Today’s Editorial for February 24: YCLA a reminder to reach out

We don’t envy the task put before the judges of the Young Caymanian Leader Awards each year.

This year, as in years past, the judges had to pick one awardee from an impressive group of five young people who make a difference in the Cayman Islands on a daily basis.

Up for the award were Elroy Bryan, Marilyn Connolly, Chris Duggan, Sean Parchment and Raquel Solomon. Each of the five was more than qualified to walk away with the YCLA prize.

At the end of Saturday night’s live televised production, it was Elroy Bryan who walked off the stage with the Caymanite trophy.

In his acceptance speech Elroy was humble, crediting God, his grandparents and parents for his successes.

One of the questions posed to all who were nominated for the YCLA was ‘How do you see the future of these Islands in 20 years’ time?’

Elroy’s response was printed in the February edition of sister publication the Journal.

‘In 20 years I see an education system that will invest more in metal detectors than books. I see families needing social services and families no longer seeing the need to pray. I picture three islands with more empty rooms than people if we do not make a stand now. Our young people must be made to realise the vital role they play in the shaping of the future and the survival of our nation,’ was his answer.

We can only pray that Elroy’s response is pragmatic and not prophetic.

But Elroy is right. If we do not all get involved in making our young people realise their role in the future of this country, the Cayman Islands in 20 years’ time won’t be a place any of us wants to live.

The five young men and women who were named YCLA finalists are already taking time to work with youngsters in our community. They are all truly excellent role models.

Elroy has a busy year ahead of him as he continues to nurture the children under his tutelage at Lighthouse and spends time working with other young people involved in the various YCLA programmes.

We would all do good to emulate the selfless sacrifices that Elroy, Marilyn, Chris, Sean and Raquel demonstrate each day.

To borrow words from Elroy on Saturday night, we need to remember the bigger picture; that there are a lot of people in these Islands that need help, especially our young people.’

Let Elroy and the other finalists be an inspiration to us all to think about others and help our young people navigate the successful future of the Cayman Islands.