“Despite my overwhelming nervousness, I did it. And I did it well.” Young Adviser Lewis on speaking to an audience about children’s rights

Last month I had an amazing time working with the Commissioner’s office and Together to host a webinar. Together is a team of children’s charities that promote the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). 

While it was daunting, it was a great experience, and it helped me get to know and appreciate myself better. On World Children’s Day, my story shows how good it is when young people are supported and encouraged to meaningfully participate. 

The build-up to the event 

I was chosen to represent young people as a Young Adviser for the Commissioner’s office. For those of you who don’t know, Young Advisers volunteer for the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland to try to make a difference. Suddenly, I was planning a meeting with the new member of the team, Kevin, who is a Participation Officer. 

We started preparing for the webinar and thinking about what I would be required to do. At this point, I was feeling very confident and happy. It felt like this revolved around me, and that I wasn’t being left out of it. Bruce, the Commissioner, joined our call so I got to meet him too. 

The webinar starts 

On day of the webinar, I was super ready. I had a script of what I was going to say, along with some recommendations of answers that I could use in the Q&A (I had no idea what these questions were going to be). At 1.40pm I joined the call. It was a technical run-through, and I was getting more excited as the clock ticked closer to 2pm. Then Jules, the host from Together, asked to let everyone in and started the event. 

I’ll never forget the way I saw the “members” number tick up from 10 to 61. My mum, gran, and dad were on the list. Suddenly, all my confidence and excitement was shattered. It was replaced with fear, anxiety and nervousness. 

Feeling supported 

Jules went through her bit of the presentation, and I had finished my bottle of water before Bruce started talking. I heard a notification pop-up from Basecamp, and that was when things changed. I read at the bottom “Basecamp – Kevin – You feeling OK?” and I suddenly felt better. I knew Kevin was there for me, looking out for me. I had my parents and gran there for me. Everyone at the call was there for me too. They all wanted to see me do well.  

Bruce did his bit and asked me about education. We covered my experiences, those of my friends, and of other young people in Scotland.  

We then moved to a Q&A which all went smoothly. Lots of comments and observations came in through the chat function. 

Despite my overwhelming nervousness, I did it. And well. We continued, and my nervousness went down as my confidence went up. There was a funny moment when I did an energiser. I drew a star shape, didn’t let anyone see, and then gave the audience instructions to see if their drawings would match. Some of the results were hilarious and it highlighted important points about communication and listening. Two people did get the shape correct! 

Before I knew it, the call was over and I was receiving lots of praise. 

What did I learn? 

Presenting at the webinar taught me that no matter what you are doing you should strive to give it your all. Whatever it is you are good at, pursue it and happiness will follow. Use all the support available to you. Your views and opinions matter, and on World Children’s Day, let’s get our voices heard! 

Back to top