The OYP Experience Through the Eyes of a First Year Cabinet Minister

My first OYP session was in February of 2015. I had heard a lot of great things about this organization throughout the years leading up to my first parliament. So, when I became old enough to become a delegate, my dad encouraged me to register. I’ll be honest, although I was excited to go to OYP and experience it for the first time, I was probably more nervous than anything. I walked onto the Ottawa bus and sat down in an empty seat, but automatically, as if I had flipped a switch, people came up to me and started up conversations. I knew immediately that I was going to have an incredible weekend.

On the bus ride home, I was sitting with my new friends, laughing, talking, and singing, and I couldn’t wait to register all over again. Two years after my first OYP weekend, I applied for Cabinet and got a position as a communications minister. I was on my way to my best friend’s birthday party as I saw an unknown number appear on the screen, I answered, and Emily Sams (the Leader of the Opposition)’s lovely voice was on the other line, telling me I had made cabinet. I was ecstatic. I called my Mom right after I ended my call with Emily and told her the news. I couldn’t wait until our first cabinet meeting.

In the days leading up to our first cabinet meeting I was a ball of fear and excitement, as if I was as a first year delegate. Once again, lovely Emily Sams texted me, asking how I was feeling about my first cabinet meeting. When I told her that I was terrified, she reassured me in a way that only the great folks of OYP can do.

The drive to our first cabinet meeting in Ajax was long, and filled with great tunes. When we pulled up to the church in Ajax, I was greeted with hugs, and smiles, reminding me that I always had a place at OYP.

Now, with two cabinet meetings under my belt, I am even more excited about the Family Day weekend than I was before. The passion, and drive I have witnessed from my fellow cabinet ministers, and the many ARCs during these past two weekends has been inspiring. There is still a lot of work to be done in planning Ontario Youth Parliament 2017, but I promise you that I’ll be smiling the whole way through.

It is normal to be nervous about your first OYP, or even your seventh OYP. Just remind yourself that the smiling faces that will greet you when you pull into Peterborough, the friendships you will make, and the home that you will have created through this weekend will have such a huge impact on you and your life. The pre-parliament butterflies do not compare to the post-parliament memories.

Written By Bronwyn Clifton
Photo by Nic Hull