July 17, 2012
50 students in Coastguard summer youth program

To date some 1,731 students have taken part in the St Vincent and the Grenadines Coastguard Youth Development Summer Program.{{more}}

The first Coastguard development program was held back in 1993 with 10 participants.

And according to Acting Commander Lieutenant Deon Henry, the program has evolved over the years, to become the number one choice of activities to participate in during the summer vacation.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 19th edition of the summer program, which got underway yesterday, July 16 at the Coastguard Base at Calliaqua, one of the primary objectives of the activity was to introduce young people of the nation to the practical work of the Coastguard.

However, the objectives have gone on to expose the participants to safety at sea, basic first aid and swimming and life saving techniques.

They also include exposing participants to basic development skills in leadership, providing participants with information on the Coastguard as a possible career choice and to provide the young people with a venue to build long and lasting friendships.

Other sessions in which the 50 participants in the first phase will be involved include substance abuse prevention, conflict resolution, human sexuality, navigation and seamanship and boat handling.

Stanley Browne, representing one of the major sponsors of the program SAGICOR, in his remarks also noted that the program had become a favourite among the nation’s teens.

“I haven’t met one (participant) who did not want to come back,” Browne said.

He went on to urge the participants to take advantage of the opportunity that had been afforded to them.

In the same way that there were current Coastguard officers who were former participants, so too today’s participants could be the officers of tomorrow.

According to Browne, many professionals in society were former participants of the program, but so were a few that had achieved nothing.

“Hold on to the values to make life valuable,” he said, adding that he hoped that the program would have a positive impact on the participants.

Part of the week long program includes a trip to the Grenadines, where participants will get practical experience in seamanship.

This year’s program will include three sessions; the next session is expected to begin on July 30. (DD)