Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis (July 24, 2007)
The Department of Youth in St. Kitts has received thumbs up from the Commonwealth Youth Programme Caribbean Center (CYPCC) for its implementation of a variety of initiatives which target a wide cross section of youth.
During a recent visit to St. Kitts and Nevis, the Regional Director of the CYPCC Henry Charles told SKNIS that he was impressed with the dedication of the Youth Department staff and its corps of volunteers.
“In the last couple of days I have been around observing and talking to them and (watching) their preparations for the annual summer camp and (I) can see the enthusiasm,” he stated. “With that kind of enthusiasm, I believe that all the stakeholders, government, the private sector and private individuals need to recognize that all is not lost. Here, you have a group of people who are dedicated and committed to youth development in the country.”
Charles added that he was moved to see so many teachers give up their summer holiday to work with the young children at the camp. He suggested that residents should emulate this and give credit to the volunteers, and offer assistance as the department works to prepare the next generation to lead successful lives.The Commonwealth Youth Programme works with governments and youth networks and agencies to assist in developing an enabling environment for the empowerment of young people. Areas of focus include youth work education and training; professionalizing youth work; and promoting an entrepreneurship culture among young people. Capacity building, addressing the needs of marginalized communities and youth advocacy are also a part of the CYPCC mandate.
Charles assumed the role of regional director in 2005. He noted that the responsibilities are challenging but critically important to the region’s survival.
“How far we go as a people, the quality of life we enjoy as a civilization depends on a large extent on how much we invest in our young people, and how much we allow our young people to participate meaningfully in the development process,” he said. “We have seen the signs of the mistakes we have made by not allowing them to participate and “¦ some of them have been so alienated that they are developing alternative social systems that right now are challenging the status quo.”
Specific to St. Kitts, Mr. Charles indicated that his institution will work closely with the Department of Youth to finalize the National Youth Policy and fine-tune programmes to enhance the development agenda.
Youth Director Geoffrey Hanley told SKNIS that he was grateful for the opportunity to interact face to face with Mr. Charles and is excited about future collaboration.