Local youth impress in Duke of Edinburgh’s awards

| 23/07/2015
Cayman News Service

Governor Helen Kilpatrick presents Joseph Burey his gold award at this year’s Queen’s birthday celebration

(CNS): Over 2013 and 2014 of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Cayman, 80 young people have completed this prestigious programme, garnering seven golds, 28 silvers and 45 bronzes.

Earning gold awards were Marc Reid, Adam Jackson, Samantha Mascarenhas, David Terry and, from the Cadet Corps, Lance Corporal Joseph Burey, Sergeant Antanika Ebanks and Second Lieutenant Natalie Williams.

Governor Helen Kilpatrick presented the majority of the recipients, including one gold awardee, with their pins and certificates at Government House in May and the other gold winners at the recent Queen’s birthday celebrations.

All the current recipients, ranging in age from 14-25, are studying in local youth organisations, schools or colleges, or overseas tertiary institutions.

The popular development programme has touched over eight million young people’s lives around the world.

Katherine Jackson, national chairman of the Cayman Islands National Award Authority, explained that the programme challenges young people to develop their lives and broaden their horizons by participating in extra-curricular activities.

These activities cover four main areas:

Service: to encourage participation in and provide help to the community;

Skills: to promote the development of personal interests and practical skills, including learning a musical instrument and cooking;

Physical recreation: to nurture physical fitness and better participation in sports; and

Adventurous journeys: to foster a spirit of adventure and discovery.

Completion of the activities can take up to six months in the bronze category, between six months to a year in the silver, and about two years in the gold, or more if the student is away in an overseas university. To transition from one level to another, the students have to complete increasingly challenging tasks that call for better decision-making skills and physical fitness.

In addition to completing the tasks, the participants have to undertake a camping adventure journey. Bronze award candidates attend a weekend exploration adventure on Grand Cayman, while the silver expedition is usually a three day-two night event held on Cayman Brac on a public holiday weekend, Jackson said. A group project is also included in every expedition.

“The gold adventurous journey has grown to become an outstanding adventure and young leaders’ summer camp,” she said.

Hosted by the Caribbean Award Sub-Regional Council comprising 14 member countries, the camps are attended by gold participants from around the Caribbean, and Central and South American region. The countries take turns hosting the two-week adventurous journey and young leaders’ camp each year.

The Cayman Islands has been participating in the regional camps since 1990 and was the host country in 2000, she said.

Jackson explained that the programme encourages students to focus on personal development rather than competition. “The award is simply a balanced programme of activities which can run parallel to any other youth programme, thus allowing the young people to achieve high standards and build their self-confidence and leadership skills.”

As the students progress in the programme, they assume greater leadership roles. Gold candidates participate in the national committee monthly meetings, as well as mentoring and assessing the bronze and silver participants. “Right now we are grooming 16 rising stars in leadership,” Jackson added.

Overall, the Cayman Islands has 64 gold award holders, many of whom occupy prominent positions in the local community, with the potential to take on future leadership roles, she said.


Category: Youth

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