Be The Change is maintained by the 2017 YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament (QYP) Executive. You might be thinking: what exactly is this ‘QYP’ thing?
We are – quite literally – a Parliament of young people. We have 93 youth members from every electorate around the state (plus 4 Indigenous seats).
QYP is a program like no other that has created a fundamental link between young people and the Queensland State Government. We are run by young people for young people.
QYP was first founded in 1995 and has since provided a non-partisan environment for participants to engage with community issues as youth representatives. We also pride our program on being a place of belonging for so many participants – a home outside of home. Our program allows young people to find their voice, develop confidence in their opinions and themselves, and engage with people from all over the state.
The Parliament Part
Every year, a new cohort of Youth Members are selected. Meeting each other at Launch Weekend, you’ll break the ice, find your feet, and divide into your separate committees.
In 2017, the committees are: Primary Industries and Environment (PIE); Innovation, Science and e-Government (ISE); Community and Social Services (CSS); Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (MIA); Transport and Road Safety (TRS); Justice and Legal Services (JLS); Education, Training and Skills (ETS) and; Health and Disability Services (HDS).
Throughout the year, the committees each write their own Youth Bill and Amendments. They meet with relevant community stakeholders, whether that be MPs, business owners, or advocates.
Eventually, Youth Members come back together in September, for the second, super fun, camp: Residential Sitting Week. You’ll take over Queensland’s Parliamentary Chambers to debate your Bills, Matter’s of Public Importance and to make a personal Private Member’s statement on an issue close to you or your electorate’s heart.
In previous years, Youth Members have debated everything from domestic violence reform, to sexual education, to live exports, to medicinal marijuana, to ridesharing and Uber, to mental health treatment.
The Community Counts
Of course, being part of QYP allows you to continue to be passionately active in your community – locally, across the state, or globally.
As a program, we develop ways where we can impact the community as a group. In the past, we’ve run (okay, maybe walked) the Bridge to Brisbane countless times, raised money for mental health awareness, and prepared birthing kits for women in developing countries.
We do everything and are up for anything.
The Personal Pieces
Whilst QYP is widely promoted as being a Parliament for Youths, we are also so much more. We are a place for young people to belong, to find their tribe, and to find their voice.
It is both humbling and incredible to see the number of life-long friendships made yearly through QYP. It is a truly unique, indescribable and unbreakable bond.
We know it sounds hard to understand, but you won’t know until you give it a go. You should definitely nominate.