The SVG Coast Guard Youth Development Summer Programme (YDSP) wrapped up on Aug. 20 with organisers praising its contribution to the development of the nation’s youth.
The programme, which was sponsored by Bank of St. Vincent and Grenadines and Sagicor Inc., was conducted in three phases from July 11 to August 16 under the theme “Shaping Our Youth For Life’s High Seas”. This year marks the 23rd consecutive year that the programme has been staged since its inception.
This year, 143 persons participated in the programme, bringing to 2,282 the number of persons who have graduated from the programme, which aims to help to mould the nation’s youth into model citizens.
Speaking at the closing ceremony at the Calliaqua Coast Guard Base, programme coordinator, Kenlet Francis, said the programme attracted participants from Chateaubelair to Georgetown and Bequia in the Grenadines, adding that the Coast Guard is anticipating the inclusion of participants from Canouan, Mayreau, and Mustique.
“I heard remarks like, ‘I only came because my mom sent me’, but those same participants are now wishing the programme could have gone on for a longer duration, and are asking to come back next year,” the programme coordinator said.
The youths were exposed to following activities and topics: history of the Coast Guard, personal development, leadership development, conflict resolution, human sexuality, substance abuse and preventions, nutrition; the importance of healthy diets, the importance of being a good citizen of SVG, non-communicable diseases, sexual reproductive health and right, first aid and CPR, knots, navigation, safety at sea, boat handling, swimming, community activities, fisheries conservation, team building exercises, and participated in treasure hunt and educational tours to the VINLEC Power plant in Lowmans bay.
“They can now pull from their now expanded repertoire: The personal development skills to be better able to communicate and relate with their peers, they will now be able to solve their conflicts with a smile, acceptance of a wrong or by just by simply walking away.
“They were empowered with varying leadership skill, and especially the power to say no to drugs and to stand out and be that voice that initiates change and intensifies positivity especially when their friends will want to give in to the voices that bombard them,” Francis said.
“The training in health and nutrition and the awareness of a healthy diet will permit them to prepare fulfilling foods that will help mitigate against the acquisition of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension and kidney diseases.
“The reinforcement knowledge in family planning could never be over-emphasized because the rate and age of pregnancy and the involvement of the young children in sexual activities has been spiralling downwardly out of control, but with the right coordinates in navigation to plot the coast; their faith will be chartered to salvaging directions on the waters of life,” he further stated.
Francis said the participants have blossomed into leaders within their respective communities, more articulated and are vastly knowledgeable about what the Coast Guard entails and in particularly what they do at sea.
“The values of being a good citizen of the blessed nation are too often overlooked. However, the participants were drilled with a series of questions and gave confirmation of their understanding through their concise feedbacks, regarding who is and who is not a good citizen. At the end they were challenged to continue to develop this blessed nation and be the best citizen they can be,” Francis said.
He said parents and guardians should not be apprehensive of sending their children to the programme, adding that the environment in which the YDSP is being conducted is secured and safe. The commanding officer and other ranks look forward each year to having your children here with us. I am happy that the programme has brought a level of self-awareness and has indeed shaped our youths for what life has ahead of them. I am confident that the information they have received is worthwhile and relevant, and will augur well for their future accomplishments,” he said.