Education officers praises YMCA at conference

| 25/01/2018 | 0 Comments
CNS Local Life

Y staff had fun while learning

(CNS): Christen Suckoo, the chief officer in the education ministry, had lots of good things to say about the YMCA, which runs government’s after school programme, when he attended the association’s 3rd Annual Leaders for Youth Conference held here in Cayman. During his opening remarks, he reflected
on the conference theme of the power of perspective, which he said was a timely one. “We live in an age when understanding, accepting and respecting each other’s perspective is giving way to pride and a stubborn stopping up of the ears,” the ministry boss stated.

“This is no less true in Cayman than it is elsewhere, and no less important to understand, than within the context of reaching, and positively influencing our children and youth. We can’t help them if we can’t build a bridge of respect. We can’t build bridges if we don’t listen, and we can’t hear them if we don’t understand and respect their perspectives,” he added, as he thanked the YMCA for running the government’s extended after-school programme along with over 50 public school teachers.

The conference brought together over 130 participants, including YMCA staff, volunteers, teen leaders and community partners, to learn from each other and grow as leaders in their community. The event featured new and returning local presenters as well as international partners from the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg (Florida) and the Westfield Area Y (New Jersey).

For the first time, the Y hosted YMCA leaders from across the Caribbean — Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad — who are building on the after-school programmes in their respective
countries, and hoping to learn from the work Cayman’s Y is doing, officials said.

The two-day conference kicked off with leadership training for YMCA programme coordinators and professional staff, which included visits to several after-school sites across the island.

“We got to see how the staff interact with the kids, the spaces they have to work with, some of the wins and challenges that they have and how this conference can respond to some of those issues and help develop the staff team,” said Newton Reiff, Sports Director at the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg in Florida.

Monique Hinds, newly appointed general secretary for the Barbados YMCA, was very impressed with the after-school programme and the opportunities available to participants.

“It was good to see what’s happening in the Cayman Islands and refreshing to see the children take part in structured and supervised activity after school, and to see that there are avenues where you can create more opportunities for kids,” she said. “I think youth between 8 and 11 is the group we need to better support back in Barbados. The knowledge I gained here I can take home and adapt to Barbados.”

YMCA Cayman’s CEO Greg Smith said it was an empowering event. “We all come with different backgrounds, cultures, worldviews and experiences but we are all united around the Y’s core values of honesty, caring, respect, responsibility and faith, and this realisation makes it so much easier to work together to make our country a better place,” he said. “Having our counterparts from around the Caribbean and the US join us this year was a great opportunity to not only gain new perspectives from them, but also remind ourselves just how far we’ve come, and celebrate our successes through the telling of our story to our visiting attendees.”

CNS Local Life

Some of the 130 conference attendees

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Category: Community, Education, Service Organisations

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