Hello everyone; it’s just me again.
We are now at the end of what I have been calling ‘manic March.’ Last month, we saw the 2015 Scottish Youth Parliament national elections come to an almighty end. We all attended the Scottish Youth Parliament’s 56th National Sitting in the capital city, Edinburgh. As well as this, we got dressed to the nines for the ever so fantastic annual SYP Awards ceremony, which took place at Edinburgh Zoo this year. This month, I’ve now totally given up on watching TV, partly because I’ve not had the time, but also because there is nothing remotely exciting to watch.
It’s now officially British summer time (or in Scotland, extended winter), Mother’s Day has been and gone, and Easter is fast-approaching. I hope you all have an enjoyable April, and I hope you didn’t overdo the April Fools’ Day pranks (I certainly did not), and don’t eat too much chocolate.
What has your Vice Chair been up to?
At the beginning of the month, I went down to London to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Celebration Day of a ‘Young Commonwealth’ with Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament. This was a fantastic event where I met young people from all over the Commonwealth and had the opportunity to speak to ambassadors from around the world. At the Sitting in Edinburgh, I made my last and ever-so-emotional Vice Chair speech to all of you, which I hope you enjoyed. I had the pleasure of attending and presenting an award at the SYP Awards ceremony. Last week, I went up to Inverness with five other MSYPs and I co-chaired the Children and Young People’s Summit with the Scottish Government, young people, and Children in Scotland. The event was attended Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, and her Cabinet, who I believe thoroughly enjoyed the event. Lastly, I attended the We-CTV Awards Ceremony in Glasgow, which was a unique experience to showcase the creativity and talents of Scotland’s young people, as well as emphasise the importance of tackling interpersonal violence.
I was proud to tune in online to watch the City of Edinburgh Council’s last full meeting, where they debated and unanimously supported a motion in support of the Scottish Youth Parliament’s campaign for 2015, POVERTY: See It Change It, as well as pledging to do more to combat child and youth poverty. Apart from that, it’s been fairly quietly locally while the national elections have been in full swing. I would like to take a minute to say a special well done to all the young people in Edinburgh who took part in the #SYPElex.
“Things do not get better by chance, they get better by change.” I don’t know where this quote originates from, but it comes with a story attached. Over the last few weeks, I haven’t been myself and someone was kind enough to remind me that I had written this quote in my 2011 SYP Manifesto. I think it has a very poignant meaning and reflects our organisation, which we all love and cherish well.
I had so many jokes sent me this time that I found it hard to choose the best ones, but thank you as always.
Best Board Joke
Nairn McDonald MSYP – Can February March? No but April May.
Best Conveners Group Joke
Nancy Russell MSYP – I used to think there was an ocean of fizzy juice – but it was a fanta sea.
Best Procedures Group Joke
Robbie Nicoll MSYP – What do you call a security guard at a Samsung store? Guardian of the Galaxy.
Best MSYP Joke
Denzel Darku MSYP – Who is the best and most good looking guy at the hospital? The ultra-sound guy.
Kirsty McCahill MSYP – Congratulations on your election as Chair of South Aryshire Youth Forum.
Kayleigh Finnigan MSYP – Congratulations on your election as Chair of North Lanarkshire Youth Council.
Big shoutout to the We-CTV Champions for their work and commitment to the project, but in particular, well done to Melissa Gorman MSYP, Martyna Napiereska MSYP, Thomas McEachan MSYP, and Rachael McCully MSYP, for their enthusiasm at the award ceremony last week – “popcorn anyone.”
I’d finally like to give a huge shout out to the winners from the #SYPAawards15 – you highlighted just how much MSYPs go above and beyond what is expected of them, and every one was a worthy winner and true ambassador to the young people of Scotland.
Mini Staff Interview
The staff interview for this month is with Hamira Khan, who is sadly leaving SYP in just over one week. For anyone who doesn’t know, this ever-so fabulous lady is the Chief Executive of the Scottish Youth Parliament and has been working with us since August 2010.
1) How would you describe your time at SYP?
I’ve had the privilege to work with 3 sets of membership over my (nearly) 5 years at SYP. My time here has been inspiring, fun, often challenging, and occasionally infuriating – exactly the right mix as far as I’m concerned! A key trait of my work has been the people I’ve had the privilege to work with, inc. MSYPs past and present, Support Workers, the SYP staff team and partner organisations. All of whom have been greatly passionate about what they do and a joy to be around.
2) What is your favourite quote and why?
I really love this question because if you ask anyone in the office, they’ll tell you I’m always sharing quotes or taking pics of good quotes and saving them for when I need an inspirational top-up.
My favourite quote is by the American author and poet Maya Angelou:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
3) What is your favourite thing about Scotland and why?
Definitely the people; they’re absolutely hilarious. So funny, cheeky and borderline inappropriate, and we always get away with it just because we’re Scottish. I’ve also noticed that wherever you travel in the world everyone loves it when you say you’re from Scotland, because they know we’re hard working people, we’re polite but forthright and honest. We’ll say what we mean. We’re brave, stubborn, and courageous, but most importantly we’re practical and down-to-earth. I think we’re a nation of very grounded and matter-of-fact people, who don’t like pretenses or ‘fake-ness’. I’m moving abroad with my new job, but Scotland will always be my home and I’ll forever champion Scottish people and Scottish culture.
4) What do you like to do in your spare time?
The week is always about work and luckily I have a husband who understands and respects the fact I am career driven and love my job. I get home very late during the week and normally have a catch up with Ali about our day, watch some news and potter around before bed and getting up early again for my daily commute. So at the weekends when I have spare time, I cherish them enormously and for me my weekend (unless it’s a Sitting!) is all about family and food.
A typical weekend would be going out for breakfast in the West End of Glasgow where I live, followed by a walk and lots of fresh air (or if it’s raining watching a DVD whilst lazing around indoors). I’m currently on House of Cards, or my secret fixation – Come Dine with Me (don’t judge!). In the evening we always have plans with family or friends, which is normally dinner somewhere nice with lots of good conversation and sharing stories.
Generally speaking in my spare time I’m quite into Bikram Yoga, cooking and I love a bit of interior design. I’ve always got a ‘project’ on the go at home. Currently I’m making my own seating booth in the kitchen. Will share pics when it’s finally ready
5) Do you have any advice for our MSYPs?
Put yourself forward for opportunities. Don’t wait for the ‘right time’ – go for it. Be courageous. Always be polite to others around you. Listen with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply. Surround yourself with positive people who will continue to motivate and inspire you. Be kinder to yourself – you’re brilliant and if you don’t believe it, then who else will? Always challenge yourself to do more and do better. And of course there’s going to be days when you’re feeling down – but what you need to do is just pick yourself up and carry on and keep going and going – until you get to where you want to be and you achieve those goals you set out to achieve. Nothing’s going to land on your doorstep; you must go out and get it and live that dream.
MSYPs have shared their thoughts on the Children and Young People’s Summit in Inverness:
Jordan Linden MSYP – “The opportunity to engage with young people and to hear their views on the important issues facing Scotland today in the presence of the First Minister and her Cabinet was a privilege. I hope that they listen to the amazing views and take them forward in their actions.”
Nicola Bruley MSYP – “Inspiring to see young people be engaged with the people who make the decisions of our country.”
MSYPs’ thoughts on #SYP56:
John Thain MSYP – “A fabulous way to end a fabulous two years”
Luke McLeod MSYP – “It was a momentous way to end a Membership which has had highs and lows for every member! It was a great end of an era for Hamira, and I wish all the MSYPs leaving us a bright and prosperous future.”
The Procedures Group are going to close their consultation survey on Subject Committees soon, so make sure you have your say.
That’s all from me for March. I hope you all enjoyed this month as much as I did, and I look toward to hearing what you get up to in coming weeks. In the meantime, any questions, queries, or of course banter, send it my way.
Terri Smith MSYP
Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament