Young Expert’s view of the IJCC kick-off meeting
Hello, I am one of the Young Experts for the Improving Justice in Child Contact (IJCC) Project. I and two other Young Experts recently spoke at the first IJCC kick-off meeting in Edinburgh. We talked about the project and what we hope to achieve with it, as well as discussing some previous projects we have all been involved in.
Today, I’d like to just tell you all about the process of how I prepared for the meeting and my thoughts on the experience overall.
So, the Young Experts Group had the first meeting in January with the lovely Roseanna (the Children and Young People’s Policy Officer at Scottish Women’s Aid), where we were introduced to the project and all of the goals the adults have for it and we discussed what we want to do with it all and how involved we want to be with the project—this was basically our first get-together and a sort of brainstorming session for what was actually later said at the IJCC meeting.
Time-forward to late February, just a few days before the meeting and I’m scrabbling about trying to do all of my schoolwork and prepare for the meeting—for which I was super excited about at this point by the way. Of course as a young person, a young expert, I have an abundance of things to do all the time for school and whatnot, but I also feel very passionate, and always have, about children and young people’s, and women’s rights (I’ve always been a little activist and feminist at heart) and so this project is a very thrilling experience that I’m so glad to be part of. Therefore, I made the time to write a lovely speech for the meeting.
I wouldn’t say I was particularly nervous before the meeting, rather pleased to get to do something as important as this actually. Once I had written my introductory speech as well as the “Our Plan” speech, I felt ready to get going and meet all of the amazing adults involved in IJCC. On the day of the meeting we got to Edinburgh a little early so that we’d have time to rehearse and add things to our presentation if necessary. This is when everything got really exciting and felt real, as it was no longer just emails and speeches and talk of the meeting, but we were actually about to present all of our thoughts and ideas to all of these strangers.
In case you weren’t at the meeting in Edinburgh and are interested in what I spoke about, it was basically just a vague outline of what we would like to accomplish over the course of the project and things that we all think would make it better as we saw them work with the other projects we’ve done (so for me it was Everyday Heroes that I had been part of a while back). I explained that we’d like to produce a comic or booklet of sorts that will be informative and suitable for children and young people, but that we’d also like to create a website or blog—and that has clearly been taken forward and now you are reading this on our blog!
Anyway, I also mentioned that we’d like to work with some more people who share our experiences and that we think it is vital for evaluations and regular check-ins to take place as we all want to stay up to date with what progress and work is being done.
Personally, I think that the meeting and our Young Expert presentation went great and I was satisfied with the information I presented. It was really enjoyable standing in front of a room full of adults who really cared about how I felt and what I thought and wanted to know more about me and my experiences. It made me feel really good that all of these strangers were gathered together for the one important cause and that we all share the same goals.
I had a brilliant time meeting everyone and found it such a wonderful experience and I genuinely cannot wait for the next time we see each other or for the next step in making a difference.
Thank you to everyone reading this and involved in the IJCC project, as I strongly believe that we are doing something extraordinary and super impactful and that is so important to me, so thank you all.