It has been one year since I was appointed as East Lancashire’s first County Youth Commissioner… and what a year it’s been! If you had told me then that I would have all of the experiences, adventures and memories that I do now, I would have been in disbelief. I’m often told that the role I do changes lives within Scouting, but this role truly has changed my life too!

In the past year I have held two County youth forums, I appointed my wonderful deputy Josh, I attended the national YouShape event representing East Lancashire, I attended the Scottish event ScotShape representing England, I visited Brownsea Island with Darwen District Cubs, I have featured in Scouting Magazine twice, I formed a County Youth Team, I have helped support now FIVE District Youth Commissioners (which is so awesome!),  I have hosted an awards ceremony, two opening ceremonies, had countless radio interviews and I am now part of the national YouShape 2017 team. All of this is due to the opportunities this role has provided for me, in order for me to help impact East Lancashire. I am eternally grateful for every experience.

So, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learnt in the past year…

1. Never take support for granted.

I have been so fortunate to have an amazing support network within my role, whether that is through my social media guru Chris, my always enthusiastic Deputy or simply from leaders and young people across the County. But I do have to emphasise how grateful I am for our County Commissioner, Glen Fendall, who has done nothing but have my back from day one. I couldn’t have done any of this without his advice, sense of humour and sweets! But seriously, whatever role you hold within Scouting, if you have support, use it, utilise it and be thankful for it.

2. It’s okay to doubt yourself, in fact, it’s a good thing!

I have second guessed myself many times within this role, which is expected because it’s a new role and all Youth Commissioners are finding their feet. The reason I doubt myself is because I care so much about what I do, I want it to be perfect! But life doesn’t work like that, and I’m glad, because learning from mistakes is all part of developing not only myself but what I want to achieve within my role.

3. Nothing worth doing is easy.

As I said previously, this role is new, and I will admit that there have been challenges to overcome throughout the year. But knowing that what I do, and what other Youth Commissioners do, is for the benefit of the young people and to improve their Scouting experience, makes it all 100% worthwhile. If I can enhance just one young person’s Scout life then all of the time and effort is totally worth it to me.

Moving forward, I can’t wait to see what the next year holds. I hope to impact Scouting within the County further and see what our brilliant team of Youth Commissioners can achieve for the young people. Keep your eyes open for exciting things to come!