Ever since I found out that I’d been chosen to be one of three UK Young Ambassadors (UKYA) for Structured Dialogue and European Policy, I had been looking forward to our first residential. I got the train down to London, and although I was nervous, I was excited to meet the other UKYA and to begin my journey as a UK Young Ambassador; representing the young people of the UK on an international scale. I successfully made my way to the BYC (British youth Council) offices, getting lost far fewer times than I had on the way to my UKYA interview. It was lovely to meet the other UKYA, Susie and Bronagh, and the BYC staff that would be helping and guiding us in our roles throughout the next 18 months. Each of us, myself, Susie and Bronagh had become involved with youth voice and UKYA via different organisations, I had been a Member of the UK Youth Parliament, Bronagh, a Member of the Youth Select Committee, and Susie, a Girlguiding delegate; it was a great opportunity to learn more about other BYC member organisations and to listen to the other UKYA experiences within youth voice.
We began by discussing what our hopes, fears and expectations were during our time as UKYA, it was clear that all three of us were hoping to learn about European policy and the structure of the EU during our time as UKYA, and to have the opportunity to represent the young people of the UK and to ensure that their voices were heard at the EU Youth Conferences (EUYC) during our 18 month term of office. These EUYC are held every six months, in Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria, over the next 18 months. Each EUYC will be part of a different phase of the Structured Dialogue process and we spent much of our weekend developing a work plan, organising how we would use our time as UKYA. We discussed which partners and organisations we would use to help us in our research and how we intended to attend and organise events to carry out our Structured Dialogue consultation.
I had an incredible weekend; I was able to meet some amazing young people, try some delicious Mexican food and learn huge amounts about the Structured Dialogue programme and the European Union. I’m extremely excited to continue working with both Susie and Bronagh over the next year and a half, I’m looking forward to hearing what the views and opinions of the young people of the UK are regarding the European Union and ‘The Future of Europe’, and of representing these young people on an international scale.
Aitäh lugemise eest! (I’m trying to get started with learning a little bit of Estonian.)