YSA Back At It Again with the new year and amazing plans! 

At 9pm on a Tuesday night I took a break from Netflix to join a Google Hangout session, specifically the 2016 March Edition of the YSA National Leadership Summit. Despite the mouthful of a name, it was a lovely and comfortable conversation between each state’s YSA executive committee, reporting how each chapter is growing and improving. If you aren’t familiar with YSA, it’s a network of non-profit organisations with participants 14-25 years old around Australia, all determined to educate others about science and foster the interest within themselves. This year, it is safe to say that YSA is on the ball when it comes to proving that being a youth-run organisation won’t stop it from being mature and professional behind-the-scenes.

Some highlights for every chapter since their last report in October 2015 were their respective TCSEs; Melbourne hosting 3, Adelaide with 2, Brisbane with 1 and Sydney with 2. Nationally, YSA is also set for a revamp in it’s wikipage, website and LinkedIn presence, actions that will benefit all members, particularly the latter for job-seeking high school students and leavers with YSA volunteering experience. YSA is well-known for their TCSEs, but here’s some updates on something else for every chapter:
Did you know that YSA Melbourne has a podcast? Every week you can listen to a 15-minute discussion on a scientific topic and keep in the know on what’s going on in the scientific community. It’s well worth tuning into whenever you can.
Brisbane was lucky enough to host a lab show for the World’s Science Festival which included a -wait for it- magic mud slide! I’m hoping they can bring that here to Sydney!
Adelaide is doing great balancing fun, with a Year 6 school fair they were invited to attend, and serious, with their AGM completed.
Sydney had just hosted their first social (Presidential High Tea) with their next (The Amazing Race) coming up soon. If you want to see what a social is like or relive the good times you can catch videos on the YSA Sydney YouTube channel.
As a whole, YSA intends to be efficient and beneficial to it’s members, the public, and it’s committee. A few ways they’ve achieved this as soon as 2016 kicked off is by changing it’s emailing system. It’s likely no one would notice, but YSA no longer uses email forwarders and instead have personal inboxes for each chapter’s committee members. This is thanks to Google offering free organisational accounts to non-for-profit organisations, which benefits all of YSA.
NatCamp is also an all-encompassing event, providing volunteer opportunities to those looking to brighten up their resume, and then giving endless hours of scientific and non-scientific fun  to attendees. Annually, each state hosts a NatCamp activity, but only one state physically holds NatCamp. This year we are hoping to bridge the gap between those who can’t come down to Sydney in July for any reason. There is currently a plan being developed to have an online interstate competition, at one time, throughout the whole country! While being there in person with a team is the number one preference, YSA is excited to figure out an alternative to make everyone happy and having fun with science together.
Speaking of inter-state interactions, exchanges this year are all across Australia and it might be a good idea to look out for them. Melbourne has Swinburne TCSE in September, Adelaide has a December TCSEs and Sydney have 3 Science Schools happening in July. Volunteer applications start a few months before each event so check back to each chapter’s website to make sure you don’t miss out.
Looking into the national leadership summit was like a clear window to what YSA as a whole wants to achieve. YSA aims to benefit its members, entice it’s followers and better educate the youth of Australia on the wonder, fun and challenge of science. None of this would be possible without each year’s dedicated committees and the members who raise their hand for each event to volunteer or participate.
Thank you for a great end to 2015, and an even greater start to 2016.
Members in Attendance 
MELBOURNE: Ricardo Cannizzaro (President), Monique McLennan (Vice President) and Jessica Suares (Treasurer)
ADELAIDE: Emi Shultz (President)
BRISBANE: Jason McGavin (President) and Brooke Jensen (Vice President)
SYDNEY: Mitchell Murphy (President), Ridwan Ansary (Vice President), Sophia Zhang (Treasurer) and Sabrina Stubbs (Marketing Officer).