Bethany Roberts: former chair of Pembrokeshire Youth Assembly, writes about what youth work means to her:
"Being involved in the youth services in Pembrokeshire has most definitely benefitted me and has had a massive impact on me and my life.
I started by being involved in 2011 by attending my local youth club in the evenings. This then led to me becoming involved with Milford Haven Youth Council. This allowed me to be involved in various community projects. These being our Annual OAP Christmas Dinner, Community Afternoon Tea, Great Council Bake-off and various other projects. Being involved in this work allowed me to gain a passion for community work but also to promote the positives of young people.
From this work, I began to sit on the county wide youth forum Pembrokeshire Youth Assembly as a representative. This gave me so many amazing opportunities such as being elected as the Chair of this forum. I was able to go meet with different young people and other youth workers across Wales and be involved in various important consultation that concerns young people. I also met with various decision makers, Directors and Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet and this really educated me and contributed towards my future decisions and plans. I am a member of Youth Bank, which is a group of young people commissioning funding for projects across Pembrokeshire.
I then went on to become the elected representatives for Pembrokeshire and Wales at UK Youth Parliament. I represented Pembrokeshire in the House of Commons and talk about Votes at 16. This helped me recognise the importance of young people having a say and a voice on decisions that affect them. I facilitated the UK's largest youth consultation in Pembrokeshire two years in a row which allowed me to meet a large amount of young people and allowed me to have an accurate representation of young people.
Young Wales Project Board is also another piece of work that I have been involve in nationally. I had many opportunities to meet with ministers and work with Welsh Government.
I also become involved with more directed work. This being work around safeguarding and being a part of the Junior Safeguarding board. I have been involved in many projects around safeguarding and I have also met with the Local Operational Group and CADW (regional junior safeguarding board) and CYSUR (adult regional safeguarding board).
Youth Work has benefitted me greatly and I truly believe that it has definitely shaped me into the person I am today. Pembrokeshire Youth Services have educated me and helped me excel in life skills and skills I will need for my future career path. If I did not get involved with my local youth service I would most definitely not have had the opportunities I have been lucky with so far. I have had so many memorable experiences and ones that I will never forget. My youth worker Nadine has a massive contribution to my achievements and has always believed in me and without that support and encouragement, I would not have achieved what I have. Through this work and my achievements, I was offered a job in Pembrokeshire College at 17 years old. I then went to sit on Milford Haven Town Council and no be co-opted onto a local school's governing body."