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Young People Take the Lead as BB Holds Annual Conference in Edinburgh  

Friday 31st August 2018

For the first time in its 135 year history, The Boys’ Brigade (BB) annual conference is being led by young people.  Themed on 2018 – Scotland’s Year of Young People, the event takes place in Edinburgh on September 1st and brings together 180 BB volunteers from across the British Isles to develop skills and shape the future of the organisation.

This year’s ‘Year of Young People’ conference has been co-designed by a team of BB young leaders, volunteers and staff. The Boys’ Brigade’s two members of the Scottish Youth Parliament, will host the event the event.

Making the keynote address will be John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and former member of The Boys’ Brigade..  Mr Swinney, who formerly attended the  13th Edinburgh company, is expected to reflect on the organisations impact on his life and also share why Scotland is celebrating the Year of Young People in 2018 and what the legacy will be for communities and also for youth organisations like The Boys’ Brigade.

Ahead of the event, Mr Swinney said:

“One of the greatest influences in my life has been the years I spent in The Boys’ Brigade. Those experiences instilled in me a fundamental sense of duty towards others that has shaped my approach to public life.

“I feel a great sense of gratitude to The Boys’ Brigade for that and feel very privileged, as now Deputy First Minister of Scotland, to have the opportunity to deliver the keynote address at this year’s conference.

“It is strikingly clear to me that youth work can have an incredibly valuable influence on the life chances of young people. That is why the Scottish Government works to improve the opportunities available through our national Youth Work Strategy.

“The work that youth organisations like The Boys’ Brigade do, year in and year out, is something we can be proud of every day and every year, both now and for generations to come.”

Included in the programme will be workshops on  improving youth participation and in the morning, delegates will hear from several young people from across the UK sharing how BB has changed their lives.

John Sharp, Director for The Boys’ Brigade in Scotland, said:

“It has been terrific to work alongside such a passionate, enthusiastic and talented group of young people.  It’s been very clear just how much membership of the BB means to them and how much they value all the key life skills they’ve had an opportunity to develop through the BB.

“The Boys’ Brigade’s work is all about young people reaching their full potential and supporting them to learn, grow and discover.  Listening to the voices of young people and giving them the skills and opportunities to share what BB means to them is so important.”

In addition to the election of two members of the Scottish Youth Parliament, The Boys’ Brigade has also started a ‘Year of Young People’ advisory group, made up of BB young leaders to help ensure that there is a youth-led approach to how BB shapes its programmes and activities.

John added:

“Every year is the year of young people for The Boys’ Brigade, but 2018 allows us even more opportunity to shine a light on young people and ensure they are able to shape the direction of the BB for years to come.”

The Boys' Brigade's two members of the Scottish Youth Parliament, David Kong and John Paterson, are hosting the conference.

David said:

"Since 1883, The Boys' Brigade has been working to empower young people so it is important to have young leaders take part in the Brigade Conference. It was an honour to have been asked to lead the conference this year.

John added:

"In this, the Year of Young People in Scotland, where The Boys’ Brigade puts the young people at the forefront of everything we do, it’s a privilege to host the National Conference."

The ‘Year of Young People’ BB conference weekend begins with a Friday evening reception with the Lord Provost and finishes on Sunday morning at Palmerston Place Church.

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