My name is Nick Boucher, I am 24 and am currently a member of the United Nations Youth and Students Association of the United Kingdom (UNYSA-UK). Since I was a teenager, I have been a volunteer for a number of different initiatives, from helping with a child care program to promoting nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, to fundraising on the streets for poverty, climate change and conflict resolution. The bulk of my volunteering background has been concerned with youth policy and communication. A central belief critical to my development has been the recognition of and advocacy for the potential and contribution that young people can bring to the process of policy-making both at home and abroad. Respectively, I am keen on the practical application of their efforts and influence. My drive and motivation to improve the state of international youth development programs stems from a consistent mix of cultural diversity and academic challenges. I have had a lucky glimpse of how the real world operates by living in Africa, the United States and Europe and I maintain an academic vigor to understand the history and the potential value of such initiatives. I mam proud that everywhere I have gone there have always been people encouraging me to volunteer my time.
For the last 4 years I have been able to maintain my work, volunteering and activity in sports whilst getting through both an undergraduate and postgraduate degree. Maintaining a balance between all of these activities has been very challenging but extremely worthwhile, having had opportunities I would not think possible otherwise. With my volunteering I have met a lot of great people, made friends, travelled and helped champion some great causes. There are lessons from the experience that I will also take with me for the rest of my life. As a leader during my undergraduate studies and as President of UNYSA-UK (2009/10) I have gained key skills that will help me throughout my career path. Being able to communicate with many people, working in an organisational environment and in groups, and even being open to new software, are amongst the many benefits of getting involved. That said, I truly believe that there is no ceiling that limits the learning potential that volunteering and being proactive can offer young people.
Whether it is volunteering in the local community or teaming up with some friends to raise funds for specific cause, what is known is that youth activism varies and it has and is still not easy to manage many activities at once. Being able to offer your time and help to someone else, a group of people or an organization is great and it has to be an activity in which you can find a balance. I find one of the best ways to start is by ask yourself what issue and activity you want to support, how much can you give, when can you do it, what are you really aiming for and what are others going to get from your input. One speaker during a UN career workshop said it plainly: “find your issue, find your organization, get to the UN”! I love creativity and ideas and have been amazed at the youth campaigns that have developed around the world and I encourage their ambitions and yours.
|Jag och Nick i Seoul|