It is highly commendable of the Shane Cadogan-led Athlete in Action, a non- governmental organisation, that they are establishing a platform for Vincentian sportsmen and women, enabling them to transform their talents into prospects of a better life.
Furthermore, it is significant that the composition of the AiA is 100 per cent young persons, all under the age of 30.
As such, the AiA management team also includes Oalex Anderson, Solomon Bascombe, Sebastian Cyrus, Alex Joachim, Handal Roban and Jules Snagg, as directors. In addition, Paige Cadogan – Secretary and Tahj Bailey – Treasurer, form the administrative arm.
What is the real mission and vision of the AiA?
Essentially, the AiA sets out to transform St Vincent and the Grenadines sports’ landscape by creating a thriving ecosystem that integrates sports and education, empowering youth with the tools they need to excel both on and off the field.
Hence, the AiA wants to use sports as a conduit for positive social change, doing so through its well-planned programmes.
Outlined in its charter, the AiA’s programmes, when fully implemented, will seek to develop young athletes holistically.
Among the aims is to have well rounded and prepared individual who possesses the confidence, values, and skills necessary to face life’s challenges head-on.
This approach extends beyond the active players to other stakeholders.
Inclusive of that extension is the empowerment of coaches, as well as the mentoring.
Additionally, parents are in the mix, as there are planned programmes to equip them with the knowledge and resources to support youth development as pathways towards buttressing the AiA.
Given the structure of the AiA, it will serve to fill that hole that often gapes when Vincentian sportsmen and women are thrown to the wolves, as they venture out on “scholarships” to US colleges and universities.
It is therefore the ambition of the AiA to host workshops and clinics, where prospective scholarship holders will not only have their athletic skills refined, but also develop essential academic and life skills such as leadership, teamwork, and resilience.
And, even before the scholarships, the AiA, through its many networks and contacts, endeavour to find such opportunities for young Vincentian sportsmen and women.
Already, there are signs of progress in this regard, as AiA has inked a Memorandum Of Understanding with Venture Sports USA, who will provide Vincentian student-athletes with scholarship assessments, and work in conjunction with AiA to liaison with college and university coaches.
To the good, AiA plans to go further, by sourcing funding for those who are accepted to these educational institutions overseas.
When all are lumped, the programmes of the AiA are impressive, plausible and athletes’ centred, without support and guidance from others, all can come to nothing.
Therefore, the call is out for those who can help in anyway possible to add their expertise to the young AiA team, who mean well.
Their well intent can only be strengthened and buttressed by others with the know-how and financial buffer.
No better way for corporate St Vincent and the Grenadines, central government and other organisations that possess goodwill and a social conscience to help than put their hands up and be counted.
It is opportune for all potential stakeholders to open and lend their support to the group of youngsters who have taken it upon themselves to realise the potentials of fellow Vincentian sportsmen and women.
Young people have been at the chagrin and mercies of others, unwittingly for the vagaries of a tiny minority of misguided ones.
Hence, it is now only fair for those who exhibit otherwise and are big on national building, that they be heralded and hailed for their positivity.