Blog | Shaping Scouting: inside the Youth Council
Having joined as an Explorer, 19-year-old Ella MacLeod’s enthusiasm for all things Scouting made her a natural candidate for Derbyshire Youth Council. We spoke to her about what it’s like to be leading the youth-shaped movement from the front.
Hi Ella! How long have you been involved in Scouting?
It’s been nearly four years, after joining Trent Explorers in early 2012 (and blimey, how it’s flown by!). I’ve done all sorts since being invested, and have loved every minute of it - from doing my Explorer Belt in Denmark, to collecting my Queen’s Scout Award at Windsor Castle last year.
It sounds like you’ve achieved a lot in just four years! When did you join Derbyshire Youth Council?
There wasn’t a point that I ‘officially’ joined Derbyshire’s Youth Council, I was just kind of absorbed! It all started after seeing the YouShape 2015 event advertised - it struck me as something I had lots of opinions about, and that I was very interested in getting involved with.
How would you describe what the Youth Council does?
The Youth Council is a group of young people, largely made up of Explorers with some Scout and Network members. We discuss youth-led developments in the county, and also share ideas on how we can shape the future of Scouting in the most successful ways possible. It’s a great way to collect the views and opinions of young people within Scouting.
Why is youth-shaped an important concept to you?
Putting young people at the forefront of decision-making, in partnership with adults, makes us feel empowered, valued and proud. This has all kinds of positive repercussions within and outside of Scouting. I also think it’s key because improving youth involvement allows the Movement to continue to grow and adapt to meet the needs of young people. The more that happens, the more it opens the door to an even more children and young adults. I’m totally pro to encouraging youth-shaped Scouting across all areas of our movement!
Have you had the chance to attend a #YouShape event with the Youth Council?
I went to the one in London last February. It was such a great experience. I met like-minded young people from across the UK and had some really exciting discussions about the future of the movement. It’s given us the chance to develop a creative cross-pollination of ideas to further engage young people from our county.
Have you stayed in touch with people from the other Youth Councils?
Communication has been really strong between the Youth Commissioners and Youth Reps. We even hosted our very own County Youth Conference at beginning of November. It was very successful, with Wayne [Bulpitt] and Hannah [Kentish] popping in to say hi. I’m going to YouShape 2016 in Doncaster, so I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces there!
How have you used the skills you developed through the Youth Council?
I gained lots of skills being involved in the Youth Council, and I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity. It’s helped me develop the confidence to get involved with other opportunities of a similar nature at University, such as the Students’ Union Council. With my experience working at a similar level, representing Derbyshire Youth Council nationally at YouShape 2015, I managed to land a Councillor role.
A couple of Council meetings on, I’m pleased to say it’s going really well. Much to my surprise I was elected as the Faculty of Social Sciences Representative, which means I’ll sit in on the University Senate, chaired by the Vice Chancellor. How cool is that!
Are you still involved with Scouting now that you're at University?
I was determined that going to University wouldn’t mean dropping off the Scouting radar, so I did some research before moving and got in contact with a local Network group in Sheffield. I’m really glad I did, I’ve met lots of great people. I also try to keep in touch with my Network group at home during the holidays. Balancing University commitments and extra-curricular stuff can be challenging, but that just makes it all the nicer when I do get to see them!
Thanks for talking to us Ella – we think you’re going to go far! Best of luck with your position as Student’s Union Councillor, and we hope to see you at YouShape 2016.
If Ella has inspired you to find out more about Youth Councils, you can find more information here. Have a look at our roundup of the #YouShape 2016 event in February and join the conversation on social media using #youshape.