Blog | Launching a Regional Youth Advisory Group
As #YouShape Month reaches an end, we wanted to highlight how one Scottish Region has launched its Regional Youth Advisory Group. We asked, Kenan Ingram, Chair of the Regional Youth Advisory Group (also known as Regional Youth Commissioner), about West Region’s journey to their first Regional Youth Advisory Group (RYAG) Meeting.
“After last year's ScotShape our Regional Commissioner Stephen Allan invited all West Region attendees to discuss what we wanted to achieve in the Region, as well as shape the direction of our RYAG. About 15 young people attended and I was delighted to be selected by the other attendees to be the Region’s first Chair of the Regional Youth Advisory Group (also known as the Regional Youth Commissioner).
“We agreed that it was a big task to establish the RYAG so we agreed to select Marc McGhee as our Depute Regional Youth Commissioner. We are working together to recruit more members from across the five Districts in the Region. Marc and I also sit on the National Youth Advisory Group so we can make sure that the views of our Region reach the top.
“During September and October, Marc and I visited each of the five Districts and spoke to Explorer Scouts and Scout Network Members about the purpose of the RYAG. We were able to recruit eight young people from four out of five Districts to attend the first official meeting in November.
“The biggest challenge for us as a Region is our geography. It takes around six hours to drive from the top of the Region to the bottom! We are looking at how the RYAG can support young people from across the Region as well as encourage attendance from all the districts. We are determined to have representation by all five Districts.
“The most important aspect of a successful RYAG will be tangible actions at the end of meetings. In November, we challenged every young person to support their District to set up their District Youth Advisory Group (DYAG) before the next meeting of the RYAG. I hope that from these Groups, we will see some Chairs of District Youth Advisory Group elected. These young people are also known as District Youth Commissioners.
“I know that our Regional Commissioner is working hard to appoint an Assistant Regional Commissioner (Youth Involvement) and that adult appointment will be very important in supporting us to make a real difference.
“Youth Involvement in West Region is progressing well. The recently launched Youth Approved Award is going to propel Youth Involvement forward and maintain focus towards progress. The Scouts Scotland team is doing a great job to support Regions and this support will be key going forward to further embed Youth Involvement. Although we have seen huge progress so far, it is important that we don’t rest and everyone involved continues to drive forward increased youth involvement at all levels.