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Young people's stories

Laura

I'm Laura. I am in Mid district YEA.  I first heard about the YEA through my school when John and Helen came to our school. I had always wanted to partake in something as rewarding and fulfilling as the YEA, but I had never been given the opportunity before, so when it was given to me, I took it!

I'm glad I did because, by being part of this, I have been given lots of opportunities that I wouldn't have been given anywhere else.  Some of my highlights include: Debate day, both of our residentials, Youth Voice Development Day.  Through these events I have gained in confidence (a lot!), been given skills for life, including negotiating and I have developed a mindset to think of both sides of an argument.  Some of the things I have learnt have helped me in many areas of my life, whether that is at home or at school.

Personally, one of the most important things is that I have made friends for life - all the new people I met have supported me; whether that is on an activity of just being friends.  Without the YEA I would not have had these opportunities and for that I am grateful.  The YEA has helped me to grow as a person and to be the best version of myself.  Partaking in the YEA has enabled me to meet so many amazing people, and also it gives you a rewarding sense of gratitude to see everyone's plans and hard work taking shape.

Emily

Hi, I'm Emily and, like Laura, I heard about the YEA through school, when youth workers John and Helen came in to talk about the YEA.  I came to the assembly so I could miss my maths lesson, thinking it would be a laugh, but I realised it actually sounded really good and beneficial and something I wanted to be part of.  I decided to stand for election and luckily I was successful.

I then attended 'debate day' which was a great opportunity to meet some many amazing friends that I would have the privilege of working with throughout the next 2 years.  My favourite part of being in the YEA so far is attending and helping to run Youth Voice Development day. Many schools attended, including my school and we had great feedback!

Another key moment of my time in the YEA was attending both of the residentials, one at Kingswood and the other at Bradwell.  Although (unlike Kingswood) Bradwell was more a working on projects type of residential, they were both extremely productive and fun.  I had such an excellent time!

Finally, I was one of a lucky few to attend an Essex County Council budget setting meeting, which (although it was long) was extremely interesting and fascinating as we gained new ideas about how to run our future YEA meetings, to mirror ECC.

"I had been involved in boxing and running before, and through those I heard about the YEA.  I had no idea of what it was like, but I knew I would get amazing opportunities.  So, I found an application form and gave it in.  I went to the first meeting and it was fantastic, I really enjoyed it!  I've been to every meeting I could since then.  I went on a training residential and a project residential. I have also been involved in interviewing people, given them a voice. Now I wouldn't change filling in that form to join for anything!" - Jack from Braintree