My train was running late. Often, the early morning train from Aberdeen to Haymarket does. It was my first-ever meeting for the Year of Young People Interim Planning Group. As usual, I got to the Young Scot offices with minutes to spare. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, or the journey I was about to undertake.
It was there I met June Osborne. I could tell from the other young people around me that she was well-liked and respected. I took to her immediately. As I progressed in the group, I got to know June more and we got on really well. She believed in me and my skills and abilities from the second we met.
During my time on the Year of Young People group, I went through a period of personal turmoil that turned my world upside down. I'd kept the details of my ordeal to myself for so long - I finally needed to let it out. I turned to June and told her what had happened. She understood, listened and reassured me that I was not in the wrong and that I would be OK. Over the next few months, I hit the lowest of lows. I left university, lost my self-esteem and questioned my self-worth and all my abilities. Often, I would take to Twitter in an attempt to find someone who could reassure and talk to me, and June was always there. She would meet me just to chat and to let me talk through my problems, no matter how irrational they may have been.
June believed in me and pushed me to believe that I was worth so much more than I believed I was. She helped me to realise I should not be defined by what happened to me and that it was possible for me to move on. June saw my potential as a youth worker and helped me find opportunities in Young Scot to take the lead and take part in projects. She encouraged me to apply for my Community Education degree and pushes me now to do more to become who I want to be. June’s role at Young Scot is based around Equalities and Inclusion, but what she does is so much more than that. She champions young people. She is the kind of youth worker I want to be and she is a perfect example of a #scotswummin who is making a difference.
There are so many other inspirational women in the youth work sector for young women to look up to, both locally and nationally. Youth work is the perfect way to promote equality and to encourage young people to think about the role that women play in Scotland. The #scotswummin campaign embodies this and I’d encourage as many people as possible to take part.
Emmie Main is a Community Education student at the University of Edinburgh. She is a trustee for Youth Scotland and a Young Scot volunteer.