Celebrating International Youth Day

This International Youth Day, three young members tell us about their role promoting the work of uniformed youth groups

Sunday 12 August is International Youth Day

And we want to spend it celebrating young people in uniformed groups – like Girlguiding!

In particular, three young women who recently joined the Youth United Panel – Kate, Emily and Charlotte. Youth United work to make sure every young person, regardless of background or location, has the opportunity to become a member of an organised uniformed youth group.

Kate, Emily and Charlotte did amazing work representing Girlguiding, listening to other young people and speaking out about uniformed groups and the role they play in social integration. They’ve written a blog to let you know about the experience and share what they found out with you! Over to them.

What was it all about?

In March, we joined the Youth United Panel. This involved young people from uniformed groups, including Scouts, Air Cadets, Police Cadets and many more.

The panel was set up by Youth United and Leaders Unlocked (an organisation enabling young people and underrepresented groups to have a stronger voice on the issues that affect their lives). They wanted to produce research, led by and for young people, about what uniformed groups like Girlguiding have to offer. We were really interested to see how they encouraged social integration.

How did the panel learn about the impact of uniformed groups?

The first time the panel met, we spoke about what being part of a uniformed group meant to us. Even though we came from different organisations, and from across the country, we had a lot in common! We also talked about what social integration means.

To us, social integration is about encouraging and celebrating diversity, giving equal opportunities, and building relationships between different groups.

We used these conversations to create the questions that we asked during our research. We spoke to our own units, as well as other local units, and found it interesting to hear their opinions.

We the had the opportunity to present and celebrate what we discovered from our research to people from Government departments, and staff and volunteers from the organisations that we represented. We even spoke to one of the Prime Minister’s Special Advisors! It felt amazing to get our voices heard.

Did you get to go to Buckingham Palace?!

During our time with the panel we took part in two major opportunities. One included participating in an event at the Science Museum in London. This helped to promote the work of Science Technology Engineering and Maths and young people.

We also got to attend Buckingham Palace for HRH Prince of Wales’ 70th birthday Patronage event. This meant that people from all uniformed groups and the Princes Trust got to attend and learn more about one another. We then undertook roles to ensure the event ran smoothly and some of the panel even got to speak to members of the royal family – which was amazing.

This was such an incredible privilege, which I will always remember.

What did you gain?

The Youth Panel was an incredible experience! The best part was seeing all our research and ideas being collected together and given to key individuals such as members of Government.

As young women, it’s important that we’re heard and that our ideas and work is recognised by decision makers.

We gained a greater understanding of the issues that face us, our organisation and other uniformed groups alike. For instance, our main finding was that members of uniformed youth groups, such as Girlguiding members, are 28% more likely to take part in social action than those not in a uniformed group. This is a wonderful example of why uniformed youth groups are so important.

We developed our confidence and commitment to social action. As well as developing our public speaking skills, we had opportunities to speak to groups of all sizes. For example, I was proud of us being able to make recommendations for the future of uniformed groups. This included recommending how funding should be spread across the country. This made us feel valued and our commitment to both Guiding and social action was both meaningful and purposeful.

How can I get involved?

The panel showed that uniformed groups support young people to get involved in social action. Social action helps to encourage integration and has a positive impact on individuals and their community.

Find out how you can take part in social action through Girlguiding. Let’s make this International Youth Day a chance to help one another and take part in social action!