I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first meeting with the rest of the UKYA for Structured Dialogue team, but I was so excited to find we would be getting straight down to planning out the next 18 months of our work. We looked at the three phases of the structured dialogue and then broke down the work we hoped to do before each of the European youth conferences. It was so exciting to learn that we would be travelling to Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria for this session’s conferences. It was also a bit terrifying to realise that our first conference in Tallin, Estonia would take place at the end of October, and we had so much work to do before it!
We drew up a huge timeline and papered the meeting room walls with it, plotting out our entire work plan for the next 18 months. It was a mammoth task but by the end of it I felt like we’d really got to grips with what we were embarking on. We have so much to do before we board our flights to Tallin! We’re planning on recruiting a squad of Structured Dialogue Champions to help us to carry out our youth consultations, so it’s been really interesting looking at how best to recruit young people who can help us to put together a really comprehensive piece of research that will make sure young peoples’ voices from all across the UK are heard.
We’re also in the process of identifying other charities and NGOs to work alongside, there are so many brilliant organisations out there that we’re really looking forward to sharing expertise with. It was great to realise that myself, Lucy and Bronagh, all come from very different campaigning backgrounds (Myself from GirlguidingUK, Lucy from the UKYP, and Bronagh from the Youth Select Commitee), so we all have links in lots of different places. This is going to be so useful in reaching out to a wide range of people and getting our work as UKYAs out there!
I think we all came away from the meeting feeling energised, as opposed to intimidated, by the colossal task facing us. I for one, have bought myself an enormous new diary and am pretty excited to watch it fill up with events and trips and deadlines. Look out Europe, here we come…