Like many young people, when I first went to YPAT, I thought the answer to “fixing” today’s problems was to campaign harder – simply spread the truth, and it would speak for itself.
I was invited to attend YPAT at a point in my life when I was becoming frustrated with the unproductivity of this approach. I wondered if it was really possible to fix the problems facing my country and culture and had more or less decided to ignore them and hope that things would get better.
My experience at YPAT taught me that it is only by directly engaging with the thought processes within our institutions, Parliament and wider world that we can create a better society.
I was instantly attracted by several of the topics – direct engagement with experts on the issues of respect for human life, education and practising your faith in the public sphere.
However, it wasn’t only these subjects that were of use for me. Previously dry, boring topics such as economics, politics and the academic world became pertinent and engaging as speakers illuminated their relevance via simple explanations and real-life illustrations.
It was a privilege to hear directly from members of Parliament, cultural leaders and members of the medical profession as they shared behind-the-scenes stories that really brought their challenging roles in the public arena to life. I gained a new appreciation for their personal sacrifices and years of service – and how vital it is that more good people be trained and mentored to join them.
For me, the crowning part of YPAT was the Great Debate on the last day. Here, YPAT delegates form parties and practise policy formation, negotiation and debate.
I was able immediately to see on a practical level how Australia’s laws are created, and why they can often be so different from what the public perceives is required.
For someone like myself, who had had no previous interest in politics whatsoever, it was enlightening, thrilling and instantly addictive. I’ve been involved in politics ever since.
If you are a young person who wants to learn more about the world and why it is the way it is, then I highly recommend YPAT. I’ve been on quite a few leadership/cultural training camps and my experience at YPAT really stands out as the one that made a difference to my outlook and goals in life, and ultimately, my career.
YPAT is also a great opportunity to make like-minded friends. Many of the people I met at YPAT I know and actively work with to this day. I can trace several of my current interests back to a comment or talk from the week.
I would also recommend the program to parents and others with connections to young people who require foundation and training in this area. With young people from 18 to 30 welcome, it’s the perfect activity for the uni holidays.
And at $480 for a week’s training, activities, accommodation and food, it’s a bargain!
You can apply online from anywhere in Australia. It’s an experience you won’t regret. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!