AGM Fever – Wee message to Members of Scottish Youth Parliament

So I got a phonecall this month asking if I would serve as Returning Officer for the Scottish Youth Parliament’s Annual General Meeting. That mainly involves overseeing the hustings, speeches and ballot count of the 2012-13 Board of Trustees elections. Positions include Chair, Vice chair and some Trustee positions. And of course I said YES.

This year the AGM is held in Glasgow – Scotland’s largest and second best city (joking!). This role is particularly special for me having served as Chairman of SYP from 2007-08. The youth parliament had a profound impact on my life both professionally and personally. It is a unique journey of challenge, opportuntiy, change and passion. In many ways it was my role model, my best friend, my university and my apprenticeship. If you are an MSYP right now you may know what I mean! Youth Parliaments, and youth movements generally are in the business of sustainable solutions. Solutions that are generationally sustainable and apply TODAY, not merely tomorrow.

During any elections, the nature of political changes, tribalism often steps up. Young people in their millions get disenfranchised, angry and turned off by the electioneering of our adult counterparts, treat the public like fools, campaign negatively and never speak from the heart. I have always admired my generation’s ability to avoid that. And I am sure we will see these principles and values upheld again this year when I arrive as Returning Officer. (Not to mention the value of Single Transferrable Vote – genuinely democractic elections!) RESPECT and POSITIVITY matters.

As you all know I run the social enterprise Dare2Lead. But that is exactly what every single candidate – win or not – will be doing in two days time. Daring to Lead. By presenting themselves, their ideas, their vision and their skills to their fellow young leaders. I wont (and cant!) ‘publicly back any one candidate’, but I do want to wish every candidate equal buckets of luck and well wishes. I also want to say to the candidates, remember what success and leadership ‘really’ is. These are not measured by the prestige of your title, the quantity of your fortune or the height of your social status, but rather the content of your values, the nature of your conduct and the intention of your actions. In many ways you could say, success is not the destination, but how one behaves on the journey.

Writing this reminds me of how nervous I was when I run for Chair. Sweaty palms, shaking legs, scribbling edits to my speech until the VERY last minute. I was so invested because I genuinely cared. I know how you will all be feeling. I genuinely salute you. You are not only being pioneers amongst your peers, you are showing Scotland the world a new democracy, a positive one, and ‘being’ a vision we should all be buying into.

Keep daring to lead and see you Saturday!

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