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The YOUTH INVOLVEMENT PROJECT and our first YOUTH4UM! event

Scouting in Cambridgeshire is working towards the 2018 Vision for UK Scouting, and part of that vision is for us to be a movement ‘shaped by young people in partnership with adults’. Our first steps towards achieving this have seen the creation of YIPEE! - a Youth Involvement Project, run by a team made up entirely of young (13-25 year old) members of the County.

 

One of their first key ventures, at the beginning of April, was to run a youth forum weekend that they named the “YOUTH4UM!”, and invited along a range of young people from across the County to share their ideas and review what Scouting in Cambridgeshire and nationally is currently offering them.

With all the information gathered, the YIPEE! team has already started looking at what changes the youth membership of Cambridgeshire would like to see in the Scouting we offer them, and over the coming months, will be working with the adult leadership teams within the County and with the DCs and their District teams to start to build and develop work of the Youth Involvement Project throughout the County, helping our youth members feel empowered and engaged in their Scouting.

Here’s a report of the event from the YIPEE! team and some of the attendees…

Cambridgeshire Scouts YOUTH4UM! 2013

Our first youth forum … what was it all about?
Well, we gathered together a group of young people from all over the County to talk about what Scouting in Cambridgeshire meant to them and what they want it to be in the future. What did they talk about? Here’s what in their words…

“Scouts and Explorers gave their views to the youth team to discuss ideas about what we wanted to be improved or added to scouting. We discussed things like activities and communication and upcoming events. I thoroughly enjoyed giving my views and opinions about different areas in scouting, as I think it’s important for the young voices to have their opinion counted.

I also enjoyed meeting new people from across the County and doing team building activities, such as, building the highest tower out of newspaper and team competitions such as on go karts. The YOUTH4UM! has helped me gain new skills and I can’t wait to do/help more towards the future of scouting In Cambridgeshire and even Nationally or Internationally.”
Angela, 15, Newmarket Explorer

“I had a great weekend and I think the Youth4um went extremely well. There were young people with many ideas to put across. Working in small groups to talk to the young people meant the ideas were heard and then could be related to the rest of the groups. This was a very successful exercise.

I’m glad I’ve been able to participate in this event. I think it is important for the youth to have their say in how scouting in Cambridgeshire can move forward. I’m excited by the prospect of being involved in the development of this initiative.”
Jess, 15, Fenland Explorer & YIPEE! team Youth Agent

Over the weekend we looked at Scouting as a whole; and how it is offered to us. What was from ‘sub-zero’ cool to ‘seriously uncool’ across the board of topics, from uniform to religion & politics in scouting, from activities we do to the leaders that run them for us. No topic was off limits and if anyone had a view, they had the chance to let it be known! As a group we decided where on the ‘Cool Wall’ all the scouting topics we discussed should end up. This helped us target areas to talk about more over the weekend.

We looked at some of the activities and event on offer from across the County, including those from Districts, and from further afield, like other Counties, National and International events. As a group we looked at how successful they were, if they offered the right sort of adventure & challenge, for the right age range, then how they might be developed or improved to be more appropriate and relevant to youth members of today.

We also looked at the barriers that we, as youth members, feel are affecting our Scouting. We found that lack of information and poor communication was one of the biggest barriers. Not finding out about events and activities that we’d really like to have gone on seemed to be common amongst all of us. We looked at how we could resolve this, and how we would like to be communicated with in the future, and also how we would like to be consulted and more involved in future planning.

Right from the start, the event aimed to embrace technology too, as we decided mobile phones were allowed and we’d get everyone involved in tweeting our discussions over the weekend. It was a great success, and as well as lots of interest from other counties who are building youth teams and planning on holding their own youth forums, we even had Bear Grylls re-tweeting us!

It wasn’t all hard work and discussions, as well as the serious work we got to meet other young people from all over the County, have fun, try out some of the challenges at Gilwell, sit round a campfire chatting and enjoy our Scouting, just like all young people want to do.

We came away from the weekend feeling positive and ready to engage in our future Scouting – having a voice and being heard means a lot.

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If you would like to find out more about the work of the YIPEE team or are a young person and would like to become involved in the team as a Youth Captain (18-25) or a Youth Agent (13-19), please contact Marcus Coulson, the ACC for Youth Involvement – email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.