When the AYCC first ran Youth Decide in 2009 I was in my first year of university. I had recently attended Power Shift 2009 and was also part of an AYCC delegation preparing for the upcoming Copenhagen Climate Conference. So I was pretty excited about Youth Decide.
I ended up getting involved in two different events -
The first is less impressive but perhaps a better illustration of what most events are like. It was at uni: a few other volunteers and I got t-shirts, clipboards, and simply went around the lawns talking to students about Youth Decide.
I was surprised by how easy it was. I had to overcome my fear of going and talking to random students, but once I did I got in to the swing of things. People were keen to learn more and it was rewarding knowing I was giving them a chance to vote on something so important.
The second event happened at South Australia’s 24 hour Pedal Prix. This is a race in which students build human-powered vehicles which they then race for 24 solid hours. People sleep in shifts and rotate the driving to remain alert.
The event is held in Murray Bridge, which is a fair drive from my home town of Adelaide. I’m an embarrassingly slow driver, and we ended up arriving perilously late – leaving little time to change in to a polar bear costume to help to launch the race.
However, once that was done we had a much better time, wondering the racetrack and talking to students. When people weren’t racing there wasn’t much for them to do, so we could have a number of detailed and quite worthwhile conversations.
This year I’m much more involved in Youth Decide. As an AYCC staff member and Outreach Coordinator, every day I’m thinking about how we can get more young people involved in this project.
However, while I didn’t have the same deep commitment in 2009, I’m still glad I got involved. Watching the votes come in, watching the tally rise, being part of the events – it’s an amazing experience.
If you’re thinking of running a Youth Decide event – go for it. You’ll build new skills, meet cool people, and gain great experience. Above that, though, you’ll be contributing to a huge campaign that can build the power of young and people and empower us to have our say on how Australia should be powered.