexual health agency PHACE Scotland (now known as THT Scotland) from 1997-2003, initially as a youth worker and then as Development Worker for the Lanarkshire area. Working at PHACE, Mr Harvie was involved in research, group work, resource development, fundraising and training in assertiveness, equality and discrimination issues. Mr Harvie previously worked at a recycling charity, a phone line for teenagers, and the Inland Revenue.

He is a keen cook, an occasional runner, and a fan of science fiction and long train journeys.

Liam McArthur MSP, Better Together

LiamMcArthurMSP20110510Liam McArthur MSP was elected as Member of the Scottish Parliament for Orkney in May 2007. Born in Edinburgh, he was brought up in Orkney and attended Sanday Junior Secondary and Kirkwall Grammar School.

After working at Westminster and in Brussels for a number of years, he was appointed by former Deputy First Minister and Orkney MSP, Jim Wallace, as a Special Adviser in 2002. This role involved advising Ministers across a range of policy areas, including enterprise, lifelong learning, agriculture, fisheries, environment and external affairs.

Mr McArthur is currently the Scottish Liberal Democrat member of the Education and Culture Committee, acting as party spokesman for Education and Energy. In the past, he sat on the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

Anne McTaggart MSP, Better Together

Anne-McTaggart20140319Anne McTaggart is a Scottish Labour MSP elected in May 2011 to represent the Glasgow region.  Prior to becoming an MSP, Anne had a diverse career history including her role as a Glasgow City Councillor for Drumchapel/Anniesland, her work as a Community Development worker and as a dance teacher.  She was also the chair of Blairdardie Primary School’s Parent Forum.

Mrs McTaggart is currently a member of the Local Government and Regeneration Committee and the Public Petitions Committee in the Scottish Parliament. She also sits on a number of Cross-Party groups (CPGs), including the CPG on Children and Young People.

Anne has lived in the Knightswood area of Glasgow for over 20 years, and still resides there with her husband and three children.  She is passionate about social justice and has a keen interest in women’s issues.

Humza Yousaf MSP, Yes Scotland

HumzaYousafMSP20110507Humza Yousaf was elected as a Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow in May 2011, aged 26.

After completing his degree in Politics at the University of Glasgow in 2007, he went to work in the Scottish Parliament as an aide to the late Bashir Ahmad MSP.

In May 2011, he was the youngest SNP MSP to be elected to Parliament. He was appointed to the Justice Committee and Public Audit Committees, and was a Parliamentary Liaison Officer to the First Minister Alex Salmond MSP.

In September 2012, he was appointed as Scotland’s first ever Minister for External Affairs and International Development, and became the youngest Minister in the Scottish Government’s history, as well as being the first ever Minister from an ethnic minority background.

His interests include tackling mental health stigma, poverty, civil liberties, issues affecting young people and international affairs. He enjoys riding his motorcycle, watching and playing football, and spending time with his family.


Terri Smith MSYP – Care.Fair.Share. Friday Focus

Friday, May 16th, 2014

It was a privilege to recently be asked to speak as a representative of the Scottish Youth Parliament’s Care.Fair.Share campaign and as advocate for the many young carers whose stories I’ve heard over the last few months as part of a radio interview with Pain Concern. Those hard-hitting words ‘caring shouldn’t mean compromise’ have resonated on my mind since I first heard them, and I wanted to get this message across to the Pain Concern listeners.

For me, it is absolutely vital that not only MSYPs, but everyone across Scotland makes some noise about Scotland’s young carers and the need for change. Now, as many people know, I am not exactly known for being quiet, but I have genuinely lost count of the amount of times I have been stuck for words and have had my breath taken away just by listening to the personal journeys of the young people who take on caring responsibilities.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for everyone to know about the selfless and heroic responsibilities that young carers take on. I’m calling on everyone to get involved! Let’s all make some noise and make sure everyone hears just exactly what the Scottish Youth Parliament are standing up for and why! Also, I would really encourage everyone to go along and speak to young carers about their lives and the responsibilities they take on. I can assure you now, it will affirm in your mind just exactly why young people who care should under no circumstances have to compromise.

You can get involved right now by making some noise on social media and raising awareness using #CareFairShare. There are so many ways to show your support. Check out the website here and use the campaign toolkit to find really helpful guidelines and template letters.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am away to make some noise!

Young carers are a sympol of all that is good about our society – Nairn McDonald MSYP @NairnMcD

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

In Scotland there are an army of young carers who take it upon themselves to care for relatives and friends without a second thought. These young carers are a symbol of all that is good in our society and yet we still fail to recognise or help these young people who provide a most invaluable service.

The Scottish Youth Parliament’s campaign, Care.Fair.Share.,  seeks to provide young carers with the support they need to do their caring duties while still maintaining a level of socialising and also to support their education. Young carers and young adult carers have an incredibly hard task of balancing education and caring duties and sometimes work. During times of hardship, concessions must be made and it is always education that suffers. Through this campaign, we hope to allow young carers to continue in education by providing appropriate measures to lessen their financial burden.

In North Ayrshire, I have been working to get as many elected members as possible to sign our pledge board and inform them about our campaign. I have so far successfully managed to get our local MP Katy Clark to sign up and support us and 8 local Councillors. I have met with North Ayrshire Council Carers Champion Cllr Robert Steel and Cllr Anthea Dixon, Cabinet Portfolio holder for Social Services. We discussed the campaign and NA Carers strategy which was designed by young carers and has been award winning.

I recently discovered that I could be considered a young carer due to the care I provide for my younger brother and my mother. Although I do little things at times, it is very stressful and I hope this has given me an insight into the world of young carers and the huge task they undertake. Young carers save this country billions of pounds each year and the least we can do to thank them for their unwavering service and loyalty to their duty is to support them in every way possible. This campaign is a great start!


Nairn McDonald MSYP

Cunnighame South

North Ayrshire


Aye Naw Mibbe – Residential Training Weekend

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Aye-Naw-Mibbe-Logo-twiiter (2)

This weekend (Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th April) the newly recruited SYPeers and the Aye Naw Mibbe Participation Champions will be taking part in a residential training weekend where the new peer educators will learn about SYP, and develop skills in communication and campaigning. The weekend is an opportunity for volunteers to familiarise themselves with their role of championing the work of the Aye Naw Mibbe project in local communities. It is an opportunity for them to think about how to engage other young people in the voting process, and also to learn all about voter registration. We have a fun-filled and educational weekend ahead for all SYPeers and Participation Champions!

Check out what some of the MSYPs who will be attending had to say ahead of this weekends events.

Rachael McCully MSYP for East Kilbride:

“As MSYPs we are a voice for all young people across Scotland, but we also seek to empower them to use their own voice and voting is just one way we can do this. Becoming a Participation Champion will enable us to lead on our youth friendly voter engagement project, Aye Naw Mibbe. It is a fantastic opportunity to ensure young people are properly informed and can learn more about the voting process and how it affects them, and so I was delighted to have the chance to chair this group. This weekend marks the peer educator residential training, where the Participation Champions including myself, peer educators and staff will be discussing voter engagement and working to build and further shape our already successful new project, Aye Naw Mibbe. I’m looking forward to taking part and adding to this weekend’s activities and become closer with all the group. I hope we can come away with a strong foundation from which we can further engage and promote young voter engagement across Scotland.”

Terri Smith MSYP for Edinburgh and Northern Leith:

“I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into my role as a Participation Champion. The next few years are going to be exciting in terms of the democratic opportunities arising for the young people of Scotland. This weekend I am hoping to learn the importance of registering to vote and I’m looking forward to meeting the new SYPeers and working with the other participation champions”

Nicola Pringle MSYP for Midlothian South, Lauderdale and Tweedale:

“I am extremely excited for the residential weekend! It will be a brilliant opportunity to meet with the SYPeers and develop a relationship with so we can work together in the future. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to outline what our key aims are for the project. I can’t wait to meet with the other Participation Champions so we can all combine our ideas, as there seems to be plenty! This weekend will give us a chance to work together and put together a campaign which will not only attract young voters, but inform them. Excitement is an understatement!”

Do you have questions about voting and why your vote is so important? Do you feel informed and confident about how to register to vote? Get involved and share your views using #AyeNawMibbe.

Jordan Linden MSYP – Care.Fair.Share. Friday Focus – Our Local Campaign Launch

Friday, April 4th, 2014

The Scottish Youth Parliament’s National Campaign, Care.Fair.Share., is named after three simple words that carry a different story for each of Scotland’s 100, 000 young carers.

Young carers annually save the Scottish Government an estimated £1.6 billion pounds through their caring roles.

Yet the demands of education, jobs, personal relationships, and caring can end up leaving these young people exhausted, anxious, and depressed. With a lack of finance and time, they aren’t able to enjoy leisure time like other young people do.

Our campaign seeks to increase the levels of financial support for young carers across Scotland and includes aims to work with Transport Scotland to achieve discounted travel for young carers to help ease their situation.

In North Lanarkshire,IMG_0438 we are working to promote the campaign and we have just had our Local Authority wide launch of the campaign.

We were privileged to launch our campaign whilst being joined by MSPs, MPs, Councillors, and Executive Officers from North Lanarkshire Council. We were also highly appreciative to have representatives from Action for Children – the Lanarkshire Young Carers Group, representatives from North Lanarkshire Youth Council, and the six partner Youth Forums to celebrate the campaign kicking off here in North Lanarkshire.

The launch event began with a formal welcome from Elaine Smith MSP, Deputy Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament and MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston. Following this, Lauren King, MSYP for Motherwell and Wishaw, welcomed attendees and expressed her determination to make a difference for Scotland’s young carers, as the lead campaigner for Care.Fair.Share.

We then enjoyed an icebreaker of Human Bingo, with questions relating to the lives of Young Carers.

This was followed by the Scottish Youth Parliament’s Care. Fair. Share. Campaign Video which you can watch here.

This was followed by an interactive game called “In Their Shoes” which all guests participated in. This game visually demonstrated the barriers that young carers can face as a result of their caring roles. This activity set the tone for the rest of the evening’s discussions.

Afterwards, North Lanarkshire’s MSYPs made individual campaign pledges in the presence of the invited guests to highlight their personal commitment and determination to improve the standard of living for Scotland’s young carers.

The evening ended with refreshments and the opportunity for youth forums, young carers, youth council representatives, as well as invited elected officials to sign our Care.Fair.Share. pledge boards to highlight their support for the campaign.

Speaking about the campaign at the event Coatbridge and Chryston MSP, Elaine Smith MSP said the following:

“The issue of young carers has always been one of interest to me. Therefore, the opportunity to speak and even attend an event organised by the Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament for North Lanarkshire was fantastic. I am inspired by the work of young carers and I am inspired by the work of North Lanarkshire’s MSYPs. Seeing them fighting for the future for young people in North Lanarkshire and Scotland as a whole is incredible.

I’d like to thank them for giving me the opportunity to participate and allowing me to fully support the aims of the Care. Fair. Share Campaign”

In addition, North Lanarkshire Young Carers expressed her views on the campaign and the North Lanarkshire launch event:

“We as young carers are glad that there is a fight for young carers here in North Lanarkshire so that we too have the same equal rights and to be noticed as a priority to communities as well as to Government.

We thank the Scottish Youth Parliament and in particular the North Lanarkshire MSYPs for fighting and organising this campaign!”

Speaking about the success of the launch, Lead Campaigner and Motherwell and Wishaw MSYP, Lauren King said:

“The launch of Care.Fair.Share. in North Lanarkshire was a great success; after launching the national campaign in Edinburgh, it seems fitting to launch the campaign from my own local authority. The individual and collective work of MSYPs in North Lanarkshire, and across Scotland, is vital to the success of the campaign, to ensure that SYP defend and extend the welfare and well-being of young carers the length and breadth of Scotland.”

To conclude, it is evident that there is not only local support for the campaign but there is political support also. With the Scottish Government’s ongoing carers consultation and the increasing support for the Care.Fair.Share. campaign, it is clear that we have an opportunity to shape the future for Scotland’s young carers and ensure significant and lasting improvements to their standard of living.

I believe that the work the Scottish Youth Parliament is doing through the passion, drive, and determination of the inspirational MSYPs will once again deliver for the young people of Scotland.

My Experience as a SYPeer – Ehsan Salim

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

For me, becoming a SYPeer was a brilliant decision. Initially I was not completely sure what my role was or how I would carry it out. But with the help of the SYP staff and the excellent training they provided, I was well on my way before I knew it.

Within the first few weeks I made new friends, created new contacts and picked up new skills, all of which later proved essential to my role. At the training day in Edinburgh, not only did we go through the essential aspects of being a SYPeer, but we also had a fantastic time. The staff go out of their way to ensure that the volunteers (that’s us) have fun as well as learn.

As my time with the group progressed I became more confident. I started to take on bigger challenges, speak in front of larger audiences, and deliver better sessions. During my first session delivery I froze. It was extremely embarrassing. But thanks to the SYPeer guidance I was able to learn from the experience rather than allowing it to deter me. I become better prepared and organised for future sessions. Had it not been for this guidance I may have still been hesitant to speak in front of groups.

Not only have I had the chance to develop and deliver sessions, but I have also had the opportunity to mentor new SYPeers through their first steps. It is an amazing feeling. Helping them has given me the chance to assist in developing their skills, as well as expand my own. During my first two weeks with the new SYPeers we decided to take on the massive challenge of delivering sessions and presentations to over 1000 young people. Everyone gave it one hundred percent and without jeopardising our studies, we succeeded in our aim.

Being a SYPeer does require hard work, effort, and time. I can say with certainty that it is a very worthwhile experience. Knowing that I have made a difference to so many young people is tremendously gratifying. It is an experience that I would definitely recommend.

Everything that you learn and experience does not just stop at being a SYPeer; the skills you pick up, the friends you make go on to being a part of your life far beyond the organisation. I feel incredibly lucky to have had this opportunity. I know that when I leave the SYPeers, whenever that may be, I will leave a more confident, extrovert and responsible individual (but hopefully it will be a while before I get to that stage).

Check out the current opportunities to join the SYPeer Programme here.