Participants in this year’s Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Summer Youth Employment Program reported to their respective posts earlier this week – Monday, July 2 – but not before receiving important advice from the then minister, Michael Pintard, Member of Parliament for Marco City.
Officially launching the 2018 segment on Thursday, June 28 at Christ the King Foster B. Pestaina Hall, Pintard told the youngsters that they have a perspective that is needed in this country.
“You are the hope that the country needs,” he said.
He told the group that the job program provides opportunities for them to help solve problems. “Working in areas that you may not have wanted presents you with options.”
He explained that sometimes one’s primary goal and plans do not unfold at a time when they desire.
Pintard encouraged the participants to be exposed to different things and to be flexible enough to make the adjustment.
He added that life requires flexibility.
Additionally, Pintard said that the program also teaches valuable lessons. “Don’t leave any experience without learning the lessons of the experience.”
Noting that he learned many things from his own past experiences working at odd jobs, the minister said he learned how to make the best use of time and how to be tolerant.
“I learned tolerance and respect for people, no matter what their past is,” he said.
Carla Brown-Roker, Youth Coordinator in the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture told this daily that this program is an annual initiative conducted by the ministry.
“It begins mainly with summer employment,” she said.
She added that the majority of their budget goes towards summer employment.
Brown-Roker revealed that over 150 young people are being offered employment this year.
“That would be Youth having 100; Culture approximately 50 and Sports through camps will have an additional 20,” she said.
She noted that sports included basketball, softball camp coordinators and the team that will work with them.
Brown-Roker revealed that just over 350 applications were submitted to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture for the program this year. That number was narrowed down with the help of interviewing the applicants, which was a first in the program’s history.
“We got to know them a little bit better. We were pleasantly surprised at some of our young people and their focus. They were able to articulate what it is they want to do,” she said.
She added that applicants in college spoke about their studies and some of the high school applicants discussed their experiences taking the Bahamas General Certificate Secondary Education (BGCSE) exams.
Brown-Roker revealed that the interviews were a significant part of the process, because it gave the ministry an opportunity to advise and guide applicants.
“For instance, two young men that came in actually were technology driven. So, I was able to send them over to BTVI, and they were able to successfully join the IT Program,” she said.
“A promising young man named Devante Forbes from Eight Mile Rock was placed in the ZNS Generation Wide Program.”
Brown-Roker noted that the interviewing process was also essential, because it exposed the fact that many parents are filling out applications for their children instead of having them do it themselves.
She explained that a major part of the program is the learning process, because it teaches applicants what is required in order to enter the job market. “Parents depriving their children of that responsibility only stunts their growth.”
Brown-Roker shared that the ministry has also worked on strengthening relationships with other entities and organizations.
“We’ve improved our partnership with the Freeport City Council; we’re working very closely with Chief Councilor Kendal Culmer and Councilor Frazette Gibson,” she said.
She stated that they are supplying all five of their Summer Camps with workers and coordinators.
“We are also working with them to ensure that from here on our partnership will be great; because if we’re trying to achieve the same goal why not collaborate, why not come together,” she said.
Brown-Roker furthered that the ministry also sponsored four local Summer Camps outside of their sports camps.
“There is a camp Ace in Williams Town, specifically for young people in that area,” she said.
“There is also Junior High Camp at Sister Mary Patricia Russell Junior High School (SMPRHS) to help sixth graders transitioning to high school.”
The ministry also sponsored a Jumping Camp led by Fletcher Lewis and a Mime Camp led by Carvan Ferguson. The ministry also partnered with Columbus House and many others, said the Youth Coordinator.
“Wherever our partners are asking for the Ministry of Youth’s assistance and partnership we gladly do so,” she said.
During the orientation Brown-Roker also advised participants to be respectful, be on time, dress appropriately, be responsible and stay off cell phones.
The program began July 2 and ends July 27.