Celebrating International Youth Day

By Terry Boyce, Delivery & Partnerships Manager for Think Big, delivered by the National Youth Agency. 

It’s International Youth Day which is giving me the opportunity to say hi, introduce myself and talk about the amazing and inspiring work of young people from across the UK.

I joined the O2 Think Big team as Delivery & Partnerships Manager at the start of July, after previous stints in various youth-facing roles at Catch22 and vInspired. During my career I have had the chance to work alongside some fantastic young people – who give as much to the programmes we design as I and my colleagues have done from behind the scenes.

This year’s UN International Youth Day focuses on civic engagement,  a very topical issue for young people in this country and overseas. In my experience there are two sides to this problem; the creation of meaningful participation opportunities; and actually getting young people to take them once they have been created.

There is no better way to achieve this than by young people informing the programmes they participate on, and seeing for themselves the results of their actions.  And that’s exactly what Think Big does by providing funding and support directly to young people to use technology for social good, empowering and enabling them to not only make a difference, but to take a lead.

The Think Big youth programme is an essential step in this journey for many young people. It is fantastic to see so many young people – from varied backgrounds, ages and interests, all over the country – putting their hand up and saying “I’ve seen something that isn’t working, but I’ve got an idea on how to improve it and I’m going to make it happen”.

It’s this attitude, shown by many young people I have encountered (contrary to what some of the media have you believe) that gives me my motivation. Young people can, and will, get involved in opportunities that they feel will make a difference to the people that matter to them. Even better if those opportunities allow them to do it in their own way, with support from experienced staff and volunteers.

Today we’re asking our project leaders to share their experiences on why they Think Big each and every day using the #YouthDay. Please follow the hashtag and feel free to chip in and show support for our young people and the power of civic participation.