Closing Statements – Saturday Afternoon
Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament
Good afternoon everyone!
We have reached the end of our 56th National Sitting. What an incredible two days it has been.
This membership has certainly gone out with a bang and the lasting legacy you have created through our young voter engagement work for referendum, the positive changes for young carers made through our Care.Fair.Share campaign, ensuring Votes at 16 was included in the Smith Commission proposals, and the beginnings of the Poverty campaign have really demonstrated just what this membership is made of, and the difference you have made.
I would like to, for one final time, thank you for electing me as Chair of this organisation. It has been an opportunity I have cherished and I hope that I have done you proud!
It hasn’t always been easy, but there are few things that are worth achieving in life that come without challenges. As with any work, the more you put into it the more you get out and I would not change this year for anything. I am so proud of everything our membership has achieved. As a membership, we have made an incredible impact, and done our bit to ensure Scotland is a nation that listens to its young people.
It would be wrong of me to let the Sitting draw to an end without acknowledging one very special person, who has dedicated so much of their life to SYP.
I know many of you will join me in wishing Hamira all the happiness and success for the future. I think we can all agree SYP is in a very different and better place than it was prior to her joining us. Her drive, commitment and professionalism have taken our organisation to a new level and her shoes will be extremely hard to fill.
Hamira has been an inspiration to me and many other young people, and has constantly supported me and so many others whenever we have needed her. I would just like to take this opportunity to thank Hamira, for all the work she has done for SYP, for all the young people she has inspired and for all the memories and laughs we have had with her and to wish her the best of luck for the future.
Leaving the organisation is very hard for me, especially when it has been such a huge part of my life and has really changed it for the better. I am so grateful for every opportunity I have been provided with, every memory I’ll cherish, every skill I have gained and probably most importantly every friendship I have made along the way.
SYP has given me a chance to make myself, to find out who I really am and to be proud of the opinions I have and the work I do. I hope that the organisation has contributed to all of your lives as much as it has to mine, and that you all feel like you have made a difference to the lives of young people in Scotland, because you have, just by being part of this wonderful organisation.
But the difference you have made goes beyond just being involved. The results of our engagement before the referendum when we were registering young people to vote, the success we have had raising awareness and having influence in parliament during Care.Fair.Share., and our success in ensuring votes at 16 will be a reality for the Scottish Parliament elections next year really prove the impact we are having on politics in this country, and it just shows that when we all act collectively, our voice is loud and it is certainly heard.
I want to give a huge thank you to the entire staff team, who really do not take enough credit for all the work they do. We are so lucky to have such a dedicated and talented team who work so well as a unit, and continuously deliver the highest quality of work. Every single staff member is so strong in their field and it really is easy working with them because they are all absolute experts and they share the SYP vision! I love going into the office and working in such a cheery and fun environment, but at the same time I am able to see how skilled they all are and how much they love their jobs. We really cannot thank you all enough for everything you do day in and day out and it is an absolute pleasure working with you all.
The Board, well what can I say about them. We have really come into ourselves these past few months and I am so proud of how far we have all come individually but also as a team. We are like brothers and sisters in the way that we don’t always agree on everything, but we certainly do all love each other! They really don’t know how proud I have been of them all, particularly following our ‘Dare2Lead’ day where we all just began to click as a group. Each person brings something different to the table which I think makes it so special and although we are sad to have lost two members, Sian and David, we know we that the remaining five of us can deliver, it just means we are all working a lot harder to make sure the organisation is the best it can be.
My dearest Terri, my Vice Chair, the robin to my batman, what would I do without you! Terri has certainly made the job a little bit brighter on the worst of days and has always been there to make me laugh when I’m on the verge of tears. I wouldn’t change having Terri as my Vice Chair for anyone else, she always knows what to say and has been a really great support when I have needed her the most. Thanks Terri, for every time you have been there for me over the last year and for all the laughs along the way.
Rarely will I get the opportunity to sit in a room surrounded by so many people who inspire me, by people who make me want to work harder and make a change to the world around me, and by people as selfless as so many of you.
There are people in this room who I will keep in touch with forever, people who I will see on the TV and go ‘I know them!’, people I will watch go on to do incredible things, and I will be so proud of each and every one of you with whatever you do and wish you all the best of luck.
Thank you to all of you for all the work you have put in over your time in SYP and, for many of you, the time you will continue to put in. The beautiful thing about SYP is that it only works when people work collectively. Put simply, without your effort and passion, there would be no SYP. It has been an absolute honour to represent you all as Chair and I am so proud of everything we have achieved together.
My words of advice to you all are keep doing what you love. Keep battling on for what you believe in and make sure that young people continue to be high on the agenda.
No idea is too small and no dream is too big.