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GGYA poised for global attention

GGYA participants clean up Harrold and Wilson Ponds National Park in conjunction with the Bahamas National Trust. GGYA

A leading youth program hopes to grab as much of the spotlight as it can as a global program beefs up its photography and videography collection for worldwide marketing purposes.

The Governor General’s Youth Award (GGYA), the national award operator (NAO) of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, snagged an opportunity to showcase just how fantastic is the program, which operates in more than 130 countries and territories around the world, helping to inspire over 1.3 million young people every year.

Out of 13 national award operators in the Americas region – a territory spanning countries from Canada to Argentina – The Bahamas was among the first selected to be profiled.

Finding GGYA to be “very proactive, engaged and vibrant”, Jamaica-based David Clarke, Americas regional director, nominated the NAO for the honor, which entailed a field visit from Marianna Davis, communications manager for The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation in London. Davis oversees communications for the Americas region, along with Asia Pacific.

While in town Davis hosted a communications workshop at the Bahamas National Trust office, where award leaders from The Bahamas and Barbados were in attendance, while others from Jamaica, Bermuda, Trinidad and Tobago and the U.S. joined via Skype.

Discussions focused on communications challenges and opportunities, including PR activity, traditional and social media engagement.

In The Bahamas, Davis worked with videographer Kyle Ferguson and photographers Torrell Glinton and Ahvia Campbell to capture strong imagery that truly reflects the diversity of the award, through bright, colorful, positive shots.

During her six-day visit Davis trailed GGYA participants on New Providence, Grand Bahama and Andros, capturing as many of the four key areas of the award (service, skill, physical recreation and adventurous journey) as possible, in addition to showing participants and award leaders interacting, laughing, challenging themselves and enjoying the activities.

“Good communications requires an ongoing refresh of images, videography, case studies (short articles on individual participants) to help promote the award internationally,” she said. “We want to be able to share our stories from all over the world, in our publications, in the press and social media to showcase not only the positive impact the award has on young people across the world but remind them too that they are part of a global program; that they are part of something bigger.”

The project’s benefit to the foundation is threefold: to inspire young people to take part in the award, to encourage adults to volunteer with the award and to demonstrate to donors, both current and prospective, the great work their money is funding.

Davis and her local team documented Nassau participants cleaning up Harrold and Wilson Ponds National Park in conjunction with the Bahamas National Trust. Freeport participants were captured dispensing animal care and cleanup at the Grand Bahama Humane Society while other youths from the nation’s second city exhibited their skills in cutting, pasting and fringing costumes for next week’s Junior Junkanoo Parade. On Andros, a gold practice expedition trekked to Uncle Charlie’s Blue Hole.

With the foundation set to release more international marketing collateral this year to promote the award worldwide, GGYA’s national director, Denise Mortimer, hopes the local program makes the cut.

“It would be great exposure for us,” she said. “The tremendous support we receive from the Bahamian government helps to ensure that our program remains relevant and vibrant across our 700 islands and cays.”

In 2017, GGYA had 1,500 participants in 50 units on nine islands supported by 147 volunteers. In its 30-year history it has disbursed around 7,600 awards.

Once participants have successfully completed community service engagements, mastered new skills, participated in physical activities and adventurous journeys (hiking expeditions) they are eligible for a bronze, silver or gold award, depending on minimum time requirements.

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