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SYP74 — How an online Sitting works

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Three times a year, MSYPs from across the country come together at SYP Sittings. The purpose is to propose, discuss, and vote on policy that SYP will adopt (if passed) and work to make a reality in Scotland. They are also for MSYPs to develop new skills at workshops, to share thoughts and ideas in informal spaces, and ultimately the time when so much of the hard work that MSYPs do comes together. So, I wrote this blog to describe how the most recent Sitting came together for me, and to share how SYP Sittings work for anyone inspired to stand at the next SYP elections in November.

As the sun shines through the window, my alarm already goes off at 10 am – meaning an hour until the Sitting.

SYP Sittings haven’t been the same since the COVID-19 pandemic hit us, but they have been enjoyable all the same.

This time, the March sitting came around, and everyone knew what we had to do. This was our third online Sitting, and we had everything under control and prepared. For me, as part of the newly elected Board at the last sitting, this was my first time hosting a Sitting.

Usually – when we are not in lockdown – all MSYPs whether from a constituency or a National Voluntary Organisation, travel to one place for the Sitting, where they register, and gather in a room for speeches, updates and of course Motion debates. The sittings are a great way for MSYPs to come together from all around Scotland, and debate issues important to young people.

It’s always an adrenaline rush when you are there, one minute chatting away with others, the next debating them in front of everyone, which can be nerve-wracking, but the MSYPs are always so supportive along the way. You also get to spend time learning and discussing in workshops facilitated by MSYPs or guests from other organisations.

During the day there are many breaks where you get to chat with others and chill out, and of course eat away, even during online Sittings lunches are a hot topic. There are also evening activities to add a little sprinkle of fun. When SYP was celebrating an important birthday, we even had a ceilidh, as well as the SYP Awards, and a little carnival event with games.

Of course, like so many things in the last year, it changed when we moved the Sitting online, and admittedly it was disappointing when we realised this had to be the case, but we still managed to enjoy it.

With Teams live giving people the ability to watch debates, speeches and others from the comfort of their own room, to workshops on zoom, we have adapted and still made sure that we could get the important work done, and have some fun along the way.

During this sitting especially, because of how much we are used to this online life, everyone enjoyed themselves a lot more. Myself and the rest of the Board were completely thriving when hosting it, and we had an absolute blast of a time during Friday activities with many games – and Daniella’s amazing and hilarious commentary – as well as during the Awards evening where we did a little quiz and had some fun chats.

As much as we are still adapting to everything around us, and getting back onto our feet, it was really nice to see that people have slowly adapted to this new SYP lifestyle, and managed to gain lots of fun from it.

I think that even though we don’t get to see each other at the moment, we are still able to take enjoyment from the little time we have together during online events, and that truly shows how strong of a team SYP is.

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