The BC Youth Parliament (BCYP) is a youth-driven organization aiming to improve the lives of young British Columbians through community service. BCYP is made up of 95 British Columbians between the ages of 16 and 21, nominated by their schools and service organizations. BCYP’s young leaders combine their talents and skills to plan, fundraise for and implement service projects to benefit British Columbia’s young people.
From Dec. 27 to 31, BCYP members devote their holiday time to the organization’s annual legislative session at the BC Legislature in Victoria. Members meet to debate plans and projects for the upcoming year, learn about parliamentary procedure and discuss resolutions/positions on major national and international issues.
BCYP is not a mock parliament: all the legislation passed at the BCYP session in December will be carried out in the upcoming year. Proposed activities and projects are presented as bills that BCYP members debate during their legislative session.
Members of the BC Youth Parliament don’t sit or vote as members of a political party. Every vote in BCYP is a free vote, meaning members vote their conscience on issues. Government legislation is proposed, but can be (and often is) amended as the membership sees fit.
Service is the key to BCYP. Following the five-day parliamentary session, BCYP members return to their home communities to carry out the plans for service they debated in Victoria. Members participate in local service efforts individually and in groups. Service projects are organized and executed entirely by BCYP members, or involve participation in projects with other organizations.
BCYP members organize and run regional youth parliaments in various regions of the province. Regional youth parliaments hold weekend sessions aimed at high school students between the ages of 14 and 18. Through these events, BCYP furthers its goal of promoting community service, education in the parliamentary process, and training in leadership, public speaking and debate.
With an annual budget of approximately $25,000, BCYP fundraises throughout the year but also depends on the generous support of private and corporate donors to make its projects feasible. BCYP is non-profit, non-partisan, non-denominational and a registered charity.
For more information, see www.bcyp.org.