By Naiomi Sampson, Blue Future Spring for Progress and Change organizer
Out of my whole Blue Future experience, the part that I enjoyed the most was creating and growing a youth advisory council with four other cohorts. Ironically, this aspect of the program is what made me most anxious at the beginning. I had never done anything remotely close to creating a YAC in my entire; however, the staff and my regional director at Blue Future made the process one with guidance every step of the way.
The name of my group’s youth advisory council is theNew York City Youth Council. As New York City residents, my fellow cohort members and I connected and shared relatability on three main issues: housing injustice, climate change, and education reform. We all have busy lives, with most of us still in high school and college, but we were able to come up with one day a week to meet during a time that worked best for all of us. We start each council meeting with a predecided agenda. On most occasions, we rotate the notetaker task. Other tasks are delegated and usually given a one-week deadline.
As a result of my youth advisory council experience, I have acquired and sharpened my skills. Before the YAC, I would consider myself an average person; when it comes to creativity, but that has changed as I am put in situations that require me to come up with ideas that differentiate and strengthen our council. Also, we have an Instagram page @nycyouthcouncil which we plan on using to promote the council, recruit members, and form a partnership with similar organizations. Having a visually appealing Instagram is very important in attracting an audience. My YAC and I have spent a lot of time wisely choosing color schemes for our page, discussing infographics ideas, and creating bio videos for our audience to get to know us. Now, I consider myself more creative; and I will use this in organizing as well in my personal life. Also, my ability to strategically plan goals has developed during my time on the YAC. In the beginning, we had to carefully think about what we wanted to complete and how we would go about doing so. Being goal-oriented was helpful since it allowed us to know what our plan was for each meeting. Being strategic helps alleviate a lot of responsibilities.
My amazing YAC is not here for the short run; we plan to continue our council as a long-term council. Overall, I am glad that I was not scared away by the idea of spearheading a YAC with other cohorts. I am grateful for the help of Blue Future; I know NYC Youth Council will make the organization proud and bring about change.
About Naiomi: I am Naiomi Sampson (she/her). Currently, I am a freshman at Hunter College, NYC, majoring in Economics. I believe diversity is pertinent to having better policies and laws. As a minority woman, when I advocate, I am able to share my viewpoints with policymakers to inform their decisions. It is always exciting to see policies and bills that I have advocated for getting enacted, such as New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. One day, I hope to run for office to be the first female representative of New York’s 5th Congressional District.