The Vice Chair Update from Terri Smith MSYP
It’s that time of the month again, and I’m back with more jokes and a fantastic update on the work of MSYPs. Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night have both passed, which can only mean one thing – I’ve started my Christmas countdown. There’s only 6 weeks to go!
I also just wanted to take this opportunity to encourage you all to make the most of what’s left of 2014, and in particular, urge you all to get involved in the final months of the Care.Fair.Share. campaign. This campaign has been fantastic, and the results we have achieved as a collective group are outstanding. With this in mind, I ask you to remember why Care.Fair.Share. is important, and go out there and make a difference. It’s time for the 2013-15 Scottish Youth Parliament Membership to make their mark!
Lauren King MSYP has been a fantastic campaign lead, and has shared a short message on why she is urging you all to get involved in the final months of the campaign: “Care.Fair.Share. is starting to reach the final hurdles, and in order to make our campaign successful, we need to keep up the momentum. I’m incredibly proud of all the hard work that every single MSYP has put into the campaign, and that is the sole reason it has been successful so far. The final few months are the most important, and I want to ensure we all make the most of the time we have left.”
Nationally, the last four weeks have been relatively quieter than usual for me. On Friday 17th October 2014, I travelled to Aberdeen to take part in the event organised by Aberdeen Youth Council who were hosting the Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Matthew W. Barzun. I also chaired the second Conveners Group Meeting, during which the Conveners got stuck into the planning of the new campaign. Towards the end of October, I attended Young Scot’s “Modern Apprenticeships Awards Evening” with Louise Cameron MSYP. It was great to hear the achievements of so many young people who have all ended up in positive destinations after the completion of their Modern Apprenticeship. Finally, in October, I went along to the Cross Party Group on Children and Young People to speak to the group about voter engagement, and how as a nation, we need to maintain our efforts and focus on engaging young people.
I facilitated a Question and Answer session with local decision makers at one of the youth groups in my constituency. This was a fantastic opportunity to be involved in more local work, and see young people setting the agenda of what they want their City Councillors to do. I’ve also been attending a wide range of meetings with the many schools and colleges in my local area to ensure they are aware of the changes to the EMA guidelines for young carers, and also to find out what additional funding they have in place for young carers, particularly in colleges.
Finally, at the beginning of November, the Edinburgh Youth Participation Mentors delivered their third event of 2014, engaging with many young people to find out what the next local campaign will be. The campaign topics included Votes at 16 and gender inequality – so keep an eye out for that too.
“Correction does much, but encouragement does more.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Great jokes as always. I received so many Christmas ones – so I’ve saved these for next month’s edition. My favourite ones for this month were as follows:
Best MSYP Jokes
Mason Rowan MSYP – Why are there no painkillers in the rainforest? Because the parrots-etamol.
Scott Simpson MSYP – What do you call a guitarist who trains chickens? Jimi Hen-Tricks.
Best Procedures Group Joke
Rhianne Carroll MSYP – Simba was walking too slow, so I told him to Mufasa.
Best Conveners Group Joke
Nairn McDonald MSYP – What do you get when you cross a dinosaur with fireworks? Dinomite.
Best Board Jokes
Sian Hughes MSYP – What do you get if you cross Terri with a dinosaur? A Terri-dactyl (of course this is my personal favourite haha).
You’ve all been crazily busy over the last month, and I couldn’t be more proud of the work you’re all doing. Please remember, if you want others to know about what you’re doing locally or nationally, and no matter how big or small you think it is, please get in touch.
My main shoutouts this month go to:
Gary Paterson MSYP – Gary is one of two UK Young Ambassadors for Scotland. A few weeks ago he went to Rome to attend the European Youth Conference with over one hundred young people from across Europe to decide on the proposals to tackle access barriers to youth rights and political participation. You can keep up to date with Gary’s work on his blog, which will soon be live.
Fife MSYPs – On Tuesday 4th November 2014, MSYPs took part in Fife’s Annual Youth Forum event, which generated a room full of young people and went spectacularly well, so well done.
Thomas Mair MSYP and Kayleigh Finnigan MSYP – Their hard work and involvement in their local Coatbridge Youth Conference was much appreciated.
Catherine Anne Hannah MSYP and Kaylee Mouat MSYP – Both Shetland MSYPs have been working incredibly hard on the Care.Fair.Share. campaign over the last month and have had a fantastic presence on Twitter.
South Lanarkshire MSYPs – They were very busy recently as they launched their 5th Youth Strategy for their local authority, and I’ve heard it was a massive success from so many people. Congratulations to all involved.
So much local and national work has been taking place over the last month, and it’s great to see the momentum is continuing. I can’t wait to hear about what you all get up to for the remainder of this year.
Mini Staff Interview
Now it is time for the second mini staff interview, and this month you all chose to interview Rebecca Marek. Rebecca is the Scottish Youth Parliament’s Parliamentary and Campaigns Officer, and has been working with us since November 2013.
Who inspires you in the world and why?
Strong women inspire me! From Hermione Granger (my favorite Harry Potter character) to Leslie Knope (my fictional hero), from Sally Ride (the first American woman in space) to Marie Curie (the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in both physics and chemistry), from Susan B. Anthony to Emmeline Pankhurst (suffragettes and activists), from Amelia Earhart (the first American woman to fly across the Atlantic) to Cecilie Skog (who has climbed the highest peak on each continent), from Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan’s first Female Prime Minister) to Aung San Suu Kyi (Myanmar’s advocate for democracy), from Dorothy Day (a Catholic social activist who served the poor) to Simone de Beauvior (a feminist author), I have always been inspired by strong women.
What does your job at SYP entail?
I think my job entails something different every day! My title is “Parliamentary and Campaigns Officer,” so most of my work is concentrated in these two areas. I arrange for MSYPs to meet with MSPs, coordinate our attendance at Cross Party Groups, monitor the goings-on in Parliament, organise stalls at party conferences, write letters to MSPs about the achievements of MSYPs, and think about ways SYP could influence policy. In terms of the campaign, I work with the Campaign Lead and the Conveners Group to develop the campaign strategy, write the campaign toolkit, and support MSYPs in running their regional campaigns. I’m also the unofficial office proof-reader in my spare time.
Congratulations are in order. We are all delighted to hear your wedding went well. If you could sum up your wedding experience in 3 words what would they be?
They would be: friendship, joy, and gratitude. It was amazing having so many family and friends together to celebrate, and I’m so thankful for everyone’s well wishes. In particular, the wedding party was incredible, taking goofy pictures in the rain and helping with a last minute dash to find the lost rings!
Finally, what have been your highlights so far working with SYP?
There have been a fair few, but it has certainly been amazing to see Care.Fair.Share. progress from the launch in January to key meetings with the Scottish Government this month. I’m so proud of all the work MSYPs have done to improve the lives of young carers. It is also great to see MSYPs in action at Sittings, creating and debating policy.
A massive thank you to Rebecca for taking part in the interview, and we wish you all the very best in married life. Remember to nominate the last staff member to be interviewed in 2014. There is a survey link where you can do this here. The online vote will close on Monday 1st December 2014. Also, don’t forget the Scottish MYPs will be taking part in the UKYP debate on Friday 14th November 2014, and you can watch it here.
As always, it’s been a pleasure to write my update for you all, and I hope you enjoy reading it. Next month’s update will be Christmas themed (which I am so excited about), so get all your jokes in, and I look forward to speaking with you all soon.
Terri Smith MSYP
Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament