An L.V. Rogers Grade 11 student came back from Victoria energized and ready for a future in politics.
Participating in British Columbia Youth Parliament, Taavi Wickman met with close to 100 students at the legislature. With roots nearing a century old, the organization aims to educate youth about parliamentary procedures while giving them a taste of what being in politics is like.
“It was an amazing experience,” he said. “I met like-minded youth and discussed issues that face British Columbians, youth in particular.”
Along with a student from Trail and one from Silverton, Wickman spent part of his Christmas break in the throes of debate with other 16 to 21-year-olds. They also charted the course on service projects intended to be run throughout the year in their own communities — all part of learning about governance.
“Because we spent a week in the legislative assembly we got very familiar with parliamentary structure, parliamentary debate and the formalities — all those issues that face parliamentarians each and every day,” he said.
British Columbia Youth Parliament is one of the few charities run by youth in BC, said Wickman, proof that young people can make a difference. The young man wants to see change and believes the best way is to get personally involved.
“I see too few youth involved in politics — that’s something I would like to change,” he said. “Youth can support their communities and help build a future.”
The youth parliament motto is “youth serving youth,” said Wideman.
“We aspire to enhance the mental, physical, social and spiritual well being of youth in BC,” he said.
With the British Columbia Youth Parliament, a person can return up to five times — an opportunity Wickman plans to take advantage of. Not only will returning mean reconnecting with friends he’s met, it looks great on a resume, he said.
He hopes to bring more students from the West Kootenay with him next year. Holding a Southern Interior Youth Parliament over a weekend in early May at L.V. Rogers will give his colleagues a taste of the Victoria experience.
“We’re hoping to bring in staff from Vancouver and hold and educational experience for youth in the Interior which would encourage them to attend the larger convention in Victoria,” he said.
Through the annual event, young people gain skills in leadership, public speaking and debate, something Wickman has great interest in as part of a large debate program offered at L.V. Rogers.
After graduation, Wickman plans on continuing his studies in political science, economics and psychology. Then, he wants to run for public office — joining parliament as an MP.
“I prefer federal politics to provincial politics. There’s more foreign policy involved, more involved in trade — their jurisdictions are more what I am interested in,” he said.
(CORRECTION: This story originally misspelled Wickman’s last name.)