It is coming up to three years now since I first became involved with Global Citizen Corps (GCC). Having heard about the programme through a youth group leader, it took a leap of faith for me to apply for the first summit.
I nearly convinced myself that I stood no chance of even getting admitted to the programme — I worried I would know less than everyone else and that I would be the youngest there (at 16). I even worried that there was some kind of catch; perhaps this was a fanatical religious group just pretending to be such a fantastic opportunity. If I had let myself think things through any longer I would probably have never applied to participate in that first summit — thankfully I chose not to listen to my worries.
When I submitted that online form I started a journey with GCC that I could not have predicted taking me up to now — where I have progressed from being a GCC leader to a member of Mercy Corps' staff as a Project Assistant.
Before I became Project Assistant, my memories of Mercy Corps Edinburgh office were certainly not as a real office environment. During the Middle Eastern Youth Festival, we used the meeting room as a dining room, lining the table with enormous pots of curry and large plates of naan bread — we, GCC leaders from far and wide, had taken over the Mercy Corps office for the weekend. To think that this space, where I had such a number of really positive experiences, was to be my place of work was quite frankly bizarre. As I anticipated the move from eating curry and meeting friends round the meeting room table to discussing workshop outlines and practicalities I found myself uncertain, once again, as to what would come next.
If this blog teaches anything it is probably that I worry too much; my experience as Project Assistant has proved as rewarding as my experience as a GCC leader. This doesn’t mean that I jump out of bed at 7:15 with sheer joy. Rather I feel, once I’ve pulled myself out of bed that is, that I have been extraordinarily fortunate to be able to pass on the skills that I learnt from my time participating in the GCC programme.
As a GCC leader, I learnt how to take action in my community, be it organising a talk from a local HIV/AIDS charity to teaching younger pupils in school about fair trade. I also learnt to have confidence in my beliefs and opinions — it is this confidence which has been especially enjoyable to see grow in many participants of the summer project.
At the end of a week's filming, the group no longer seemed to worry if their idea for a shot or opinion about how youth are perceived in society sounded silly or even stupid. Even better, is that these opportunities have been spread to young people who would not have had the chance to become Global Citizen Corps Leaders up until now — members of community groups as opposed to school pupils. To see young people able to access these opportunities is really quite amazing.
I’ll be returning to university in St Andrews in just a few weeks time, and I can say for sure that I’ll be sad to leave. It’s been a joy to see GCC Scotland step in a new direction and to have been a part of it is truly a pleasure.
The potential Global Citizen Corps has to inspire young people and engage them in global issues is enormous; I look forward to seeing what GCC will do next, both here in Edinburgh and globally, and only hope that GCC Scotland is given the chance to achieve all that I know it can.