Going to the last UK Youth Voice Weekend was very emotional but a truly memorable weekend for many!
UK Youth’s Avon Tyrrell in Brockenhurst is where all new and old UK Youth Voice members came together to celebrate, welcome, encourage and plan ahead.
Second years were leaving, first years becoming second years and new members were becoming first years!! New open-minded and driven people stepped up to become the new voices for young people in their regions.
Friday was the day we all arrived happy to see and meet everyone but so tired from the journey. We were definitely ready to pass out as soon as our head hit the pillow but excited for the weekend ahead.
Saturday, it was amazing to see everyone eager for the day ahead. We were all motivated to listen and learn of what was to come. First we heard from David Watts, Director of Avon Tyrrell giving us the history and safety rules of the old and beautiful house. Next the first years had Kayleigh and Hannah give them their induction of what was to come, while the second years had Wayne Bulpitt, UK Youth Trustee giving us an insight on what he does and how we could become a charity trustee in the future. Brendan and Maya did a great job next, letting us know what to expect from Voice and what is expected of us in our roles. Finally Joe gave us a brief session on how to handle social media to project to a wide platform which was really helpful for us all.
Later on in the afternoon we had a special guest! Sky Yarlett from UK Parliament Outreach Service came to talk to us about how we could make an impact in our local areas and what we would like improving and even how we could contact our local MP’s. Then came the team building challenges which was the most laughable experience I’ve ever had. I was proud to be in Team Blank where people were laughing all of the time! We all worked closely together as a team and managed to complete all the activities we had chosen (archery, handcuffs, defuse the bomb and many more). At the end along with help from our instructors Ben and Cameron, we even managed to build a catapult!
That night it was definitely time for everyone to let loose and have a blast. With DJ Hannah on the music everyone really enjoyed themselves, dancing and singing having an amazing time.
On Sunday morning we had a lovely presentation from Suhaib on his journey with UK Youth Voice over the past two years, then a speech by yours truly about things I have done in my 1 year on Voice so far. Afterwards we had Kayleigh talk to us about having our say in the Civil Society Strategy which was a really insightful session and means that young people will be prioritised in the strategy. After lunch we had a little award ceremony for all the leavers giving them each an award for the one thing we all love about them. When the awards were finished, we all started with the group photos! This made some people very emotional because UK Youth Voice has grown to be a big part of some people’s lives and now it was their time to leave and spread their wings but we will always be there for them.
UK Youth Voice is a family and these weekends just bring us closer together!! Good luck to all the leavers and let’s make the future better. And to the first years, let’s make this a memorable time for all of us!