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Inside Youth Voice

JP Campbell:
My involvement in Highland Youth Voice has given me an excellent opportunity to express my views and opinions as well as have a lot of fun. Weekends away at venues such as Carbisdale Castle have been really good social occasions. We get the opportunity to meet lots of young people and have a good time debating and discussing relevant topics to the Highlands.

However, being a Youth Voice member requires a degree of commitment. You often have to make presentations to scary old people who do not always agree with what you are saying. Your commitment is recorded. You get the opportunity to develop social and presenting skills and it equips you with a confidence, which will serve you well when having to speak in front of others.

It is not all-hard work though! Entertainment in the form of Ceilidhs and live bands is good craic and provides a good opportunity to let your hair down and enjoy yourself. Good food is definitely an incentive for joining as well as the opportunity to meet lots of young ladies!

My time at Youth Voice has been hard work but very worthwhile and I would encourage any young person with an opinion or anything to run for election.
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Zoe Morgan:
As a youth voice member you have to be willing to give up some spare time to represent the Highland Youth. This means going to a big meeting once every few months with every other member which is a great chance to meet new people.

Youth Voice is great opportunity for young people to take advantages of their situation and allow a chance for Youths to form many new friendships. Although you have to be prepared to give up some spare time which may become quite taxing on top of school work particularly if you become a member of the executive committee.

Each Youth Voice member becomes involved in a sub-group, which deals with relatively topical issues. Then whatever you feel is an important issue, in any area, can be brought up in the specific sub-groups allowing for the opportunity to change. Obviously you have to contribute to meetings and involve yourself in organising strategies and events after the big meeting is over. Sometimes you may have to do presentations to various board meetings. Youth Voice can be hard work and difficult to balance between schoolwork and social activities, but the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. It is a great thing to put on your CV, and allows new friendships. The added advantage of time off school is a plus.
Overall: Good Fun.
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Being on Youth Voice has opened up a range of possibilities and opportunities, which I could never have experienced otherwise. Through Youth Voice I have met new people and learned a lot about the current situation of the Highlands and the opinions of others in similar or different situations to myself.

In my opinion Youth Voice should be encouraged in every way, as it is both a step forward for the views of youths and the democracy of a nation.

I have travelled to Edinburgh twice through Youth Voice, which gave me a chance to converse with some of Scotland's top politicians and visit some of the most important political establishments in the country.

Being from a rural area, it has been hard to attend meetings. Just last night I found myself walking in the dark, in the mud and the rain to a train station in a strange (in more than one sense) village, for 3 miles.

The meeting I attend have mainly involved me being part of a larger group but; I have had numerous chances to chair meetings, deliver presentations, organise people and even got my face on the big screen in the form of 3 drugs adverts.

The exec meetings I attend about once a month have proved probably the biggest strain. Missing work, school and important social events is obviously traumatising but I feel it is a necessary sacrifice as I have a duty to the people.

Although the commitment of going to exec meetings can be wearing on both your schoolwork and social life it is worth it overall. If you don't mind travelling 110 miles a month.
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Calum Duncan (Chair):
Being involved with the executive committee since the beginning of Youth Voice and also having being elected as chairman. I have been involved in many experiences, given numerous presentations, talks, held debates, discussed, chaired and negotiated.

I have been extremely busy since joining, and at times it has been difficult to balance my commitments. It requires a lot of time off school, weekends away and work done at home. The executive committee requires members to have at least one overnight stay a month.

At times the work has been fun, difficult, tiring but ultimately giving me a great sense of achievement.

The Highland Youth Parliament has allowed me to make many new fantastic people and even make better friends with the ones I already knew.

With Youth Voice I have been all across the Highlands and attended meetings in other parts of the UK. The opportunities to do other activities and have social involvement increases as I did.
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