Top tips for MSYPs

Scottish Youth Parliament's avatar

Scottish Youth Parliament

22 June 2017

Dear MSYP Elect,


You’ve got a special job to do and it’s going to be a rollercoaster ride.

They all believe in you - your friends, your family, your teachers and your constituents. They trust that you will be an amazing MSYP. They have faith in your passion, determination, and dedication and we’re sure that they aren’t wrong to think that. You were elected, after all!

They know that you will give this experience your all, and that you will be the best representative for young people that you possibly can be.

They know that you will live and breathe the values of SYP – democracy, inclusivity, political impartiality, and rights – and that you will take every opportunity to make the change that you want to see.

We believe in you, too, and we know that you’re probably more than a little bit nervous.

We were just like you when we first started. We, like you, were terrified to get onto the SYP rollercoaster ride because we didn’t know where it was going to take us. Would it be a short and scary ride which would crash, or an amazing experience with the opportunity to develop ourselves and make lifelong friends?

We’re happy to say it’s been the latter.

Our SYP journeys have been unforgettable, and we’re incredibly excited to meet you all in a few weeks and begin working together to make a difference to the lives of Scotland’s young people.

To help you begin your SYP journey on the best footing possible, we decided to share some our top tips to being an MSYP with you. These tips will hopefully mean that come the first Sitting, you will feel ready to carry out your role!


1.  Other MSYPs will be one of your greatest resources. Learn to work in a team with other MSYPs and make use of each other’s strengths, while helping with their weaknesses. Nobody is good at everything, and working together we can achieve so much more than working alone.


2.  Be friendly and make as many friends as possible. SYP is like a big, sometimes dysfunctional, family and the best SYP memories are made alongside each other. SYP allows you to make friends with people you wouldn’t ordinarily meet - you might just learn a little bit about a different part of Scotland too!


3.  Before every Sitting, make sure you read the MSYP Pack! The MSYP Pack has all of the essential information you will need to carry out your role as an MSYP at a Sitting, like the agenda, information about breakout sessions and keynote speakers, as well as the full list of Members’ Motions which will be debated. This MSYP Pack takes the staff a lot of time to produce so it’s important that you utilise it!


4.  Consult! Consult! Consult! Before every Sitting, make sure that you consult in a varied and meaningful way. As MSYPs, we are tasked with representing the views of our constituents/voluntary organisation, not our own. Ask the people who you represent what they think about Members’ Motions and be sure to collect the numbers who agree/disagree as you will be asked how many people you have consulted at the sitting.


5.  Make sure to maintain a social media presence that is both youth-friendly and adheres to the SYP Social Media Policy! Many MSYPs are very active on both Twitter and Facebook, and make use of these platforms to share the work that they do but to also to keep in contact with the people that they represent. When tweeting/posting make sure to tag @OfficialSYP, as this is one of the ways that the SYP staff can find out what you are up to. If you do this you might even feature in SYP news!


6.  When posting on social media, make sure to use interesting images and videos to grab the attention of the young people you represent. Scientific evidence has proven that while using social media the attention span of users has gradually decreased over time to a couple seconds. It’s therefore important to engage people quickly so that they can read your blog, fill out your survey, or engage with a question you’ve asked! Images, videos and GIFs are a good way to do this!


7.  Keep a diary! This is probably one of the most important tips on the list. There’s nothing worse than double booking something and having to prioritise between two meetings/events. If you keep a diary (digital or physical) you will be able to keep track of where you’re supposed to be at any given time!


8.  Throw yourself into committee work! SYP’s committees are one of the most important elements of the organisation. They are the backbone of SYP’s policy, and the more you put into your committee, the more you are bound to get back! Make sure to hold your convener and depute convener to account and do some great committee work together. Whatever you do with your committee, make sure to have fun!


9.  If you’re a constituency MSP, make sure to get in contact with the other local representatives in your area (MPs, MSPs, councillors, community councillors, etc.). If you’re a voluntary organisation MSYP, you could do the same too!


10.  Always be daring and try new things and remember: you will get out of SYP what you put into it!


We hope that you will take these tips and use them to be the best that YOU can be!


The Creative Communications Team (2016-17)