April 24, 2009
Cadet Force stages Youth Leadership Symposium

Forty participants representing twelve youth and community based organizations throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines attended a Youth Leadership Symposium organized by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cadet Force. The symposium, which was held from the 3rd to 5th April at the Grace and Truth Camp Site at Layou, had as its theme: Examining the Challenges and reclaiming our destiny through health awareness.{{more}}

The main aim of the symposium was to provide youth leaders with a proactive agenda for positive activism and to empower them to guide their organizations and communities from the margin to the mainstream. Health awareness was also one of the major themes of the symposium, with particular focus on the issue of HIV/AIDS.

The feature address at the opening ceremony was delivered by Rose Clair Charles, social worker with the AIDS Unit in the Ministry of Health and the Environment. In her address, she highlighted the magnitude of the AIDS pandemic in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and stressed the importance of youth organizations in dealing with the present scourge. The Cadet Force Commandant, Colonel Dwight Lewis, in his remarks, lamented the absence of a united youth voice on matters that affect this sector. He described the National Youth Council as having retrogressed into the negative entropy, ‘those who linger in management as the NYC must back off and allow fresh hands and new ideas to contend’ the Commandant stated. The opening was also addressed by Second Lieutenant Jemron Delplesche, coordinator of the Alpha Company HIV/AIDS project in the Cadet Force.

Among the activities for the symposium were capacity building workshop sessions, panel discussions, and motivational talks. The facilitators included Andrea Robin, LaVerne Simon, Nelson Hillocks, Carlos Williams, Capt Curtis Dennie and Reanna Solomon. Participants were also involved in a thematic forum in which working groups focused on a number of themes including: HIV/AIDS, Wellness, Youth at Risk and the National Youth Movement. The reports from the working groups which include observations, recommendations and proposals on the theme discussed were adopted by the symposium. According to the symposium director Lt Col Dwight Lewis, the recommendations will be documented and presented to the various stakeholders for information and action.