This is it, no more all nighters, or morning breakfasts with friends. All have gone their separate ways, and #YP96 is now a memory for all 90 members. From the 26 – 31 of December, 2017, we were immersed in public speaking, parliamentary procedures, and debate about our province. Youth were given the unique experience of discussing their concerns, both though debate in the legislative chamber, and through conversation with politicians. We were provided opportunity of having lunch with members from the Liberal, PC and NDP parties. During these luncheons, members are able to discuss their views and pose questions to current and past members of parliament. YPM strives to create an immersive political environment for youth, helping to foster the leaders of today.
At session, one main attraction is the diverse group of individuals you meet. We all come from different backgrounds and with different viewpoints. This year, we had members who enjoyed sports, video games, art, reading, one member was really passionate about recycling. She really encouraged us to recycle our soda cans, or to throw paper in the right slot of the garage bins. It is incredibly encouraging to see young students who are passionate about our world: be it the rights of animals, or taking care of our precious environment.
Leaving YPM really makes one reflect upon who they are and what they believe in. Even though the bills debated in Youth Parliament do not hold real legislative power, this exercise fosters an interest in the political process and its real world impacts. It is a place where friendships begin and grow, where individuals can voice their opinions, and most importantly, learn to engage with others and listen to their opinions. Attending YPM is a transformative experience, and few leave without being changed for the better.
My first encounter of YPM was the 95th Winter Session. I went with an acquaintance who was really a stranger. As time progressed, that acquaintance grew quite dear to me. They would speak up in the House and my mind would be blown! The bills presented were absolutely outstanding, and the their convictions, morals, and beliefs of members all contributed to the debate. Once the 95th Session ended, my friend and I both applied for cabinet, and as would have fate had it, we became ministry partners. Cabinet is an opportunity for others to come together in a unique way, merging friendship with professional development. Cabinet is a chance to give others a chance. I encourage all members to apply, you will not regret it!
Thank you again for all who participated in the 96th Winter Session, till next year my friends!