A scavenger hunt, march and rally, Jesus in the Park event, medal presentation ceremony and youth band encounter are among the events planned to observe National Youth Month 2019 in The Bahamas.
The Hon. Lanisha Rolle, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, officially launched National Youth Month, celebrated in October, at a press conference on Monday; and she appealed to all Bahamians to get involved in the myriad events set aside to hear the voices of young people and showcase their talents.
Among the MOYSC officials present were: Undersecretary, Renee Bullard; Executive Director, Rowena Poitier-Sutherland; National Youth Month Chairperson, Sandena Neely; Youth Officer, Ingrid Sears-Deveaux and Director of Sports, Tim Munnings. The 2019 theme is: “Globally Connected: Locally Focused.”
Minister Rolle said during National Youth Month the core focus will be on the following:
1. Identifying and acknowledging the achievements of young people
2. Bringing awareness to the challenges facing youth in The Bahamas and around the world
3. Promoting national discussion of issues affecting youth
4. Encouraging avenues for youth development, engagement, inclusion and interaction
5. Making recommendations for the further development of the youth demographics
Minister Rolle remarked that issues facing young people in The Bahamas are demonstrably intertwined in the lives of individuals as young as 13 and as old as 35-40 years old.
She said the United Nations’ World Youth Report, “Addressing the Complex Challenges Facing Young People Today,” published in February 2019, revealed that chief among challenges facing youth are education and employment.
“Here in The Bahamas approximately 5,000 youth leave school each year. This means youth is the largest demographic needing to enter the job market every 12 months. With youth unemployment reportedly at 20 percent in The Bahamas, clearly identifying specific ways and means to secure the employment of young people has to be a priority of government,” said Minister Rolle.
She outlined several initiatives and programmes by the government designed to curb the youth unemployment trend and to encourage educational and job opportunities.
Among the initiatives are direct employment of university graduates within and throughout the public service, free education at the University of The Bahamas for qualified recent high school graduates along with free accommodations for family island students, free technical studies at BTVI, grants for studies abroad and educational loans. Furthermore, Minister Rolle said, the Youth Division offers free programmes year round for skill building and training, mentoring and business start-up for young people through Be Inspired, Fresh Start, Job Readiness and the annual National Youth Summer Employment Apprenticeship programmes and workshops.
Minister Rolle announced the appointment of Mr. John Phillpot as the 2019 National Youth Month Patron and Lifetime Honouree. She described Mr. Phillpot as a respected and distinguished youth leader who possesses an outstanding record of work regarding youth programmes both nationally and internationally.
She said Mr. Phillpot’s contribution to the Scout Association of The Bahamas serves as a hallmark and benchmark for upcoming youth workers.
National Youth Month Calendar:
1 –Youth Leaders’ Certification Programme commences
4 – Jesus in the Park, Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium
6 – Youth March and Rally, Clifford Park
7 – Fresh Start Programme commences
9 – Medal Presentation Ceremony, Government House
11 – Youth Leaders’ Reception, Hilton
12 – Connect and Paint, Edmund Moxey Youth & Community Center
21 – Job Readiness Programme commences
22 – Youth Parliament Training
23 – Youth Parliament Courtesy Call on the Governor General, and National Youth Recognition Ceremony
24 – Youth Parliament Courtesy Calls
25 – Youth in Parliament, House of Assembly
27 – Youth Band Encounter
2 – Struggles and Dreams