YACWA’s Fairground youth sector conference 2016 brought together an audience of 250 delegates who were passionate about positively impacting the lives of young people. The conference was the first of its kind that I had attended as a Youth Educating Peers (YEP) Crew Member. Although I could only attend the first day, I learnt a significant amount in the three workshops I was able to take part in. The conference had an appropriate mix of young people and service providers that worked within the sector, gathering a vast amount of knowledge in a single place at a single time.
The first workshop I attended was an obvious compulsory choice being a YEP Crew Member. The “Providing effective and respectful services to Trans and Gender Diverse young people” workshop expanded and enhanced my knowledge of Trans and Gender Diverse people. I feel more comfortable engaging with Trans and Gender Diverse people without having the constant fear of accidentally upsetting or offending someone. I also now have a greater understanding of how to have better relationships with this population and look forward to improve the known knowledge about them within the community.
The second workshop I attended was run by my good friend Kelly Clark. In her “Wellbeing: Love, Leisure and Uselessness” workshop I learnt a valuable lesson of not ever wanting to feel useful. Throughout the first half of the workshop Kelly talked about the feeling of being useful and highlighted the fact that humans shouldn’t feel useful because we are somebodies not somethings. This made me realise that although I had been feeling very useful in the past couple of weeks due to my life being very busy, I need to take some time for myself; after all, I am a person not a machine.
The final workshop I attended was one that reminded many of us how unfit we had become with the lack of physical activity in our daily lives. The “Look after your wellbeing” workshop allowed the group to explore a diverse range of Pilates exercise positions which could help reduce the stress on our muscles. The coordinator also got us to try and think about nothing while counting, and every time we thought of something we had to start again. This made me realise how busy my mind continuously is and the importance of having clarity within the mind for periods of time throughout the day.
The highlight of my day was presenting our YEP Project in our workshop and hearing the previous works of my amazing colleagues. Overall, the Fairground Youth Sector Conference brought a new range of experiences to me as a young person. Experiences which will be carried on with me at a daily level and within my role as a YEP Crew Member I would like to thank YACWA for this amazing opportunity and I look forward to next year’s conference.