Full Name: Rymarn Powell
My role in Bigga Fish:
I am the Bigga Fish captain for Birmingham’s street team. I have been a street team captain for the last 2 years & have now been presented the opportunity to embark on new challenges such as the Rize Up Uk Campaign.
What did I do?
The #RizeUpUK Campaign was the first project that I have organised and facilitated on my own whilst working for Bigga fish and as a whole the experience has been unforgettable, unique, intense, challenging but most of all very rewarding. My task was to create what I would call a "power team" who I would be taking on the journey, traveling to different cities across the UK in order to engage with 18-30 year olds & encouraging them to vote. Saying it like that, it seems so easy but I kid you not it was definitely the opposite & all this prepared in just two days!!! I soon created our Rize Up team of five which consisted of our Camera Guy Richie, then our campaigners Nicole, Iesha, Shanae and finally myself as the project manager.
This was going to be a four day show so it was important that everyone knew what they were doing & was on the same page. I created a schedule which included briefing everyday so we could make sure we were reflecting & making relevant adjustments in each city. The schedule also included locations, times, important information & lunch breaks.
In total we travelled to seven locations which were Birmingham, London, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Manchester, Chester and Stockport. Across these cities we managed to give out over 40'000 flyers in 4 days! We targeted colleges, shopping centres, youth clubs, night clubs & even went on a young people’s radio station called Pie Radio where we had a debate on air about "why young people don't vote?”
What did I learn?
Over the four days I think I have learnt a great deal. Firstly, I have learnt how to be an even better leader and how to motivate a sometimes drained & deflated team. Creating games and challenges made speaking to people more fun and also allowed us to hear the opinion of someone who might not have any knowledge on voting whatsoever. On the other hand there were also a few young people who seemed to be experts and even taught us a thing or two. Secondly, I have learnt how to simplify a short explanation on why we (as young people) should be more involved in politics and use real life examples to keep our target audience interested. An example of this was do you prefer KFC or McDonalds? This question was asked to two people one said KFC one said McDonalds, I responded with well I prefer McDonalds so as 2 have voted in favour of Maccies and 1 in favour of KFC, Maccies wins. This was to explain "majority rules".
I also learnt how to survive on limited sleep & ensure that everyone is safe, fed & watered and most importantly on job, meaning doing what we should be in order to work most efficiently as a team.
What challenges did I face?
I faced many challenges over this weekend, the first hurdle was getting the flyers to Birmingham. After exhausting every possible way of getting them to us, we decided we would drive to London to collect them from the office as time was of the essence. Another challenge was getting the Bigga Fish Logo printed on the T-shirts as soon as possible. As it was such late notice we were finding it difficult to find a business to print the logo quickly, professionally and at a reasonable price. After searching around we managed to find a small business who were happy to help and slot us into their schedule.
What challenges did I overcome?
Another challenge was finding working out a way to approach people which would make them want to stop and listen to what we had to say. We did this by creating a strategy.
1: Smile, walk over to the person you wish to engage & compliment them. E.g. I love your trainers, where are they from
2: Instead of giving a 1-2 minute speech on why you have stopped them simply ask, "Have you registered to vote?" No? Why?
3: Give the young person a flyer, speak to them about whether their friends vote & if they know anything about politics
4: Encourage the young person to sign up to vote then onto the next
The weather was another challenge. Busy doing 101 things I totally forgot to check the weather forecast for when I had planned for us to campaign around Manchester’s city centre. The rain on Saturday morning couldn't have been any worse. Instead of backing down we purchased brollies & went campaigning anyway but soon noticed there were no young people on the roads because of the torrential rain so instead we went to the Trafford Centre. This was a blessing in disguise as the centre was packed with students and young people from Manchester and surrounding areas!
Where did we go?
• Central London • Birmingham’s Broad Street • Birmingham’s Arcadian • Birmingham's City centre • Wolverhampton Town Centre • Walsall Town Centre • Manchester City Centre • Deans Gate Locks • Stockport City Centre • Stockport PIE Radio Station • Manchester Trafford Centre • Chester City Centre • Wirral City Centre • & More!
My favourite moments.
One of my favourite moments was speaking to a 22 year old from Manchester who didn't even know about registering or even that the Election's were happening. When I asked him if he was registered to vote he said "registered to vote for what?" What was great was that even though he didn’t have a clue what we were talking about at first I'm so confident that we had inspired him to go and find out more. I believe that was a very rewarding moment as that was when the penny dropped. Young people actually don’t vote because we don’t understand or have knowledge on politics. For some that could be ignorance and also simply not believing that it can affect us or relate to our lives and personal experiences.
Moving forward, I believe this has been a huge opportunity and great challenge because I have pushed not only myself but also my team to deliver a national campaign in a very short time frame. It has been stressful and there have been ups and downs but in the end I believe it was all worth it.
How can you use this in your career moving forward?
I will use skills that I have been able to enhance on this journey such as listening skills, communication and leading skills. I now feel more diplomatic and have taught myself a fair amount about politics.
I believe the project has been a massive success and I am thankful for how it has all planned out. As a young person myself I believe there the people selected were the most suitable for the task in hand. Who better to speak to young people about topics like politics, than young people?
By Rymarn Powell