Pizza 🍕and plasticine 🎨 – Herts YPAG meeting July 2022 by Samuel

By Louca-Mai Brady,

We had our third Herts YPAG meeting, and the second in person, on the 9th July with 12 YPAG members getting together on a hot, sunny Saturday. We started off with pizza for lunch and then a game of human bingo, to get to know each other a bit better.

At a previous meeting we said we wanted to do some more creative stuff, so Terry, a member of the university team, worked with us to start developing a group logo. We started off making plasticine models about why we wanted to join the YPAG and what we like about the group.

Then we identified some common themes that were important to us as young people getting involved in research:

  • Learning and skills
  • Being heard and making a difference
  • Having new experiences
  • Social (making new friends, gaining confidence, having fun)

I personally joined the YPAG  to enable me to improve on my research skills since it’s an area of interest to me. Joining the group has been a great opportunity for me to meet other young people looking to learn more about research.

After looking at some other YPAG logos we worked together in groups to start developing our own ideas. Each group took ideas from the logos shown and their own individual ideas to make what they thought would be a suitable logo for our team. All groups agreed on keeping the name Herts YPAG and quite a number of groups used multiple colours within their logos 🌈 to represent diversity within the team, as well as magnifying glasses 🔎 to symbolise looking closely at things.

After a break, and some birthday cake 🎂for members who’d had birthdays since our last meeting, two researchers, Claire and Denise. talked to us about a research project they’re planning on how young people feel about takeaways near their school or college 🍔🍟. They are planning to interview young people while walking around the area near their school and so talked to us in groups while walking around the place where we were having our meeting, so we could experience the method ourselves! We then looked at the information young people taking part in the research will be given and gave the researchers our feedback on what we liked and what we thought could be improved. The topic of food helped to make the conversation interesting and brought the whole group together. During our conversation it was clear that many people turned to fast food after school as a quick and easy meal. Claire said:

It was great to be able to talk to the young people at length about their opinions of the research and whether or not they thought certain policies would work.  It will certainly help us with our data collection.

We then looked at another project aiming to understand young people’s experiences of using the internet, and how they can do this in ways that aren’t harmful. We talked about the different types of social media used by our group, the apps which were more popular amongst us were Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and WhatsApp. This wasn’t too surprising considering that these apps are very popular amongst most young people. As a young person myself, I am very aware of the problems that social media can pose in our lives, so I was very excited about what this new app was trying to offer.

After our last project, the meeting came to an end.