GGYA Showcases How Young People Can Get Involved

George O. Fowler Apostolic Academy’s unit leader and participants attending the Governor General’s Youth Award Activity Showcase Saturday, were encouraged to adopt a healthy lifestyle by HaLT, a non-profit under the auspices of The Cancer Society of The Bahamas. Photo courtesy of Precision Media

Scores of youths from private and public schools across New Providence flocked to SuperClubs Breezes over the weekend to discover how they could get active, develop a skill and help the community through their participation in the Governor General’s Youth Award (GGYA). 

GGYA, the local arm of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, the world’s leading achievement award offers young people the opportunity to gain three Awards through four activities – volunteering, physical exercise, skills and an expedition. The latter is also called an adventurous journey, an overnight expedition by foot, bike, boat or other modes of approved travel. 

“The goal was to introduce young people to activities they can do in order to pursue their Bronze, Silver or Gold Award,” according to Jacquetta Lightbourne-Maycock, GGYA’s national director. 

“At the start of a new school year, we wanted to reacquaint our participants with traditional activities such as Boys Brigade, Girl Guide, Scout, Rangers and Junior Achievement and introduce them to new ones like Chinese dragon boat racing and Blue Angel Flight Experience, a flight school.” 

The event displayed opportunities for young people to engage in community service work with land and marine animals through Blue Lagoon Island, Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) and Ardastra Wildlife and Conservation Centre. 

GGYA participants were also able to sign-up for life-changing opportunities to help others through Hands for Hunger, The Dignified Girl Project and Bahamas Red Cross; and help themselves by partnering with HaLT, a non-profit that promotes a healthy lifestyle under the auspices of The Cancer Society of The Bahamas. 

“I was amazed by all the opportunities to get involved, especially the Dignified Girl Project, catering to those who are unable to buy feminine products,” said Zahriya Reckley, a twelfth grader at  

Jordan Prince Williams. 

“You are more likely to see a volunteer group like that in America not The Bahamas, so I volunteered my services to them. That’s going to be my community service.” 

For C.C. Sweeting twelfth grader, Jenika Pierre, Hands for Hunger stood out. 

“I helped out with them before, through my church when I was younger, but I stopped as my school schedule got busier. I want to get active with them again. It feels good to give back.” 

The Scout Association of The Bahamas caught Carlton Tucker’s eyes. 

“I found it interesting. I want to join,” said the tenth grader at George O. Fowler Apostolic Academy. 

“I think that and GGYA will help me in the long run, for life.” 

One popular activity at Saturday’s event was Blue Angel Flight Experience. The business highlighted its flight simulators.  

“Young people in grades eleven and twelve can come in and learn how to fly,” said Sheryl Carey, a ground instructor and pilot. “We teach the basic fundamental of flying and we can also provide ground classes for them to get their private pilot licence which could go towards GGYA’s skill-development component.” 

Another newcomer to GGYA’s showcase, now in its second year, was the Bahamas Chinese Dragon Boat Association.  

“It’s a 2,000-year-old ancient Chinese, team building, water sport,” explained Kay-Kay Tong, the association’s founding president. “We need teens to be at least 14-year-old and have some proficiency in swimming.” 

Meantime, GGYA’S long-standing community partner, Ardastra Gardens offered a fun time with animal friends. 

“A couple months ago GGYA reached out to us to bring about 150 volunteers in two different sessions where they helped us with the animals,” said Hendrew Haley, Ardastra’s animal manager.  

“Our partnership not only allows participants to give invaluable community service, it’s also a chance for teens to explore an alternative career path. We take the opportunity to share from an environmental perspective and give kids who are interested in animals an opportunity to get closer to nature.” 

Interested persons can enroll in the Governor General’s Youth Award at any time, through one of its 35 units on eight islands or contact the national office at #12 Essex Street. 

Writer: Tosheena Robinson BSc, MSc

More photo highlights below:

The Bahamas Red Cross registered young volunteers willing to lend a helping hand. GGYA participants must engage in community service for one hour a week over a set period of time depending upon their Award level.

Volunteering with GGYA’s long-time partner, Ardastra Gardens provides young people with the opportunity to explore an alternative career path and learn more about nature and the environment while assisting in a worthwhile cause.

GGYA participants were introduced to the country’s newest water sport, Chinese dragon boat racing. Among other requirements, the youth programme’s participants must engage in a physical activity regularly and show personal improvement over time in order to achieve their Bronze, Silver or Gold Award.

The Governor General’s Youth Award programme is designed to complement other youth programmes. Pictured here, GGYA participants sign up for Junior Achievement. The business acumen developed through that programme could fulfill GGYA’s skill requirement.