Posted: 21 November 2016
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Making a difference by saying #iwill
Making a difference by saying #iwill

This week is #iwill week, seven days of events up and down the country that celebrate the benefits of youth social action – and encourage more youngsters to get involved.

#iwill week 2016 runs from Monday 21 November to Sunday 27 November.

“I felt that the Scouts had given me so much over the years that it was time for me to give something back to my local community”

Sam Smith, Network Operations Technician, National Grid.

It also marks the third anniversary of the #iwill campaign, a UK-wide movement that aims to make involvement in social action, such as fund-raising, volunteering and campaigning, a normal part of life for 10-20 year olds by 2020.

National Grid is a founding partner of Step Up To Serve, the charity that co-ordinates the campaign. And the business recognises the enormous benefits that youth social action brings, such as strengthening communities and developing the character and skill of the young people who take part.

Reaching their potential

Graham Frankland, National Grid’s Corporate Responsibility and Citizenship manager, said: “We support #iwill because we want to see young people reach their full potential and they can do this by gaining vital life skills through volunteering, fundraising and campaigning.

“The skills they learn are highly valued in the world of work. And through their social action, the communities where they live also benefit.

“We encourage all our employees to support young people and help them get involved in social action. Many of our employees are involved with organisations such as the Scouts and Guides, which have a great heritage of getting young people involved in their communities and learning new skills.”

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Sam Smith, Network Operations Technician, National Grid.

Network Operations Technician Sam Smith is one of the employees with first-hand experience of the benefits of youth social action. He volunteered as a Scout leader so he could share the skills he’d learned during 13 years as a Scout – such as map reading, hiking, first aid and cooking – with a new generation of youngsters.

“I felt that the Scouts had given me so much over the years that it was time for me to give something back to my local community,” said Sam.

“I started to help out at my local troop as a young leader and after two years I became an adult leader. I wanted to share everything that I’d been taught over the years, from the basics of first aid right through to organising a camp with young Scouts.”

On the right path

As well as sharing his skills, Sam gained valuable new ones, including team working and networking, planning and organisation, fundraising and management. All of which provided a fantastic foundation for his future career path.

He said: “I gained so much from volunteering with the Scouts. Skills that will stay with me for life. I’ve learnt how to be patient and understanding with young people, how to be a role model to them, and how to act professionally.”

The Scout Association aims to support young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, so they can play constructive roles in society. Find out how you can get involved here.

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