“Swing The Vote” was the third and last campaign I did as a Team v Leader. It was about involving young people between 18 and 25 years old in politics, voting and issues that affected them. Sadly, I couldn’t do much for it, hence this post won’t be very long.
My participation in the campaign was very limited due to lack of familiarity with the British political and electoral system, college commitments and on-going family problems. All I did was writing a poem about a social issue, spreading the world about manifestos from different parties, sending a letter to my MP about my thoughts on different issues affecting my community and handing out leaflets about the campaign with my volunteers. Not much, but I couldn’t do more. The poem I wrote is titled “Parallel Teenage Lives”, it is about inequality and the gap between the rich and the poor. You can read it here: https://chroniclesofarhaceisoul.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/swingthevote-a-campaign-about-getting-young-people-involved-in-politics/
The “Swing The Vote” campaign ended the 24th of May, a few weeks after the General Elections in Britain. When this happened, I started to feel less guilty of not being able to do much but I also felt sad because the end of the campaign meant the end of my time as a Team v Leader. Nooooo…. The past nine months had gone by so quickly! I couldn’t believe it. I had done three social campaigns about three different topics. My first three times of real campaigning. Almost certainly, “Beyond Food” was my favourite one, because it was the one in which I felt I did the most to help people in need. On the other hand, “Do You Care” was great because I was able to use my passion for creative writing to help kids and young people, as well as running educational workshops to prove my public speaking and management skills. “Swing The Vote” was fine, but my engagement was mainly online, and during it, I learnt more than actually did something.
Weeks after finishing the campaign and receiving feedback from it by my co-ordinator, I received a very unexpected email from vInspired (the charity that runs Team v):
I couldn’t believe it when I read it: I had been awarded an scholarship for exceptional development during the program! When I applied to be a Team v Leader I didn’t even know that these scholarships existed. And even after knowing about them, I never thought I would be recipient of one. No way. I’m not that type of “outstanding” person. Or at least I wasn’t till a few years ago. Lately I have been lucky with everything I have been doing and my efforts have started to pay off. This scholarship is the proof. Team v is about volunteering and volunteering is a free choice: you don’t expect to be rewarded for it, other than with life changing experiences, improved skills and great knowledge. I got these three things and the scholarship just felt like a sweet present. I am very grateful about it.
As soon as I got the news, I quickly started to research training and courses I could do, till I finally chose and applied for the following ones: Youth Mental Health First Aid, TEFL online (Teaching English As A Foreign Language), various Campaigning & Management courses online, Introduction to Fundraising course online, Setting a Charity course online, Setting up a Social Enterprise course online and Teaching Assistant online (this last one is still subject to approval). All these courses are deeply linked with my professional ambitions and personal goals, I can’t wait to start them. They will help me to grow even more as a person, to be more skilled and educated, and to polish my CV.
On conclusion: Campaign 3, “Swing The Vote”, was not exactly my favourite one nor the one I did most for, but I gained a lot of knowledge and understanding while carrying it out, hence I don’t dislike it or regret it. And being awarded an scholarship for my performance during the whole volunteering & leadership program of 9-months made me very happy. Now, my time as a Team v Leader has expired, but this journal hasn’t ended yet: the Team v graduation ceremony is next week, the 31st of July, hence this isn’t the last post… So stay tuned.
Sharing my experiences,
Emilie H. Featherington 🙂