Youngsters throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines are being called upon to be agents of change.
This call comes from Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Junior Simmons, in a recent address to close to 100 youths.
ASP Simmons made the call on Monday, July 25, at the opening of the 2022 Police Youth Club Summer Camp.
The opening ceremony was held at the North Union Secondary School, which is also the venue for the 10-day summer camp.
“Be the change you want to see in this world,” ASP Simmons admonished the young members of several Police Youth Clubs.
He reminded members of the audience that the Police Youth Club is not a fly by night organization, but is deeply embedded in the policy for youths in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
According to the ASP, the Police Youth Club is being used to “positively engage young people and steer them along the pathway where they can utilize their time, minds, energy and skills to make a difference in the lives of other youths in the communities in which they live and in St Vincent and the Grenadines as a whole.”
Noting that police youth clubs have been around for a very long time, ASP Simmons said members of these clubs “have been impacting lives in a positive way… and contributing their fair share to national development.”
The senior police officer reminded those present that the purpose of the Police Youth Club is “to assist in the wholesome development of the nation’s youths.”
The Police Youth Club works in conjunction with the National Commission on Crime Prevention (NCCP) and other organizations and communities to fulfil its purpose.
In his address at the opening of the summer programme, ASP Simmons also reminded the youths about the importance of respect. “Respect yourself; do not expect others to respect you, if you do not respect yourself.”
“Let your conduct be exemplary at all times,” ASP Simmons admonished the youths.
He further noted that one of the tangible benefits of being a member of a police youth club; is that members have an opportunity to obtain a secondary school and Community College scholarship, members can also receive other forms of support for their education.
Speaking about other ways in which the Police Youth Club can further engage young minds, ASP Simmons expressed his desire to see club members participating in spelling bee, public speaking, craft and other mind stimulating activities.
The ten-day camp at the North Union Secondary School is being held under the theme “Showing resilience and recovery in adversity.”
Delivering the feature address at the ceremony, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Leonard Fergus outlined five pillars of resilience to the young participants. According to ACP Fergus, these pillars are: self awareness, mindfulness, self care, positive relationships and purpose.
In speaking about positive relationships, ACP told the participants that they must know their friends. “Your friends can influence you positively or negatively.”
“Know who you keep company with, bad company leads you astray, so you must be mindful of your friends.”
Speaking on the theme, ACP Fergus informed the youths that at some point in their lives, they will encounter adversity, but noted that the real challenge is “how you deal with your misfortunes, it is how you deal with your difficulties.”
He urged the youngsters to approach their adversities and difficulties positively and explained that the camp will help them with information on how to overcome difficulties.
At present there are over 600 active members of various police youth clubs in St Vincent and the Grenadines, ranging from Chateaubelair to Fancy and including islands in the Grenadines.
During the 10-day camp, just under 100 youths will be engaged in activities to help them overcome adversity.
Apart from lectures, the youths will be engaged in field trips and will also be taught self defence by Ras Bongo Shaka.