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58 Grand Bahamian youths recognized

It’s a program that enriches young people’s lives on multiple levels. At least that’s the way Carla Brown-Roker, Grand Bahama’s Ministry of Youth officer, views the Governor General’s Youth Award (GGYA) and she said as much during a presentation which saw 58 participants recognized.

“When I see GGYA on applications coming into my ministry, it paints a picture in my mind about the applicant. I realize this person is not lazy. This person knows the value of hard work and this person is an asset, not a liability,” said Brown-Roker, who spoke at GGYA’s June 4 award ceremony held at the Ruby Swiss Restaurant on Freeport’s East Atlantic Drive.

Whether it’s the leadership, organizational skills or problem solving demonstrated as part of their hiking expedition, or the commitment, empathy or positivity showcased through their volunteering and other activities, GGYA’s internationally-recognized awards spotlight excellence.

“This program is one of my favorites because your success depends on you. Others focus on sports, speech, debate, entrepreneurship, etiquette, etc., but this one has levels of success embedded in its program and only you can decide how far you want to climb. This one requires grit, hard work and perseverance,” Brown-Roker acknowledged.

“In my capacity as youth coordinator, I find too many young people looking for something and willing to do nothing. In fact, they demand it because in their minds they are entitled. Too many expect success wrapped in a bow on a silver platter, delivered to their door in 15 minutes or less. They ain’t into nothing too hard, too long, nothing that will take them away from their phones and comfort.”

There are three levels to the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award program, the world’s leading youth achievement award, which GGYA delivers.

Once successfully completed, they lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold. The difference between each stage is the minimum length of time it takes to complete, the difficulty level and the minimum age one could begin.

The four-part youth program which focuses on physical recreation, skill development, community service and an adventurous journey, is open to persons 14 to 24-years-old.

Brown-Roker urged participants to continue to give character-building community service, not just to fulfill a requirement for one of the award levels, but because it is the right thing to do. She also pointed out that GGYA’s skill development component helps to improve job prospects.

“Having skills in today’s world is a must. Always be open to learning as many skills as you can for these can only benefit you in years to come,” she said.

“You never know where life will take you, but you may be pleasantly surprised that your future career could have originated with a skill acquired right here in GGYA. Keep an open mind and a teachable spirit and embrace new opportunities.”

For Kamrin Moss-Roker (no relation to Brown-Roker), GGYA helped prepare her for university. The 18-year-old history and political studies major just completed her first year at Trent University in Ontario, Canada.

“Going off to college, I felt better able to fend for myself because I’ve had time away from home and time away from electronics through the adventurous journeys,” she said, referencing overnight hiking expeditions and exploration which take participants away from home and, more often than not, into unfamiliar territory.

“I went all the way to Gold, so, the perseverance and determination that took improved my ability to focus on a goal and complete whatever I set out to do.”

During the presentation, 39 Bronze, 15 Silver and four Gold Awards were presented to participants representing Tabernacle Baptist Academy, Bishop Michael Eldon School, Lucaya International School, St. Paul’s Methodist College, St. George’s High School, Eight Mile Rock High School, the University of The Bahamas, Florida Memorial and Canada’s Trent University.

Heather Williams rec