Other countries may have observed Caribbean Youth Day on Sunday, 30 September, but in Cayman activities lasted for a full week.
One highlight was the gospel concert on Sunday night at which young people led their audience in praise and worship.
It was a fitting conclusion to a series of events that had as its theme ‘Making Caribbean Youth Leadership a Reality’.
James Myles, coordinator of the government Youth Services Unit, wrote a report about the week in which he saluted the many adults and teens whose participation helped make it rewarding.
Miss Teen Yentel McGaw and CARICOM Youth Ambassador Nicosia Lawson talked with students at Leading Edge High School about the value of getting involved in community projects and youth groups.
The Youth Flex radio show was broadcast via remote from the Youth Services Unit on Mary Street, where the president of the Commonwealth Youth Club and young ladies from the Our Lil Miss Pageant talked about leadership and personal development.
Mr. Myles, along with Youth Services Unit head Katherine Whittaker and Scout leader Winston Hayle, attended a programme at John Gray High School. They witnessed the appointment of the Year 12 head boy, head girl and deputies. They also met with prefects and observed as 55 students signed up for Student Council elections.
A cooking camp, conducted by sous chef Jeremy Touzelet, exposed teens to aspects of the culinary arts.
The free gospel concert took place at the First Assembly of God on Old Crewe Road, where Jamie Thomas and Teneisha Johnson served as emcees. Recording artistes Michelle T and Clarity performed.
Rev. Torrance Bobb led the opening prayer and Brother Felix Manzanares brought the message, but it was mostly the young people who ministered through song.
Singers included Evana Martinez, Dierdre Neil, Jessica Hurlstone, Rayvon Rankin and Friends.
Two groups, Las Primas and Pause Entertainment, had the audience calling for encores. Las Primas offered some amazing four-part harmony without accompaniment. Pause showed another kind of point/counterpoint with its rap lyrics and moves.
Mr. Myles expressed appreciation to the media for publicising events and letting young people know the community values them. He especially cited the Caymanian Compass front page photos of 27 September and 2 October as morale boosters.
He acknowledged that, if he had it to do over, he would change the way some things were done and promoted. But, he pointed out, there are 11 months to plan for Caribbean Youth Day 2008.