Two of the country’s most prominent youth programmes have joined forces to provide them with a positive and quality training experience.
Thirty members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) have recently completed a training course hosted by the Governor General’s Youth Award (GGYA).
The course is mandatory for any volunteer who plans on operating a unit or assisting with the delivery of the award on behalf of the internationally recognised programme.
The GGYA is a member of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, a self-development programme available to all young people worldwide.
According to Rangers Director and Sub Lieutenant Delvonne Duncombe once participants have successfully completed hiking expeditions, community service engagements, mastered new skills and participated in physical activities, they are eligible for a bronze, silver, or gold award depending on the amount of time invested in the programme.
He said it is envisioned that the RBDF will channel quite a number of young participants from its rangers programme into the GGYA.
Both programmes have units up and running on New Providence and the Family Islands.
The lieutenant added that RBDF decided to incorporate the GGYA into its existing rangers programme in an effort to provide more structure and challenges to its members.
“We are really trying to beef up the Rangers programme,” he said.
“If we really want to make an impact and make it as meaningful as possible, we have to get our youths involved in anything that’s going to benefit them at the end of the day. We were seeking additional avenues for our young people to benefit and grow. GGYA can do just that.”
The Rangers programme has an estimated 1,200 participants, consisting of students from grades 7 to 12.
Beginning September, Rangers will act as a feeder programme, funneling its interested members, who are 14 and older, into the GGYA.
It is anticipated that around 40 youths will initially sign up.
Lieutenant Duncombe believes that over time the numbers are expected to swell.
GGYA’s National Director Denise Mortimer think it’s fantastic that the Rangers are now able to use the programme to gain additional recognition.
“The GGYA will broaden their horizons as it relates to family island travel, in addition to further boosting their confidence and self-reliance,” she said.
Back in 2010 the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture provided substantial financial backing to the GGYA to expand the programme beyond the capital and the major Family Islands.
The three-year partnership, called the G.O.L.D Initiative, takes its name from the ministry’s mandate to foster greatness, provide opportunity, instill leadership and promote development amongst the nation’s youths.
Since the partnership, the GGYA, now in its 26th year, has enrolled more participants, opened more units and presented more awards than ever before.
The GGYA has nearly 1,700 participants throughout the country. Units are located on New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco, Acklins, Andros, Crooked Island, Eleuthera, Exuma and Long Island.
Work continues to establish the GGYA’s presence on Bimini, Cat Island, San Salvador, Mayaguana, Inagua and the Berry Islands.
This year alone the GGYA has presented over 400 awards to youths.