2018 is the Year of Young People in Scotland. Here Jasper Hamlet, our Youth and Families Officer, takes a look at some of the ways RSPB Scotland is joining in with this including an exciting Wild Sparks get together taking place in June.

Year of Young People: Wild Sparks

Image: Paul Gault, Young Scot

“The world now has the largest generation of young people in history. I place great hope in their power to shape our future…” These words were spoken by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon whilst speaking at an event 2015. Young people are important and at RSPB Scotland we know that too. 

If you didn’t already know, 2018 is the Year of Young People in Scotland. Part of the Scottish government’s initiative of themed years, this year is aimed at inspiring Scotland through its young people, recognising the contribution young people make to our communities and celebrating their achievements in all areas of society.

An exciting year for someone who is involved in our youth work at RSPB Scotland! This year is a perfect opportunity to shout about the fantastic work RSPB Scotland does with young people across the country but also challenge the way we work with them and capitalise on the galvanisation of Scottish youth and other organisations to change the way we work with young people, inspire them to create a world richer in nature and act creatively to develop new ways of thinking around involving young people within our work. So what are we doing?

Across the country we are already undertaking fantastic projects with young people and we want to make sure that the efforts of young people in conservation is recognised. From developing pollinator highways with a school group, the Queen Bees, in Glasgow to working alongside pupils in Skye to develop family, self-led activities on the island, showing the positive contribution that young people, volunteers and communities can play in saving nature will be essential. We’re also looking forward to celebrating the contribution of young people in saving nature at the Nature of Scotland Awards 2018.

We're continuing our involvement in YOYP18 with a partnership between RSPB Scotland and Young Scot, to create a youth jam event taking place in Edinburgh on 2 June called Wild Sparks.  We are inviting 30-40 young people from across Scotland to share their ideas, thoughts and solutions on how we can create support for nature – Using the powerful tool of co-design, this full day of discussion and brainstorming will provide us with a snapshot of how Scottish youth engage with nature, and will feed into the refreshed RSPB Youth Strategy to help to keep our thinking on track and in tune with young people. We are prepared for some frank conversations about what they really think about nature, and in return we will challenge them to come up with new ideas and innovative solutions with the overall aim of improving how we communicate and work more effectively with young people. We know we won’t get all the answers but we hope this event will act as a springboard, launching us into increased and better informed involvement with 16 – 25 year olds in Scotland.

Our event is open to young people aged 16-25, details about it can be found here. If this sounds like something you or someone you know would be interested in being part of do apply!

Please spread the word, share your stories, engage with our social media and join our events across the year. For those of you who wish to know more or have ideas and contributions you would like highlighted please contact me on jasper.hamlet@rspb.org.uk

More information can also be found here http://yoyp2018.scot/ and we are using the year’s hashtag, #YOYP2018, on social media.