Cabinet wake-ups begin early. By 8:00 AM, Cabinet members, sleepy-eyed and yawning, arrive for breakfast starting to think about a day of planning.
Cabinet planning meetings occur on several weekends prior to parliament and for the past several years, Cabinet members sleep overnight at their host church on Friday then are billeted on Saturday night.
It’s a very cold morning at Emmanuel United Church in Ottawa when wake-ups begin. Coffee is perking and bagels and bread are toasting. The only people who are more tired than the Cabinet members are the Adult Resource Counsellors, more often known as the ARCs. "Is there any coffee yet? Did I hear people up talking at 3:30 this morning? Is there coffee yet?"
The role of the ARC hasn’t changed. Besides being a terrific opportunity to cook for 40-50 young people and wash a significant number of dishes, it’s a wonderful time to meet up with old friends from past OYPs and to catch up, share stories and continue friendships that began long ago. Working with Cabinet to build their parliament is an incredibly rewarding experience. I marvel that although it’s impossible to imagine an OYP without social media, Google sharing and text communication, OYP is still all about debate, bows, sharing at vespers and the life-long friendships that our delegates form.
As a longtime ARC at OYP, I love the spirit and enthusiasm that our delegates bring every year. I am in awe that the rules of the House and the traditions that I remember from over 30 years ago are still the same. I am thankful that OYP continues to change the lives of young people for the better every year and thankful that I can be a small part of it.
Written by Tim Ralph, Public Relations Adult Resource Counsellor
Photo by Jonathon Reed