27. Amy Bryans

4 Apr

amy bryansEver heard that saying “children should be seen and not heard?” and stopped for a moment to contemplate what little relevance it holds in this day and age. It is already well known that Gen Y are the ones who will soon be taking over from the ‘Baby Boomers’ and fixing the mistakes made by those gone before us. This being the case the idea that children should “not be heard” makes no sense, as those belonging to Gen Y need to have their voices heard if we are to have any chance of making an impact on our world.

Meeting annually, YMCA in conjunction with the Victorian Parliament have created a program that does just that, giving  the youth of our generation a chance to speak out and have their voices heard. In a bid to improve the lives of Australia’s youths the YMCA Youth Parliament program gives those aged between sixteen and twenty five a chance to come together and vote for bills that they feel strongly about. In 2011 the amiable Amy Bryans participated in the program and was voted by her peers to be the Youth Premier.  She explains to me just how big an impact the program has made on her and what it offers for those wishing to join.

There is an unmistakable confidence brimming from this polite well-mannered young woman who has just emerged from a meeting at the Banyule Council where she is planning for a series of speaking engagements she will deliver in schools. Her warm personality makes her easy to talk to as we slip into the interview, in which she explains what first started her involvement in the Youth Parliament program. “I really wanted to gain leadership and experience” she says as she informs me of the YMCA camp that first brought the program to her attention.

Unlike some youth based programs, YMCA Youth Parliament requires a lot of time and dedication, “it take around six months to decide on the issues we want to bring to parliament” Bryans says, “after all the bills need to plausible in order for them to work.” There are around twenty teams that come together, the option of joining being entirely of one’s own volition, with groups from all sorts of schools, universities and scouts coming forward to take part in the program. “It gives people a chance to put their voice forward, and best of all you could have zero interest in politics and still have a great time.”

So what has this experience done for Amy? Already an outgoing character, she has seen Youth Parliament as an outlet to further explore her skills in leadership training. Now having already shouldered such a responsibility as Youth Premier she found the role not only “gave her something to do” but also gave her “somewhere to go”. Having become a part of Youth Parliament to gain leadership and experience she has found the program fulfilled all these hopes and expectations, teaching her how to handle responsibility and properly lead a group of young keen individuals, having allowed her to put her own voice and ideas forward.

Although she admits she never saw herself engaging in politics she is eager to return and further her skills. “This year I am a part of the Youth Parliament Taskforce on the Media and Communications Portfolio” she explains. When asked about her coming plans, “I hope to get lots of great media for the program” hoping to encourage more to come forward and participate. As well as this Bryans plans to further her love for theatre, “I hope to become a theatre director” she says, “I even returned to my old high school to assist in the school production.”

“I’d rather be busy than bored” she smiles “I have no problem doing a thousand things, it keeps my life interesting.” It’s no surprise that when asked about her life in high school she happily explains how she was school captain for year twelve, “I loved high school, I was always heavily involved.”

Crediting her love and inspiration for getting out and leading the public back to Youth Parliament she admits just how much it changed her life. “It inspired so much confidence in me, I was selected to develop my leadership skills and it’s really helped me grow as a person.” Now having such an ability with the public, when asked whether she values her reputation over speaking her mind her answer shows a level of sophistication and maturity one can only attribute to her experience with Youth Parliament. “When I was younger I would’ve said speaking your mind was more important, but now I think it’s more a balance between the two, and knowing how to interact with people.”

Coming from a family of divorced parents she explains how one shouldn’t let what happens around them be a product of who you are. Her family also run their own drama studio, which is what first inspired her desire to pursue a career in acting. “Working in performing arts” she says, “it makes life so interesting”.

She is a truly remarkable young woman who should serve as an inspiration to all who come into contact with her.

Words By:Rachel Nixon

Photo by: Sean Porter


2 Responses to “27. Amy Bryans”

  1. Camelia July 15, 2013 at 4:39 am #

    I was reading your story and I have to say not all baby boomers believe in the old ways, sure we have values but we change those as much as we change our sox !!! I sure like the new ways of many women from the next generation below myself. I am proud of many young women for standing stronger for what is right, rather than doing because you were told it is the right way. so here is to you young women, us older ones may be wise but not always right ! I love change and always love to see women support each other, young and old as we will always learn from each other. Well done and fight for what is right you will always come across those quick to tell you…. In our time we did this and I will say but it wasn’t always right. !!!!

  2. Friend July 15, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    I had the amazing opportunity to meet and participate in this year’s Youth Parliament with Amy Bryans. She was an absolute inspiration to me and many of the participants whom were fortunate enough to get to know her a bit better and confide in her with our Parliament triumphs and challenges. An admirable leader, but even more so, a true friend. I’ll miss Amy’s love for life and all she had to offer in the lives of each young individual on the program, but I will never forget the heart that touched mine. I wish her all the best for the future. See you next year x

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