An all-day football extravaganza organised by the National Drug Council and Her Majesty’s Prison Northward (HMP) proved a huge success for the scores of youngsters who participated. The event was held at the Bodden Town Primary School field.
The football fun day, called the Save Our Youth football championship, was aimed at bringing as many young people together in friendly competition and in a forum where they could discuss various issues affecting them, including drugs, violence, and gang related activities among themselves as well as with representatives from the NDC, the police, fire and prison services. The importance of staying in school and making the right choices in life was a major theme of the event.
George Roper, one of the organisers of the event, said he was overwhelmed to see how well the event had turned out. ‘This event is rapidly becoming a hit with young people and adults alike, he said. ‘One of my main objectives was to talk to these young people throughout the duration of the event about making the right choices in life and to warn them about the dangers of drugs and prison. It is clear that there is an urgent need to talk to them about the poor choices they continue to make, some of which are bound to land them in prison. As adults, we must accept an enormous responsibility to guide our young people in the right direction.’
Richard Barton, unit manager of Northward Prison also one of the organisers and a member of the Save Our Youth (SOY) foundation, said he was happy to be a part of the event. ‘Young people need proper guidance and this event is a great way to reach them. Just talking to them and seeing the expressions on their face is a strong signal that the message we bring to them is hitting home.’
Simon Miller, Prevention Officer of the National Drug Council, agreed that the event was successful in reaching young people and their families and that the NDC was happy to contribute to the event. ‘Drugs are having the most adverse effect upon our young people. This event is an excellent medium to reach out to them and educate and warn them about the ill effects of alcohol, ganja, cocaine, ecstasy and other drugs. I hope that for future events, we can work with other youth agencies and organisations that share a common goal in providing positive outlets for our young men and women,’ he said.
Participating teams were: Cayman Islands Monetary Authority; CIFA under 17 National Team; Fire Service; George Hicks High School; John Gray High School; Scholars Under 13; the Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA) Team and a Prison Team.
The SDA team emerged the champions of the competition.