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Tales of a Youth Trustee: Matt Swain

What motivated you to become YT?

Having joined Team Merseyside in my first year of University, I wanted to get a feel for the culture of Merseyside Scouts and meet some of the key people who help our volunteers make adventure happen for our Young People. The role of Youth Trustee appealed to me as I wanted to take my experiences from my Scouting in Derbyshire and apply them to my new home. It was also a great opportunity for me to also develop new skills that would come to help me at Uni, be that working in a team, decision-making, speaking up or even budgeting!


What does your role consist of?

The County Executive are responsible for the safe, structured and supported delivery of Scouting across Merseyside. Although there isn't one focus of the group, the most prevalent topic at our meetings is finance, making sure that the subs and capitation our members pay to the County is spent wisely and in such a way that it benefits as many members as possible and supports the development of Scouting. If I was to summarise what the role consists of in one sentence, it would be "we work behind the scenes to make sure our County Team can provide the best possible support and experience to everyone in Merseyside Scouts".


At one meeting we could be discussing development plans and infrastructure for Tawd Vale, and another we could be planning the venue and agenda for our annual County Celebration and AGM.


The most important thing that a County Executive Committee is responsible for, is ensuring that Young People are meaningfully represented at every level in Scouting; something I am very proud to be a part of.


What's your favourite thing about being a YT?

The diversity of the role and the people on the committee; some people may think that you have to have a particular skillset or level of experience to be a good trustee, but that really isn't the case. Despite often having to make some tough decisions and consider a lot of factors before making them, there is no pressure to 'say the right thing' and everyone's views and input is equal and valid. Our trustees are teachers, trainers, business owners, parents, students, technical experts, HR professionals and that diversity brings a whole host of skills.


Being a Youth Trustee has opened new experiences for me in Scouting as well, before working with Team Merseyside, I had no knowledge or experience of the Adult Award process, but now I work with other trustees to celebrate the achievements of our adult volunteers and help make the process easier for our District teams.


How does it feel being a young person in this role?

Empowered. My voice can be heard, my thoughts and opinions are respected and valued by those in decision-making positions and we all work together to ensure Scouts across the County get the best possible experience they can throughout their time with us. Having been a part of Youth Shaped Scouting for the past 6 years, in two counties, across multiple roles, I am proud to be giving something back and I'd encourage anyone to take up a role on an executive committee, at any level.


What advice would you give to young people in Scouting looking to take on a similar role?

Don't be afraid to make your voice heard, the person with the most experience of what Scouting means to young people today, is young people! 

Ask your leader, your District Commissioner, your Youth Commissioner, your County Commissioner.  We always need Young People to strengthen Team Merseyside

You have your own set of skills that could help Scouting develop in your local area!