On the evening of 7 March, SNH hosted a Parliamentary Reception in partnership with Young Scot in celebration of the Year of Young People 2018 (YoYP2018). The Reception was held at The Scottish Parliament, Holyrood in Edinburgh. Our YoYP Graduate Placement, Steven Sinclair, provides an overview of this exciting evening.
The Parliamentary Reception was a platform to recognise and celebrate the contributions and talents of young people; to highlight the work SNH and its partners do to encourage and empower young people to engage with and care for the natural environment; and to inspire organisations across Scotland to find new ways of working with and for young people. The Reception became an opportunity to discover new programmes and initiatives for young people to get involved with to shape the future of Scotland’s environment, and to meet with those working within nature and youth-based sectors.
The Year of Young People 2018 is the current Scottish Government’s themed year, and is driven by six key themes: Participation, Education, Equality and Discrimination, Health and Wellbeing, Enterprise and Regeneration, and Culture.
Over 600 young people and 200 stakeholders took part in the planning process, making recommendations about what the aims, objectives and themes of the year should be. Now that YoYP2018 is fully underway, the year has been used as an evolving movement by many organisations across Scotland to find new ways of working with young people by bringing them into the process through active participation in the design, planning and delivery of youth-focussed activities.
For SNH, YoYP2018 is an opportunity to continue the work we do with young people through a variety of projects (i.e. Path Skillz, Teaching in Nature and Learning In Local Greenspace (LiLG)), and to seek new ways to engage young people in the natural environment through our work. This process continues, with collaboration between SNH and YoungScot through ReRoute – Scotland’s Youth Biodiversity Panel – working to involve young people in Scotland’s nature and outdoors.
In the spirit of YoYP2018, the Parliamentary Reception was co-designed by young people. Traditional barriers to their involvement were identified by young people during the initial consultation and design and consequently challenged during the planning stage. Suggestions taken forward included a more casual dress code and abundant opportunities for people to learn, meet organisations and talk to fellow young people. A variety of engaging stalls, demonstrations and activities were developed: attendees were encouraged to participate with a Mix-and-Match nature bingo card adorned with one of the Scottish Big Five, encouraging intergenerational mingling and the collection of stamps for a branded SNH ‘keep-cup’. Some of the activities included finding another two individuals with the same Big Five animal as yourself; speaking to and learning more about the work of a young person; and asking an MSP what they propose to do for young people in 2018.
The event was launched by a line-up of key speakers. Spear-headed by YoYP Ambassador Gordon Hamilton and ReRoute members Ryan McDonagh and Katie Grimmond, they highlighted the importance of recognising the strength of young voices and their contributions to nature across Scotland. Following speeches from Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Jenny Gilruth MSP and SNH Chair Mike Cantlay, attendees were invited to make a pledge on the main centrepiece, The Pledge Wall, about what they will do for young people and nature in 2018. Encouragingly, the wall was filled with a plethora of positive ideas and promises indicating the passion and drive to ensure Scotland’s nature and young people exist at the centre of action.
To further highlight the contributions and talents of young people during the evening, the SNH gave over the controls of the corporate Twitter feed to four Young Scot Digital Creative Modern Apprentices, assisted by the SNH Year of Young People 2018 Graduate Placement, Steven Sinclair. For the duration of the event, these individuals sourced content for Twitter in the form of photographs and videos from the night, resources, updates and quotes from attendees. A beneficial undertaking, this opportunity allowed the MAs to refine their creative and team-working skills, while providing an exciting reactive experience for those unable to attend. A fruitful endeavour, content generated on the night positively demonstrated the high standard of creativity, and reactive innovation of young people using digital technologies.
For those unable to attend, the key speeches were streamed live on Facebook, and attendees were encouraged to share updates and messages on social media using the hashtags #connectingpeopleandnature and #YoYP2018 providing an excellent repository of media coverage from the event.
The evening was attended by over 400 people from environment and youth-based organisation across Scotland, remarked as one of the largest ever witnessed at Scottish Parliament. As such, the event was an ideal opportunity to showcase the variety of current projects young people are participating in as part of the YoYP2018 endeavour, to foster new working and contacts and develop new avenues of interest.
The event was attended by a variety of organisations including SNH MAs, Junior Rangers and Graduate Placements; Young Scot YoYP Ambassadors, Communic18 and ReRoute members and uniformed youth groups including the Sea Cadets, Air Cadets, Scouts and Guides.
Have a look at the compilation video of highlights put together by SNH Graduate Placement Steven Sinclair.