Youth Minister Alden McLaughlin gained new insights into youth issues while attending a recent Commonwealth Youth Conference meeting in the Bahamas.
He was accompanied by Assistant Secretary Joel Francis, Deputy Director, Department of Youth and Sports Katherine Whittaker and the Cayman Islands’ Commonwealth Youth Representative Kyle McLean, states a GIS press release.
‘It really was a tremendous experience for me to listen and gain perspective from the challenges that so many nations across the world are facing with their young people,’ said Mr. McLaughlin.
He said the challenge is determining how to make them better people, and give them the ability to explore their potential and the extraordinary opportunities which this new age presents.
‘They repeated their slogan of ‘nothing for us, without us,’ as well their message that: ‘Don’t tell us what you think we ought to be doing, or how to do it. Instead, we have to be involved in what is being done to advance our cause’. That experience was something I think will stay with me forever,’ he said.
‘I came away very, very committed to doing what we have to do to give young people a real voice in what is happening to them,’ he said. ‘I also came away with the determination to provide those involved in youth work with opportunities to receive better training, information, advice and education on how to deal with the various issues.’
Mr. McLaughlin and the education department are already formalising assistance from the Commonwealth Secretariat in providing training for local youth workers – possibly as early as September.
‘While education has been at the forefront of the Ministry since I took over, we know that education cannot stand by itself, but we need to influence the attitudes and views of youth. We shouldn’t simply say ‘youth are the future’ – for they are here now, and must be involved in developing and implementing the youth agenda,’ he said.