Formed in the 1970s as the Young Scottish Nationalists many YSI activists have since risen to prominence in the SNP, including party leader John Swinney and MSP Fiona Hyslop.
The YSI is autonomous from the SNP and as such is entitled to formulate its own policies and devise its own campaigns. The YSI is represented on the SNP National Executive Committee and can send delegates to meetings of the SNP Annual National Conference.
The YSI changed its name to the one it has presently, from the Young Scottish Nationalists in the 1990s. Those aged 26 or younger and who subscribe to the organisation's objectives are eligible for membership.