Children and Young People’s rights celebrated at Aberlour Jamboree


More than forty young people from across Aberlour services have spent a soggy yet hugely enjoyable weekend away in rural Perthshire for the annual Aberlour Jamboree. For many, it was their first chance to leave their hometown and enjoy a holiday.

This annual event is designed and planned over several months by Aberlour young people from across Scotland.

Young people took part in a range of outdoor activities and participated in a series of workshops where they could discuss and share their views on subjects they felt were important to them.

Planned and delivered by young people themselves, Saturday’s workshops included:

  • Social media and mental health
  • LGBTQ+ awareness
  • Gender discrimination
  • Street safety
  • Disability awareness

These were followed by a keynote address from Maree Todd MSP, Minister for Children & Young People. Maree spoke about children and young people’s rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Sunday’s workshops included:

  • Marketing & Fundraising: discussing Aberlour’s new campaign and the importance of telling real stories from young people. Participants identified several key points they would like the public to know and the Scottish Government to do to alleviate poverty and reduce inequality.
  • IT: developing a new digital vision statement for Aberlour to help us as we roll out new technology to reach more children and young people.
  • Volunteering: discussing the volunteering opportunities available through Aberlour and how these can help young people grow in confidence, skills.

A football tournament, talent show and ‘night vision’ obstacle courses were among the favourite #AbJam19 activities in between workshops and seminars.

The weekend rounded off with an award ceremony for each weekend participant.

Wendy Laing of Aberlour Sustain – Perth service remarked how proud she was of the young person she was supporting over the weekend: “I am so proud of how well she has done. She’s the youngest person here and is usually quite shy but she’s slotted in so well. She was even up on stage four times during the talent show! It’s amazing to see how far she’s come”.

Young Person’s Worker Clinton White of Aberlour Options Fife explained that this was the first time his service had sent a young person to the Jamboree: “Often the specific needs of our young people have proved to be very challenging and not suitable to going away however we’ve had a ball. Robert has had a great time and enjoyed mixing with other young people. We’ll definitely be encouraging others to come next year!”

Martin Canavan, Policy & Participation Officer said:  “This year’s AbJam was a huge success.  It is a privilege to see so many young people who Aberlour works with come together to meet new people, share experiences, learn from their peers and, most importantly, have fun.

“This year the theme of the event was young people’s rights, and through attending AbJam, young people have had the chance to participate and contribute their ideas and opinions, to shape the decisions Aberlour makes as an organisation, to champion their rights and to realise their own potential. I am already looking forward to AbJam20!

Evaluating this year’s jamboree and planning for next year’s is now underway.

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