YMCA NSW Youth Parliament
What is Youth Parliament?
The YMCA NSW Youth Parliament is a program that gives young people a voice in the running of NSW. It is a place where the opinions and concerns of young people in NSW are heard by those who have the power to make laws. Run by young people, for young people, the program aims to promote youth-led advocacy, active community leadership and legal and parliamentary education.
What is involved?
YMCA NSW Youth Parliament runs from January to July each year. Throughout this period, you will work in a committee of 8-10 young people from around NSW to propose solutions to an issue the committee is passionate about.
As a participant, you will be involved in 2 types of learning:
- Off-Camp Learning – designed to guide committees in their solution development at a steady pace throughout the program to fit in with school or university commitments during term 1 and 2. Your Committee Advisor will walk you through 7 steps to develop your legislation, and provide you with your very own YP Textbook to help you if you ever get stuck!
- Camps are run in the April and July school holidays. Training Camp is an opportunity for you to meet your committee and fellow Youth MPs. You’ll take part in a wide range of workshops designed to kick-start your parliamentary knowledge, teamwork and leadership skills. You will also begin the process of drafting your legislation. Residential Camp is the culmination of all of your hard work—the presentation of your Bills and Reports in NSW Parliament House.
Training Camp: 13 - 16 April 2014
Residential Camp & Youth Sitting Week: 6 - 12 July 2014
Where does Youth Parliament happen?
Camps are traditionally held at YMCA Camp Yarramundi, on Springwood Road, Yarramundi. Due to the Easter Long Weekend, the 2014 Training Camp will be held at Vision Valley Camp, 7 Vision Valley Road, Arcadia. Residential Camp will be held at YMCA Camp Yarramundi. Parliamentary Sittings will occur at NSW Parliament House, on Macquarie Street, Sydney. Participants will be transported by bus between the campsite and Parliament House each day.
Who runs Youth Parliament?
The Taskforce (or “Taskies”) are a group of 25 volunteers who facilitate the program under the guidance of the YMCA NSW Youth Parliament Program Coordinator, Beth Laurenson. The Taskies are responsible for the running and supervision of camps, and creation of educational material. One Taskie is allocated to each committee as a Committee Advisor to manage the group throughout the program and to provide topical advice gained through related university and industry experience. Every Taskie is a past participant of the program and is between the ages of 18-25, making the program one that is run by youth, for youth.
What is the participation fee?
Each participant is required to pay a participation fee of $600. This fee covers all accommodation, meals, activities, resources and on-camp transport for the duration of the program. Please note that this fee does not cover transport to and from camps.
Past participants have found it valuable to seek sponsorship to cover the program fee. Your local MP, council, school, service clubs and community groups are often keen to support young people in the local area involved in programs like Youth Parliament. The YMCA also offer a limited number of fee-assisted places in the program which are available upon application each February.
Is YP right for me?
If you are passionate about making change in NSW: you will be the voice of young people in your electorate, advising MPs & decision-makers on matters affecting young people.
Youth Parliament is also a great opportunity for you to develop skills in leadership, public speaking, debating and team work.
If you want to learn more about government & law-making: you will be able to meet with and talk to decision-makers & learn first-hand how Government & the Parliament operate.
If you want to meet other young people and form new friendships: the program includes two great camps & you can really get to know people & form friendships that last for years.
What did previous Youth MPs have to say about it?
“Educational, eye-opening, professional and just great”
“Youth Parliament has helped me to see beyond my own comfort zone and pushed me to do things that I would have never otherwise done”
“I will be more confident in speaking, more confident in advocating for my community, more confident in standing up for what I believe in. I have discovered so much about myself”
“I have made life-long friends and that is all because of Youth Parliament. Thank you YMCA!”
“I would recommend this program to everyone in my community!”
How do I get involved?
There are 2 ways to get involved:
1) Contact your local State member of parliament or a member of the Legislative Council in October. Each MP is allowed to nominate 1 young person to be their representative at YP! This is a great way to get involved, as all MP nominations are automatically accepted as Youth Members!
2) Apply online during October and November each year. Please note that MP nominations are given priority over open applications. Open applications will be judged on merit to fill positions left vacant by MP nominations.
Please note: The 2014 program has commenced and further applications will not be accepted. Please come back and visit this page in October 2014 for 2015 program details!