What is Year of Young People all about?
Year of Young People 2018 is an opportunity, devised by the Scottish Government, for generations to come together and celebrate our nation’s young people. It is a platform for our young people aged 8 to 26, to give them a stronger voice on issues which affect their lives, showcase their ideas and talents, and ultimately, aim to challenge status quo and create a more positive perception of them in society. Nationally, there are around 500 ambassadors, representing the young people in their areas. More information about the year can be found at: www.yoyp2018.scot.
How did you become involved in YOYP?
Back in August 2017, the organisations overseeing the year (Young Scot, Children in Scotland, Scottish Youth Parliament) started recruiting for young people across Scotland to be Ambassadors. I found out about the year via the Young Scot Rewards website. I had no idea what I was signing up for, really—it just seemed interesting!
Can you describe a few of the opportunities and experiences you’ve enjoyed since becoming an Ambassador?
So far as a YOYP 2018 Ambassador, I have been very fortunate to have met HRH Prince Harry and Ms. Markle at Holyrood Palace as part of their trip to Edinburgh in February. As well as pictures, there is a video about the Holyrood Palace event, in which I (briefly) appeared. As an Ambassador, I have also met singer and Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon, as part of an event in Perth last November. I was lucky enough to get a selfie with her too! Futhermore, I attended last November’s YOYP 2018 Ambassador Festivities day; this was a great, fun-filled day where I got to meet lots of other Ambassadors from across the country.
What is coming up next with the YOYP 2018?
There are lots of upcoming events being planned for Year of Young People, such as a special TEDxYouth@Glasgow conference in May, a festival in Perth called Diverse CiTay, and an open air music festival in July in Dunfermline. There are further national events, of course, and also many local events that take place near to one’s own community. There may also be opportunities to plan further local events.
Why do you think YOYP is important and is making a difference?
Young people these days are often viewed negatively—lazy, disengaged, trouble-makers, obsessed with technology. These stereotypes are dangerous. And, when it comes to decision-making that affects young people, often these decisions are made for young people, rather than with them. This needs to change. After all, ultimately these decisions affect young people.
Challenging these attitudes is very important, which is exactly what the year does. However, promoting and celebrating the nation’s young people shouldn’t be a one-time event; therefore, it’s important that YOYP’s legacy continues after 2018 ends. Scotland is the first country to dedicate a whole year to its young people, and I believe it will become a running trend amongst other countries.
How can someone become involved in YOYP themselves?
It’s great to hear that so many at Dollar Academy are interested in becoming involved with YOYP 2018. It is very important that people find out more about this fantastic year because lots of people aren’t aware of what a fantastic undertaking it is. Please feel free to come talk to me about YOYP, too—I’d love to tell you more about it. There is a website that you can explore as well (link below).
Find out how Year of Young People 2018 is inspiring Scotland and the rest of the world through its young people with ideas, events and activities. More information about the year can be found at:www.yoyp2018.scot