Celebrating the #PowerOfYouth during Volunteers' Week
Robbie, a volunteer for the Boys' Brigade and member of the Youth Work Awards Co-Design Team, has blogged for us this Volunteers Week on the #PowerOfYouth Day to share what motivates him to volunteer and why we should all celebrate the contribution of volunteers to Scotland’s society.
My volunteering journey so far
I have been involved in volunteering roles from a young age. My first venture into volunteering was at the age of 13, helping out at my local youth group for primary school kids. From there, I went on to help out at Boys’ Brigade with the younger kids as I was progressing through my teens. My responsibilities stepped up a notch here and it’s a role I still continue with today!
As I started my path of gaining my Queens Badge, I volunteered at an additional youth club and another Boy’s Brigade company. These roles focused on working with children who faced poverty, disabilities and learning difficulties. As I reached the legal age to work, I was employed by the local council as a youth worker, in the clubs that I already volunteered at, bringing me great pride in being paid to do something you love!
My passion didn’t stop me there; I also set out to do my two years of staff training at Boys’ Brigade, leapfrogging me from the Rank of Sargent to Lieutenant after the course. During my training, I attended many events as a young leader to showcase what it’s all about and the impact young leaders have. My proudest ‘gig’ was speaking in front of the Scottish Guild about the impact Boys’ Brigade has had on my life, and what young leaders can bring to the lives of young boys.
After completing my staff training (known as KGVI), I took over the role of Officer in Charge of the Junior Section at one of my Boys’ Brigade companies. This meant I oversaw and organised the activities that the boys took part in. I have also been brought onto my local Boys’ Brigade Battalions Executive, where my role includes organising many events and overseeing the running of them. I help to ensure great participation from boys to give them extra opportunities that they wouldn’t get on any normal company night. Most recently, I was a member of the National Youth Work Awards Co-Design Team and Judging Panel, which brought me great pride in organising an event which celebrates my passion!
Why volunteering is important
I choose to do all of the above due to my passion for youth work. To me, it is important to have that passion. It means that I will always put 110% effort into everything I do with youth and ensure I will prioritise the children’s interests over my own. I continue to volunteer due to the many opportunities that volunteering brings me, such as the invitation to share my story at many different events, or the great boost to my CV that will open many doors to my future.
I feel that it is important for organisations to include young people in volunteering roles, if not crucial. Older volunteers won’t last forever, and neither will we! So bringing in a steady flow of young people every year will ensure that youth work and volunteering never ends. It also means that, for young people, activities will be fresh and new as they meet different volunteers which I hope will lead to an increase in attendance!
Although it is a true saying that young people are the future of tomorrow, it is important to understand that we are the GENERATION OF TODAY. Young people have everything it takes to be successful, so organisations HAVE TO give us that opportunity!
If your footie team won a cup, and you didn’t celebrate it, what would be the point in winning it? The same applies to youth work. If we didn’t celebrate volunteers and recognise the amazing work they have done, then why volunteer at all? I’m not saying volunteering is about glory, it is about the children (or persons) themselves, however, if volunteering was not recognised, then others would not see the work that volunteers have done and the difference they have made to their children! Their grandchildren! The nieces and nephews! It’s crucial!
Celebrating volunteering keeps it alive. Scotland already does celebrate volunteering massively with many events (including the National Youth Work Awards) taking place all over the nation! What can you do? Attend these events. Go see the difference that your child is getting from volunteers, go see what volunteering could do for you.
Another thing, social media! Share articles about youth work or things you have done at your local youth club, hospice, or old folk’s home! As TODAYS GENERATION will know, social media is a thing of today, let’s use it to our advantage!