Ivan Butler is one of those educators who is steeped in youth involvement. No doubt, his early environment sensitized him to the necessity of providing young boys and girls wholesome programs for positive development.
In the Kemp Road District of East New Providence, Butler on a firsthand basis saw how so many of the youth element were steered, or, wandered into negative behavior. For the most part, the ones who were engaged in Church and sports programs, Scouts, Boys Brigade or Girl Guides, made it through to adulthood in a meaningful way.
So, in his adult life, although education became the mainstream profession, his dedication to youth development through basketball, became prominent in his day-to-day life.
Therefore, it was natural for him to evolve into a special initiative with the Grand Bahama Sports Promotion Association (GBSPA). On Wednesday, at the YMCA in Freeport, Grand Bahama, it was with pleasure, that as GBSPA President, I launched along with Ministry of Education West District Superintendent Butler, and, in conjunction with the GB Ministry of Tourism Sports Manager Nuvolari Chotoosingh, YMCA Director Karon Johnson and YMCA boxing specialist Nathan Davis, the Youth Boxing Camp.
On behalf of my colleagues, in particular Vice President Ambrose Gouthro and Secretary Nadia Farrington, I presented boxing equipment to the YMCA, to be used by all registered members of the young boxing program. Superintendent Butler will coordinate the registering of the students, with a heavy emphasis on the inner city less-affluent communities.
“Two years ago, we wanted to get such a program going in the schools. I am thankful to the GBSPA and the president for coming up with this camp concept. I think it is ideal and there have already been talks with people such as Coach Gary McIntosh of Eight Mile Rock, and I have no doubt that the camp will be beneficial.
“It is important as well, that we give comfort to the parents that the camp will be a healthy one, that will develop the students physically and mentally and there is no danger of them getting injured in any way. We want to make that clear,” said Butler.
Tourism’s Chotoosingh reiterated Butler’s views about the significance of the camp, but, expressed the desire for an ongoing sports tourism focus.
“I think it’s a great idea of the GBSPA, this youth boxing camp. I would just like to see, as the planning goes on, included would be, not only Meacher Major (Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organization Regional Director) coming into Freeport to work with the young students here, but when the program evolves to the tournament stage, boxers come in from all around the country, to have that distinct sports/tourism affect,” said Chotoosingh.
YMCA Director Johnson spoke about her organization’s platform which is geared towards networking with such ventures in the interest of quality development for the island’s young boys and girls.
Davis pointed out the importance of the equipment.
“Man, that’s huge. The equipment works. That builds the interest of the kids. When they come and know that they have good equipment to train with, it adds to their excitement to be a part of boxing,” said Davis, a former outstanding amateur boxer.
Major, on Wednesday, agreed to transform the planned (March 16 Tournament) into the closing event for the first camp schedule.
“We feel, the tournament will play a more better role, being tied into the camp. The new format will be the staging of the camp training sessions, and, conclude with a tournament that showcases campers and other boxers coming in from New Providence and, especially, other parts of the Northern Region,” said Major.
He officially announced the postponement of Saturday’s scheduled event, to the “climax” activity date at the end of the first camp session. Superintendent Butler and I will interact to determine the beginning date of the first camp session.
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