Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, gave the key address at the launch of the National Community Sports Training Programme at the Ministry’s office yesterday. From left: Youth Commissioner of St. George South, Deborah Thornhill; Principal Youth Development Officer, John Hollingsworth; Minister Lashley; and Shawn Burke, Youth Commissioner.

INVESTING IN YOUTH

Sports Training Programme launches

WITH a budget of $100 000 the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth is investing in the youth with the vision that the National Community Sports Training Programme will provide an avenue for them to develop as individuals and change their lives for the better.

Speaking at the launch of the programme at the Ministry’s office, Minister Stephen Lashley stated that the wish was that the youth grasp the opportunity to use the programme as a gateway to access entry into local and overseas colleges and universities, which would provide a genuine opportunity for upward mobility towards professional and personal development.

With the 1 000 participants being under the guidance of 30 certified coaches in eight sporting disciplines, the tool of sport will be used to achieve developmental objectives and transfer positive values to all involved. The youth, who were chosen by the various constituencies and communities, will take part in 40 hours of drills over 13 weeks, beginning November 6, 2017, and concluding January 12, 2018. The disciplines involved are cricket, football, netball, basketball, volleyball, tennis, hockey and road tennis. At the end of that time span, the students will have acquired the fundamentals in each discipline and will be given the chance to showcase what they learned at the Sports Rally slated for Saturday, January 13, 2018 at the Lester Vaughan School.

The budget set for the programme includes expenditure for equipment, coach’s fees, insurance, trophies and life skill education. Lashley touched on the level of delinquency which is permeating in the island currently and sees it as a cause for concern.

“The National Community Sports Training Programme is partly a response to the increasing challenge faced by social service providers in attracting young persons to developmental programmes,” the Minister explained.

He also highlighted the fact that those who are in the target area include youth who are classified ‘At Risk’. The movement will be using the Commonwealth and CARICOM Sports for Life model of training and the investment will not only be one of encouraging positive behavioural change and educational attainment, but also health.

These sort of programmes are gauged by success, which is proved by the feedback of those involved. When asked about the feedback from communities, Principal Youth Development Officer, John Hollingworth, said that the Youth Commissioners have been reporting that some of the children have definitely made a change for the better and that there has been an improvement in community pride by both the individual when they represent their community in federation tournaments and also the members of the communities when they come out to support their own. (AS)

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