Friday, 17 July 2009

Work Experience with the Youth Team

Rachna Vyas, 17

It would make anyone go cross-eyed to see the level of activity going on in UNICEF’s Youth Team. From organising Scout Jamborees and short listing over a hundred entries for the climate change competition to planning student conferences to Copenhagen and creating designs for Tagd t-shirts, I saw firsthand the theory of ‘multitasking being impossible’ being disproved.

I have to say that when I arrived here on Monday, I expected to sit at a computer bored out of my mind , resorting furtively to Facebook to keep me occupied. Suffice to say that was not the case. The Youth Team found a ton of stuff for me to do, not for the sake of it, but stuff that actually contributed to what they were doing! It felt great to be taken seriously like this. And I was determined to show it.

Looking back, my main task was to judge a mammoth-sized pile of entries for the Big Climate Callout competition. It was Christmas for the opinionated side of me. That’s not to say I set out to Simon-Cowell everyone. Actually it was rather inspiring to read (and view for there were some video entries) all those passionate views on climate change. Until now I really thought that I was in the minority of youths concerned about the near-irreversible damage being done to the planet so hearing from other 14-17 year olds who are on their school environment committee, or have ideas on dealing with climate change that are actually better than what world leaders have come up with felt really reassuring. Maybe our planet’s future is in responsible hands after all.
I think it’s safe to boast that my week here has made me an expert brainstormer. I’ve lost hands to count the number of flow charts and spider-diagrams I’ve contributed to. Brainstorming ideas for the Scout Jamboree was quite fun, because this was UNICEF so I could be as creative and ridiculous as I liked (proof: ‘Pin the Penguin on the World’ with an inflatable globe; buskers; spontaneous acting; an ‘Unfair Fair’). The point is, it got me to think beyond my horizons. Which is always neat.

Finally I got to suggest concrete improvements to make to Tagd. The Youth Team knew that as a website for young people, it would make sense to get young people’s ideas on it. Enter: me J. My audit came up with no massive red flags – it’s a pretty cool website! But I did get to come up with some questions to stick around the website to flare up some debates – it’s always fun setting the essay-type questions for a change! And as a reward, I get a by-line to this blog and also make a cameo in the week's newsletter!

A jam-packed week, it’s gone by so fast it’s left skid marks! I did a lot, learnt a lot (the J8 Summit sounds totally cool) and had a blast. So thank you.