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Lina's Trip To Parliament

Lina & Mom
Little Sister Lina took part in the 2016 YOUth in Office: Job Shadowing Day. 108 young people aged 14 to 24 from Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC) and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBSC) got the chance to learn about politics and the political process from Members of Parliament and Hill staffers. They spent the workday together to inspire young people to become more engaged citizens by exposing them to politics and the democratic process in Canada. Lina shared her experience with us:

How did you first find out about YOUth in Office?

Lina: My mom always e-mails me all the stuff she gets from Big Brothers Big Sisters. And I was like “Oh yeah, I really want to do this" because I’ve always been interested in politics, and travel, and adventures! Sure I’ve seen things on TV and heard about them in class but it’s not like actually being there..

What were you most excited for?

Lina: I really just wanted to go and see behind the scenes and find out what it’s like in Parliament. It’s not often someone can say that they were there IN PARLIAMENT, like more than just a tour and walking around Parliament Hill. I even got a fancy nametag!

Was it what you expected?

Lina: I expected it was going to be very professional, what I wasn’t expecting were all the funny moments. I met TJ Harvey at one point and he was funny and joking around. I job shadowed MP Wayne Long and he snap-chatted for the first time ever with us – so it was fun going through the different filters with him.   

What was it like experiencing YOUth in Action with a bunch of other kids from coast to coast that are affiliated with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys and Girls Club?

Lina: The whole like-minded kids part is totally true. It’s not often that I met young people around my age that are interested in politics, or their future, or doing a trip like this. I met some girls who I am still in contact with and plan on seeing again. We had so much fun together.

Lina's Mom: Lina told me that she spoke with other kids that also care very much about their school and their futures, which is always nice to hear.

Lina: I was even told that there’s a scholarship we are all qualified for because we are a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters, and I think we all benefitted from talking to each other.

Lina's Mom: Talking with Lina when she got back from the trip was great, you could really see that the people she met and the trip itself had a big impact on her. She was happy and very interested in talking about what she had learned. She really found herself while on the trip with these girls.

Was there anything you saw or experienced while there that you think may follow you through the rest of your high school and possibly college/university career?

Lina: There were a lot of interesting moments for sure, and I have always been interested in politics. I never really considered it as a career choice. When I was younger I wanted to be the Prime Minister but than later thought that could never be possible. After this visit to Parliament though, I saw people from all different backgrounds and realized “I really can do anything!” I was really inspired by the whole experience.

Is there anything you’d like to add, any words of wisdom you’d like to share with the other “Littles” within our organization?

Lina: Go out and take opportunities. I mean even with gymnastics and violin, sometimes I just don’t want to do it and would rather watch Netflix but you have to make sure you go out and take those opportunities. Also, this is going to sound cheesy, but don’t care what people think of you. People sometimes made me feel embarrassed for caring about my future so much. When I first got accepted to YOUth in Action I didn’t really want to tell people. I didn’t think they would get it, and think it’s dumb. But when I came back I decided I didn’t care what people thought because I had an awesome time.

Lina's Mom: Before the trip, Lina was a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters, but she was always hesitant to talk about it in front of her peers. After signing up for this trip and after she came back, she has overcome this fear and she is proud of being a part of this organization. She talks about how amazing Big Brothers Big Sisters is and how she has benefitted from all the opportunities that they have provided her. I am so happy and proud that she is now overcome this hesitation to share what she knows and loves about something that has had such an impact on her life.

Lina: I have a funny story to tell about when we were at Parliament! So we were supposed to all take a picture and so we were waiting on the balcony when Justin Trudeau came out behind us and everyone screamed and ran over to him. But, like I’m short so I couldn’t see over everyone in front of me so I kept jumping to get a better look, even after he got everyone to quiet down, I kept jumping. And he goes, “you too kangaroo”.

Do you have anything you’d like to add?

Lina: The whole trip kind of reignited my dream to work in Parliament. I would like to thank Big Brothers Big Sisters for the amazing experience!