Good evening everyone! Turn off those TVs, pause those Youtube videos and momentarily stop everything else because our very first guest blog is here! It comes from none other than our ever charming, sometimes surprising and always delightful Youth Gov for 2013, Olly Tripodi!
Young Oliver Tripodi
We thank Oliver for his fantastic contribution to the blog and we can’t wait to see what Oliver has in store for this year of Youth Parliament. Enjoy!
A few words from Olly:
It was on one of my many trips to collect an Apple and Walnut Scroll from the front counter that I first heard about the Youth Parliament. My now good friend, and then Manager, Siobhan Shaw, asked me whether I’d ever be interested in joining. I wasn’t.
“You should get involved” she said “You like speaking with people, consulting, thinking about real issues. You’d be great” she said (or something like that).
I was 16 years old and a keen political enthusiast, as well as a mediocre employee of a certain, well known bakery franchise. And at the time, the Youth Parliament sounded like a sub-standard debating camp angled at the academic and over-achieving types.
Alas, after a few months of consistent suggestion, and perhaps a personal desire to make amends for my poor job performance (mostly due to my excessive delectation of sweet breads), Siobhan had me attending my first weekend experience with Youth Parliament of Victoria. And from there, there was no turning back.
I’d expected a stifling room of precocious young people, waging a lightweight intellectual battle over the role of the Reserve Bank. Or perhaps a conference room with rowed seating so that the unofficial delegates of the major parties could pretend to seize the moral high ground in a mock debate.
I was so wrong.
I discovered what thousands of young people before me had already. The Youth Parliament of Victoria: a wonderfully open and eclectic group of young people, all enthusiastically awaiting what would become one of the most incredible experiences of their lives so far.
Each session that I attended on that first day came to powerfully instill what I still see as the quintessential Youth Parliament ethos. Young people leading young people; ideas and conversations flowing more freely than I had ever experienced. There was an indelible atmosphere of acceptance that allowed for beliefs to be shared honestly and heard with sincere respect. It was a place in which the possession of beliefs outweighed their content. And I remember incredible amounts of laughter, framed by cause. It was beautiful. And it still is.
Over the last four years, I’ve learned so much about politics, but more importantly, I’ve learned a vast amount about people. I’ve learned that political engagement is only useful if you engage yourself in the world around you.
I am deeply humbled to be leading the organization that has had such a monumental impact in my life. But, I am honored to be a part of the process that is such an overwhelming force for good.
I have grand plans for 2013:
I want to see more Koori representation in Chambers. I want more young people to feel comfortable communicating a message. I want local Councils supporting teams in the Youth Parliament. I want politicians to acknowledge the incredible passion of young people with principle. I want more Youth Parliamentarians from rural and regional Victoria. I want to dispel the accusations of apathy and laziness that have been directed at young people for years.
It isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that the Youth Parliament could reach out and inspire an entire generation of young Victorians. We might just need a few more Apple and Walnut Scrolls.
– Olly Tripodi