One of the first questions new YPG representatives often ask is how much time should I spend on YPG activities?
The simple answer, "Have you signed the European Working Hours Directive opt out clause?" Seriously, you could devote an infinite amount of time to organising YPG activities, however clearly this will leave you shattered and may seriously effect your day-to-day career and work-life-balance.
On average, we would expect YPG representatives to devote at least a few hours each week. This would probably increase for short periods as you undertake the preparation for an event or other task you have agreed to work on. Always be honest about the time you can devote to any particular task, it is far better for something to take two weeks longer than not to deliver at all. Everyone is a volunteer and understands that you need to have a life outside of the YPG and your workplace.
As a younger member yourself you will have an excellent insight into issues that are important to young professionals - remember you are not limited to just commenting on YPG issues at branch committee meetings. You should aim to comment on and provide your branch committee with a younger persons view on anything they may discuss.
As a YPG representative you will have a large amount of autonomy in the work you undertake, there is no need to ask permission for everything you do, although a good tip would be to keep your branch informed of your activities as you will probably need their help and assistance along the way.
You should endeavour to keep the people you work with informed, but you may have to seek alternative assistance or volunteers to help you achieve your goal. One of the skills you will develop is knowing quite how much information to share and when, as generally you should be able to deal with most problems and issues either by yourself or with the assistance of your branch chair.
The majority of people at your branch will share you enthusiasm, however you must remember that everyone is a volunteer so if some members of the branch seem unwilling to assist you as much as you would like, it probably isn't anything personal, they are more than likely already swamped with other commitments.
Remember you are not alone, by talking with other representatives in your area, perhaps attending events organised by neighbouring branches you will gain an insight into another branches ideas and approach, and you may well be able to share ideas and perhaps hold a joint event or activity, competition.
Another reason to share your event ideas with neighbouring branches is that you may find you are both running an event on similar topics within a few weeks of each other - this could seriously limit the number of attendees.
You should always aim high, but trying to organise the "Rolls Royce" of an event on the budget of a three wheeler would certainly be a challenge, but not impossible! If you have limited time and assistance you should try and organise a number of successful smaller events, rather than working flat out on complex multi-day event, in this case it would be much better to contact representatives from the nearby branches and coordinate your efforts.
One of the best ways to ensure you actively represent younger members is to talk with members and your colleagues (even if they are not BCS members). It goes without saying you should attend branch events whenever you can, you should always make an effort to go and talk to younger members that attend, they will be delighted to speak with you.
In addition, you could offer to do a presentation on the BCS at your local university, this may encourage younger members to attend the branch meetings.
Although branch funds cannot be used to fund alcohol, there is no reason why you cannot arrange informal meetings in a local pub or wine bar to enable members to share their thoughts with you. Many venues will provide a free buffet for a minimum number of attendees. This can be an ideal complement to a branch meeting, giving members the chance for networking.
Volunteering as YPG representative can be a very rewarding experience, if you find that it is not you should arrange to speak with your branch chair as soon as possible who may be able to help and discuss your concerns and offers solutions.
Ultimately the YPG is a strong community and the membership can and does provide support for each other. Many YPG representatives will have experienced the similar problems and issues, and can offer advice on how they overcame them.