Activate 2009!

Well, what a weekend I’ve had! Liberal Youth finally resurrected Activate, its long lost training weekend. Activate 2009 was held in the beautiful village of Great Hucklow

It started at 6:20am on Friday, when I had to drag my sorry self out of bed to get a bus to Glasgow, the first leg of the journey. There, I met James Harrison, ands we took the three and a half hour train ride to Manchester, which was actually quite entertaining. James is someone I’ve never really spent a lot of time with, so it was good to get a chance to get to know him, and some quite good debates were had!

At Manchester, we met up with Ben Vickers, and went in search of some lunch. After a visit to the local Wetherspoons and a trip to Tescos to stock up for the weekend ahead, we caught our train to Doveholes, and managed to encounter a couple of other people heading to Activate – though it turned out there were many more on the train we didn’t meet till we got to Dove Holes!

Anyway, enough of the boring travel stories! Once we got there, we met our trainers – Sarah Green PPC, Cllr Ben Rawlings, Naomi Smith PPC and Candy Piercy, who were all inceredibly talented and enthusiastic. As I was deputising for Ruaraidh, I peeled off with the Exec group, and we indulged in some team building with Candy, who taught us a lot about working as a team and effective communication. We also made dinner for the group, which was made a lot more entertaining by Joe’s vodka and coke…

After the evening’s training, we got into relaxation mode, but our comfort was quickly dispelled by Elaine’s suggestion of “I Have Never”, a dangerous (read DANGEROUS) drinking game for young liberals! Very quickly we were all enjoying ourselves, some of the Exec not even going to bed until 8am, or not at all! I myself turned in at 4, so was able to get a few hours sleep before Saturday’s training.

Throughout the weekend we learned a lot about handling the media, how to behave in an interview, how to write leaflets, and many other vital skills for young campaigners. However, perhaps the most useful part of the weekend was to get to know like minded young people. I went to the weekend knowing only 3 people, and have come away with at least a dozen good friends. Seeing the press conference exercise was very encouraging – not only did the exec handle tough questioning competently, but the non-exec members performed very well as well. It is wonderful to see the depth of talent in our party, talent of which CF and Labour Students must jealous!

The new Exec seem to have a renewed vision, and seem really determined to do the best for their membership. After last year’s horror story, it seems all involved have learned valuable lessons, and the new members have brought a new perspective and enthusiasm to the table.

I have never been more proud to be in Liberal Youth!

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~ by Callum Leslie on July 7, 2009.

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