The Grand Bahama Sports Promotion Association (GBSPA) is partnering with government and local organizational entities to introduce an initiative geared toward the advancement of young persons.
With a list of boxing equipment donated by the GBSPA, the Grand Bahama Youth Boxing Camp is expected to commence in roughly two months time.
The GBSPA recently donated boxing gloves, skipping ropes, groin cups, protective head gear and mouth pieces toward the launch of the Boxing Camp. The camp will be “generally” geared toward young men and women ages 13-16 with other ages to be discussed moving forward.
The Ministry of Education (MOE), Ministry of Tourism (MOT) and the YMCA have all partnered with the GBSPA with the upcoming project.
The GBSPA’s mission is to save as many lives as they can within the inner city, particularly young men. The camp will begin firstly in the West Grand Bahama area. As the interest grows the camp is expected to expand to various parts of Grand Bahama.
“This is a very important moment for us,” GBSPA President Fred Sturrup expressed, “We’ve been able to forge an arrangement with the Ministry of Education in the Western District, a Youth Boxing Camp. This is the very initial aspect of it. We propose to have this camp be networked with assistance from the YMCA as it always does, and the Ministry of Tourism to whatever degree it can at this time.”
A recent survey conducted by Sturrup suggested that it was time to provide another avenue for young men to direct their attention to.
“I think what it is - we pay a lot of attention to preserving opportunities for the young men, although the boxing programme will entertain young ladies who aspire to be involved, we are losing so many of our young boys.
“I just did a survey the other day with some statistics, if you look at the societal problems, 90 percent of the negative things that happen in the community involve young men. Surprisingly enough unfortunately a lot of them are between the early and late teens.
“It’s an astronomical figure that is really heart wrenching. I think Mr. (Ivan) Butler (MOE District Superintendent for West GB) came up with a very nice aspect in working with the inner city areas. And what we want to do is start with the Eight Mile Rock sector.”
The programme is not expected to stop at camps. Once three or four camps have been hosted, those campers will be provided a chance to showcase their skills in the boxing ring.
The Fred Sturrup: Amateur Boxing Show that was scheduled for this weekend (March 16) has been postponed and will be the first show hosted after the first slate of camps begin.
Butler disclosed that several years ago a boxing programme was launched in EMR. That ultimately came to a halt due to the lack of equipment necessary to sustain it. Butler added that they have once committed to assist in the programme.
“We’re very appreciative of this equipment that will be donated to our young men. We already have the persons in Eight Mile Rock like Gary “Rangoon” McIntosh. He has committed to be one of the coaches. So we’re very excited about this whole programme and where it will take us.
“At the Ministry of Education our concern is developing a holistic child. Just how we’ve produced professional basketball players and swimmers we hope to produce a professional boxer out of a programme such as this.
“So we applaud Mr. Sturrup and the organization and we thank him for the equipment. And we look forward to producing another champion in boxing.”
Butler later assured the parents that that programme is 100 percent safe.
“This is a very safe programme. We have head gear and mouth pieces that’s a part of the equipment that’s being donated today. We also want to reach out to our community activists and leaders in the community to encourage the kids in the EMR community to come out. The kids will practice in a safe environment and they will have professional training and guidance.”
Manager of Niche Markets at the MOT Nuvolari Chotoosingh voiced that he saw the potential of events the camp could spark.
“I think this programme has tremendous potential developing into tournaments for young men in EMR and the Freeport area and perhaps inviting young persons from overseas to come over and participate as well as nationally.
“There’s huge potential to add this particular programme to our tourism product. Boxing is a very exciting event around the world. We just had Sherman “The Tank” Williams put on a show last year. We also met with Meacher Major (Regional Director of the Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organization) interested in putting on a programme here as well.
“It all develops into a programme that attracts persons to Grand Bahama in particular and adds a new aspect to our tourism product.”
Boxing Director at the”Y” Nathan Davis was pleased to see such a project come about in the spirit of encouraging young men to use boxing as a positive outlet.
“With these equipments it can go a long way to encourage the young men to work out in the gymnasium and take the training seriously,” he concluded.