There are people who spend their whole lives trying to find their ideal career, but Brendon Jaggard isn’t one of them. At 14, he already knows he’s headed for a life in politics.
A unit on world government in Grade 7 at Bicentennial School kindled this passion, and a recent trip to Ottawa with a program called “YOUth in Office” confirmed it.
“I have an interest in pretty much everything that happens in politics,” says Jaggard, who describes himself as out-spoken and opinionated. “And I see it as something that lets you give back to the community in a very big way.”
YOUth in Office is offered by Big Brothers Big Sisters along with the Boys and Girls Club of Canada. Young people, ages 14 to 24, who are affiliated with either of these groups can apply. If accepted, they spend YOUth in Office Day at our nation’s capital learning about career opportunities from Members of Parliament and Hill staffers.
In 2014, 40 delegates from across Canada were chosen for the all-expenses-paid trip, and Jaggard was thrilled to be one of them.
“My mom told me about it and I had to fill out an application that asked stuff like ‘What kind of job do you want to do?’ and ‘Describe your strengths’.” Jaggard explains. “It was kind of like a resume.”
An email a couple of weeks before the November 3rd trip informed him that he’d been accepted.
In the program, delegates are paired with mentors, and Jaggard was assigned MP Carolyn Bennett, Liberal Critic for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. Bennett gave Jaggard a sense of her day-to-day work and the challenges of life in politics. The pair also dined in the Parliamentary restaurant, which Jaggard lists as one of his favourite experiences of the trip.
The programing also involved activities like a mock Question Period and a tour of the Parliament Buildings, including the opportunity to watch the proceedings in the House of Commons– an experience that Jaggard says was quite eye-opening.
“They were like little kids arguing over a broken toy,” he recalls with a laugh.
Jaggard intends to apply to YOUth in Office again next year, and would recommend the experience to anyone interested in finding out what life in office is like. “It’s a great way to learn a lot in a really short time.”