Paula Ward, Regional Leadership Director at VisitScotland, reflects on how important the Year of Young People has been in bringing together the industry to celebrate the talents of tomorrow.
“I'm not young enough to know everything.”
― J.M. Barrie, The Admirable Crichton
We’re only six months into The Year of Young People 2018 and already we have been blown away at VisitScotland by the support and engagement it has generated across the country.
Introduced with the aim of creating a platform for young people’s voices to be heard, the reverberations are loud and clear, believe me! The year has created the opportunity for people aged eight to 26 to get involved and co-design a vibrant programme of events and festivals to celebrate their talents and achievements. And they have not disappointed – with 50 funded and 130 partnership events (and counting!) – taking place across Scotland, young people are truly front and centre of the efforts.
If the future looks bright for Scotland, it is especially so in Dumfries & Galloway thanks to the continued success of the Year of Young People.
The annual Youth Beatz festival is set to return to Dumfries for its 10th anniversary this weekend. And what better time for it to celebrate this amazing achievement, than in this special year. For 2018, Scotland’s largest free event for young people has undergone significant expansion to offer a two-day programme of events, thanks to support from the Year of Young People Event Fund. It really is a unique event that has such a powerful message aimed at inspiring young people to put their creative ideas into action. Its overarching aim is to provide a safe environment for young people to meet and gain access to information on services, skill development and encourage participation in different activities.
Youth Beatz is just one example of how the region is really leading the way in generating support and collaboration for the Year of Young People. Ever since it was officially launched by the First Minister in Dumfries, it has captured the attention of its audience. High levels of engagement and enthusiasm have continued throughout the year, with hundreds of young people, schools and families coming out to support the ambitious programme of events that has included firework displays, digital workshops, residential breaks to outdoor activities and events. Young people have been involved from the outset and all along the way.
I firmly believe that the foundations for supporting young people within the tourism industry in Dumfries & Galloway are solid. The tourism industry has excellent links with our local colleges and there are some fantastic opportunities for young people to shine within our adventure tourism leaders, for example. And with further events taking place across the region in the coming months and great examples of collaboration, we will continue to create opportunities for our future stars to shine.
I have taken inspiration from many of the young people I have met doing great work across this region so far this year and I am looking forward to many more events. Some of my highlights in the coming weeks include the HES Spectacular Jousting event taking place in the stunning surroundings of Caerlaverock Castle on July 28th and 29th, Dreams for the Future is a three-day festival taking place in November inspired by the opening of Moat Brae – Peter Pan’s Enchanted Land in Dumfries, as well as further theatre and dance projects by Stage It for this weekend’s Youth Beatz festival.
For more information on the Year of Young People and the events taking place across Scotland, visit: