Whether it’s kayaking, joining the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Rangers or feeding the destitute with Hands for Hunger, hundreds of young persons were shown how almost any activity could help them to obtain the world’s leading achievement awards for youths. During a weekend showcase held at SuperClubs Breezes, the Governor General’s Youth Award brought together representatives of the armed forces, service clubs, youth groups and even a tour operator to help 210 youths from 25 different Award units choose their activities, set their objectives and achieve their Award.
“We wanted to heighten participants awareness to show them different clubs that might exist in their school or in the wider community that they can be involved in and still pursue their Award whether it’s anyone of the service clubs like Red Cross, Key Club, Rotary’s Interact Club, or it could be that they are involved in the Police Cadet or want to become involved with the Bahamas National Trust, they can do all of that and have their involvement in those organizations fulfill our requirements,” said Jacquetta Lightbourne-Maycock, GGYA’s assistant national director. Activities for each section – volunteering, physical recreation and skills – should take a minimum of one hour a week over a set period so youths could fit it in around their studies. There are four sections to complete at Bronze and Silver level and five at Gold.
They involve helping the community/environment; pushing yourself physically; developing new skills; planning, training for and completing an expedition and, for Gold only, working with a team on a community service project, what GGYA calls a residential activity carried out away from home. Participants have the freedom to choose activities they want to do, whether it is something they are already enjoying or something they have always been interested in pursuing. “We wanted to target our new people, Bronze, to pique their interest and keep them involved.
Once they get on track towards doing something it becomes consistent – the time and effort that goes into pursuing an activity. If we get them at the Bronze-level they will be more compelled to continue being actively engaged in these activities over time,” said Mrs Lightbourne-Maycock. “We saw many young people very much interested in getting involved but at the same time what we are finding is that there is a shortage of adult volunteers across the board when it comes to youth organizations.” Any young person can pursue an Award regardless of ability, gender, background or location. Achieving an Award isn’t a competition, rather it has to do with setting personal challenges and pushing personal boundaries.