Unearth our future leaders
ALTHOUGH people under the age of 18 may feel they have little or no influence on politics and the affairs of the nation, they will sooner rather than later experience the impact politicians' decisions have on their lives.
For those teenagers who are keen to make a contribution or want to join the ranks of decision-makers in Canberra or Sydney, the NSW YMCA runs an annual Youth Parliament.
YMCA spokesperson Beth Laurenson said past participants had achieved remarkable feats with youth parliament member Sam Groves becoming the media representative for Australia's Governor-General Quentin Bryce and past member Brett Mason becoming European political correspondent for Channel Ten.
The youth parliament entails two 'training camps' where young people prepare bills with the aim to have them adopted by the NSW Parliament.
Ms Laurenson said a bill prepared by the youth parliament proposing changes to the legislation governing state emergency services was passed by the NSW government last year.
State MPs were invited to act as speakers at various youth parliament sessions, giving the youngsters the opportunity to meet and interact with their representatives in Sydney.
Nationals MP and NSW deputy speaker Thomas George has been a longstanding supporter of the scheme and has called on young people in the Northern Rivers region to nominate for a spot and join their fellow teenagers at one of the two camps and the various planned activities.
"If you are passionate about making change in NSW, you will be the voice of young people in your electorate, advising NSW politicians and decision-makers on matters affecting young people," Mr George said.
"This is your opportunity to have your voice heard and represent the young people of the Northern Rivers, I encourage you to get involved."
Nominations are open for 15 to 18-year-old aspiring politicians until November 12 this year and the lucky chosen few will have the opportunity to attend a training camp from April 13 until 15 and a residential camp from July 1 until July 7.
The camps will take place at Sydney Olympic Park Lodge and will cost $600 which includes accommodation, meals, all activities' costs and transport between Sydney Olympic Park Lodge and NSW Parliament House.