Youth leaders feel positive about future

92 teen leaders take part in B.C. Youth Parliament session over Christmas

Young British Columbians take part in the 83rd session of the B.C. Youth Parliament inside the provincial legislature. The teens

Jenelle Yonkman and Emily Gage are just two of 92 teen leaders who gathered in Victoria over the Christmas break to take part in B.C. Youth Parliament.

The parliament took over the B.C. legislature between Christmas and the new year, sitting in chambers, presenting bills and creating change on a theoretical level.

Yonkman is originally from Castlegar and joined BCYP four years ago when she was in Grade 12. Now a University of Victoria student, she is BCYP minister of finance, after spending time as a backbencher and in the shadow cabinet.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said the enthusiastic 20-year-old.

“I was always really into debate, that’s how I got involved.”

A friend introduced Yonkman to BCYP and she was hooked by the planning and service aspects. “That summer there was a major service project in Vancouver and I got really involved, I guess that’s what made it stick for me,” she said.

Gage, who is from Central Saanich, has been involved with the program for six years.

“I started when I was 15, my Grade 11 social studies teacher sent me the application and persuaded me to join,” the 21-year-old Stelly’s secondary school grad said.

Youth parliament is in its 83rd year and open to young people between the ages of 16 and 21 from across the province.

It’s a non-partisan organization that creates projects to help improve the lives of young people. It also organizes regional youth parliaments, which are designed for 14-18 year olds that are run in different regions of B.C. in order to allow more youth to experience education in parliamentary procedures.

“We make our own legislation for our service projects, we vote on the plans so we can carry them out in the future,” said Gage.

This year the group debated private member’s resolutions on real-world problems.

“We had one (resolution) in opposition to Occupy and one in support of giving all RCMP officers (stun guns). We can’t actually institute change, but we can send letters to heads of government,” Gage said.

Each year the BCYP plans a major project and this year the youth are planning the Western Canada Youth Parliament.

WCYP is held every two years for the members of youth parliaments from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. B.C. will host this year’s parliament.

Richmond East MLA Linda Reid officially opened the B.C Youth Parliament as lieutenant-governor this year and is an alumni as well.

“I joined on the cusp of it becoming BCYP,” said Reid. Previously it was the Older Boys Parliament, only open to males.

“They were resistant to my girlfriend and I joining up,” said Reid, an MLA since 1991. Her friend, Susan Hunter, became the first female premier of youth parliament and Reid the second.

“It’s an organization with tremendous heart,” said Reid. “It’s something I want my kids to experience. The way I put it to my kids is: service is the rent you pay to be on this earth. To give to others and to help others.”

 

 

Just Posted

Hey Amazon, the bid’s in the mail: Langford mayor

The City of Langford has officially submitted its bid to become the home of Amazon HQ2.

Art has become a lifestyle for local resident

Coast Collective’s latest exhibit celebrates all things late fall

Deadline looming for youth transitional housing

Province says funding for 10 units not available at this time

Greater Victoria Public Library announces new music streaming service

Victoria Conservatory of Music to perform at Langford Heritage Branch on Saturday

Rogue masseur arrested for sexual assault in Victoria

John Heintzelman, 65, is accused of assaulting a person at his former business, James Bay Massage

WATCH: Greater Victoria restaurant chain stepping up after employee struck by SUV

31-year-old Khushal Rana fighting for his life in Victoria hospital

Man in custody linked police search near Salmon Arm

Police have not connected arrest to search at Salmon River Road property

Weekend hit list: Things to see and do in Greater Victoria

The Victoria Fall Home Expo returns, Rebels host the Cullen Cup, a gallery tour and more

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

West Shore Baha’is come together to join in world-wide celebrations

200th commemoration of the birth of Baha’u’llah this weekend

JOCK TALK: Canada’s national cycling team is at Bear Mountain this weekend

Your weekly round up of all things sports on the West Shore

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Salmon have arrived in Saanich

Two weeks ago, Dorothy Chambers, lead steward with Colquitz River fish fence,… Continue reading

Most Read