The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture (MYSC) held its highly anticipated Youth Recognition Awards in the Oleander Room of A Social Convention Centre, on Saturday October 13, under the theme, ‘Youth at the forefront of change.’
K. Daren Turnquest, Deputy Permanent Secretary and Director of Youth, MYSC; Carla Brown-Roker, Youth Coordinator, MYSC; Gaye Bowe, Administrator, East Grand Bahama; Yvonne Ward, District Superintendent, East Grand Bahama and The Cays, Ministry of Education former Senator; Tanisha Tynes, were in attendance to witness members of the youth fraternity, here on the island of Grand Bahama, receive the recognition for their efforts and achievements.
The room was filled to capacity with supporters of the over 50 dynamic, youth leaders, all, in their own individual rights, who have demonstrated that they are indeed at the forefront of positive change.
Overcoming various obstacles, pursuing excellence in all facets of their lives and demonstrating to the world, that they are all forces to be reckoned with, the young persons recognized during the ceremony, were dynamic and the audience applauded often, their show-stopping creative demonstrations.
Providing outstanding musical selections by the Jack Hayward Senior High School; piano and solo selections from honorees William Moss and Vonique Brown respectfully; a saxophone selection by fellow honoree Andrew Thompson, as well as selections from the Grand Bahama Academy; and Abby’s Dancers, the audience was thoroughly entertained the entire night.
Clathon Henfield, a 2017 recipient of the MYSC’s Youth Recognition awards, gave the welcome address.
“Youth at the forefront of change; youth are the epicenter, or the focal point of change, in other words, change begins with, or starts with the youth.
“Exceptional, extraordinary, athletic, bold, creative, artistically inclined, are some of the words that describe our youth honorees tonight. In a global world that is adversely changing rapidly, when new things are trending each day, new forms of technology, new styles of clothing, new musical artists, new dances being created, new inventions; these are some examples of a pathway to a future of change, but something has to captivate our youth, to draw them to the forefront of change and that captivation is a leader.
“Positive leaders bring about revolutionary changes in society. Therefore if our youth today would embrace what is in front of them, then a generation of leaders can emerge and stand for something great.”
Donovan Bowe, Chief Councillor for East Grand Bahama offered words of encouragement to the honorees.
“Youth at the forefront of change; this evening we have come to celebrate in such grand style our island’s top youth. You are all deserving of tonight’s recognition. I invite you to savor this moment. This is not an end, but view it as a beginning, the start of your contribution to our great country.
“Not long ago, I sat where you are seated tonight, as a youth being honoured and, as a youth leader being recognized for tireless efforts. I invite you this evening, to walk with your heads high. You are now among a cadre of people who will be the movers and shakers of this great nation.
“It is very easy to be basic. Be bold. It is not very hard to be ordinary, so give that little extra and be extraordinary. You are the change that we as a nation so desperately need.
“Change is here. Change is now. Change is you,” stated Bowe.
Turnquest shared during his remark to this year’s honorees to ensure that they maintain a good understanding of what change means.
“Young people, when you hear this theme this year, about being at the forefront of change, you must understand that you are standing on the backs of some fantastic young people, who are now young at heart, like Mr. Bowe, who have continuously paved a way for you, to continue the change process and to evolve this wonderful country into the excellent country that we have and that the world has.
“Our theme is just not a cliche but a theme that was birthed out of the words of a fantastic man and an international diplomat, Kofi Annan, who is now late, but his words live on, to say that young people must be at the forefront of your world, not just national, but global change and innovation. ‘If, in fact, we do not allow for them to participate actively, in their society, and they are left on the margins of societies, not only will they be impoverished, but we will be impoverished as well.’
“The beauty about young people and youth is that we have all been there…although we sometime forget, from whence we came. We often look at the mistakes of young people and we do not look at the success of young people. When we look at individuals and we see where they have arrived, you must understand that, like every building, they too were under construction.
“I have seen some young people destroyed by youth leaders. I have seen some young people destroyed by some parents, destroyed by some aunts and uncles. I have seen some young people destroyed by friends. The most important thing that this particular theme, for National Youth Month is, it simply means that we must realize the place and the opportunities set aside for young people to take their rightful spots in society, and, not only to put them on the stage, but celebrate them every single day, for the good work that they do and the good work that we see them doing in the future.”
Turnquest challenged the youth in attendance to embrace their leadership roles in their schools and various ministries of which they are affiliated.
“I say to you young people who are here, you have chosen the road less travelled. You have taken a step beyond the point of some of your colleagues, in school, in work, in your home, in your youth groups, so as to be recognized, but, every single day is a new day to make a right decision, or a wrong decision.
“If you want to stay at the forefront of positive change, some individuals are going to talk about you, some individuals are going to dislike you, some individuals are going to tell you that you are sucking up. Some are going to tell you everything that they told me, but you tell them one thing: ‘I am under construction and currently, I am working to be, and will continue to be, at the forefront of change.’”
Acknowledging Brown-Roker as a “fantastic” member of his team, in the department he continued by stating: “Mrs. Brown-Roker, let me publicly say, your work speaks for you.”
“My Minister Hon. Lanisha Rolle is on government business and had to travel abroad, but I want to say on behalf of her and her entire team and Permanent Secretary, Ms. Rhoda M. Jackson, we wish to extend our thanks for the work that you, as youth leaders, youth practitioners and young people do in Grand Bahama. We want you to know that we continue to celebrate you. Oftentimes our budgets are not as large as we would like them to be, but there is no better resource than that of human resource,” concluded Turnquest.
Of the 50 honorees, 10 of them were under the age of 16 and were acknowledged as ‘Rising Stars’ during the ceremony. A special award, The Youth Ally Award, was presented to ZNS Television journalist Italia Hall for her involvement in the ‘Generation Y’ segment, where she has, for the past year, brought attention to outstanding youth throughout the country, highlighting them for their commendable strides in various aspects of their lives, and by extension their communities.
A Rising Star Youth Recognition Award recipient, young Quinton Levarity II conveyed the honorees’ appreciation.
“On behalf of the all of the honorees, I would like to thank the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, and the awards committee, for recognizing our efforts as young people. Thank you for nominating us and praying for us as we fulfill our passions and greatness.”
Brown-Roker, offered the vote of thanks.
“It is my pleasure to thank you very much for being here and for supporting our young people the way you have tonight.”
She challenged those in attendance to set the bar high for the youth in their care, as they are more than capable of attaining what -ever it may be, that they put their minds to.
“Parents, guardians, youth leaders, pour into these young people. Do not think that something is just too difficult for them. Put them at the forefront. That is where they belong.”