Local Youth Commissioners tell us about their experience so far
A year after the Local Youth Commissioner roles were created, we caught up with five young people who took the positions to hear their experiences
it has been a year since the County Youth Commissioner (CYC) and District Youth Commissioner (DYC) roles were first created. The CYCs and DYCs are appointed to represent the views and voices of the young people involved in Scouting locally, and to help make decisions about Programme activities alongside adult volunteers. These roles are important to really help embed Youth Shaped Scouting and reach the goals set out as part of Scouting For All.
We talked to five CYCs and DYCs who are flying the flag for Youth Shaped Scouting to see how they are finding life in their roles so far.
Frankie Smith, East Sussex County Youth Commissioner
When Frankie was an Explorer he volunteered as a Young Leader in his local Scout Troop. He helped make decisions about the Scouts’ activities and organised meetings. From there, he progressed to becoming an adult leader and now CYC.
‘Being the CYC is great – a real learning curve for me. When I was appointed,six other DYCs and my Deputy CYC were also appointed. I really enjoy the fact there is a team of us who work together. I’m learning how to manage and support volunteers as well as how the County and District teams work.
‘East Sussex is a very large County. Since being appointed, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about each District’s needs, and have been supported by the DYCs who know their District very well. Having their knowledge helps when coming up with plans on what we want to achieve and understanding how to support the District team.
‘In my role so far, along with the DYCs, I have set milestones we want to reach as a County. These are around putting into place the changes to the Scout Network, developing Young Leader training and setting up a youth team for every decision-making committee in the County. This year we ran a roadshow during #YouShape Week.We also held a youth forum on the weekend of YouShape for every section.
‘I enjoy having the chance to represent the voice of young people in County team meetings. I’m not the token young person at the table; I am instead a team member responsible for championing the young person’s voice.’
Anna Skipworth, Barking and Dagenham District Youth Commissioner
Anna got involved in Scouting aged 11, when her best friend Conor brought her along to Scouts as a way of staying in touch before they left for different secondary schools. When she was transitioning into becoming an adult volunteer she enrolled at the University of Essex to study modern history. She took a brief break from Scouting to concentrate on her studies, but soon realised she missed it.
‘It was actually Conor’s dad who got me back into Scouting. He asked me if I’d like to volunteer with an Explorer Unit that needed an extra pair of hands. Within three weeks I was putting in my application to become an Explorer Scout Leader.
‘It was my first leadership role. I just love every second of being an Explorer Scout Leader and the opportunities it gives me. I do this role as well as my DYC duties. I get to be a part of the planning meetings, which means being able to run the camps instead of just attending them!
‘I was appointed at the Greater North-East selection day along with my deputy. Since then we’ve been finding our feet in our roles. A lot of leaders are unsure about what Youth Shaped Scouting is, so we are looking at hosting a workshop to address this.
‘The first event we did as a District youth team was an activity day for all sections in the District. Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers ran activities and the young people chose which activity they wanted to do. We asked them if they had a good day and we received a massive “yes”. That’s when I thought, “Right I’ve done my job!”’
Matthew Mollart, Wiltshire County Youth Commissioner
Matthew is passionate about Youth Shaped and local Scouting. Before his role as CYC, he was a Young Leader and Youth Representative on his County Executive committee.
‘Since my appointment, my County Commissioner has been a guiding light for me and has helped me find my feet in the role. I was appointed at the end of 2015 and we are now appointing our DYC team.
‘This role gives me the chance to really make a difference to Scouting locally.
I enjoy visiting the different Districts in the County and find meeting the young people really rewarding. One of my highlights has been working on the County development plan, making sure it is Youth Shaped.
As a County team we are looking at how to meet Scouting for All, so I am concentrating on how to encourage young people to attend youth forums.
‘Going forward, I want to have regular youth forums. However, I do think they need to happen in the District first, which is why I’m looking forward to having the DYCs in place. I’m also looking at organising a Young Leader weekend. Young Leaders are the future of Scouting, so it’s important we give them their say.’
To read more about the County Youth Commissioner and District Youth Commissioner roles, visit the YouShape section on our website.
This story was originally printed in the March issue of Scouting Magazine. Read the full magazine online.