'During the recent school holidays, I took part in Youth Parliament, a program run by YMCA NSW. We represented our local state electorates and were also part of committees - I was in the committee for Mental Health.
In these committees, we wrote bills to propose solutions relating to these issues. As part of Youth Parliament, I had the amazing opportunity to debate in NSW Parliament House, as well as meeting the Governor at Government House. I met great people in the program and I learnt a lot. I felt inspired and empowered to make change in my local community and beyond, confident that the voices of young people truly can make a difference.’
‘I heard about YMCA NSW Youth Parliament Program through my sister who worked for a politician, and I applied and received backing from my local member of Parliament. I was accepted and went to a three day training camp in April, where we learnt about Parliamentary procedure, debating and how to write legislative bills. We were then assigned committees on issues that were important to us, mine being Community, Disability and Social Services. Within our committees we wrote bills on an issue in NSW.
A few months later we attended a residential camp for 6 days, where we sat in Parliament House in Sydney and debated the bills that we made in our committees. We met and were officially sworn in by the Governor of NSW as Youth Parliamentarians. It was great meeting with young people from all over NSW, from all walks of life, differing world views, and discussing issues that were important to us. I did this for the experience which will help in whatever path I take. It creates good contacts for the future and because they empower young people who are leaders in their community.’
Luke van Esch