It is no secret Cayman’s youth are in dire need.
From attention to role models there are so many things youngsters need to help stay out of trouble.
Sports can certainly help in that regard and one of Cayman’s most recognizable summer football camps provided plenty to boost the youth.
Last week saw the annual FC International summer football camp take place at the Annex Field.
Nearly 100 kids came out each day from Monday to Friday to take part in football drills and games.
Normally a host of faces within the community come out to speak at the camp from police officers to health officials.
This year though saw an extra boon in the number of community figures at the camp.
Last Thursday this reporter witnessed some nine notable public names at the Annex encouraging the children to better themselves.
With so many youth-related crimes having taken place this summer it was a welcome sight seeing such a broad range of community figures.
Among those that attended were Auditor General Dan Duguay, Speaker of the House Mary Lawrence, backbench MLA Ellio Solomon and Rotoract Club President Victor Crumbley.
On the sports side of things a number of luminaries graced the camp with their presence including Truman Bodden, track and field hero Ronald Forbes and Deputy Director of Sports Collin Anglin.
Of course a football camp would not be complete without many influential persons in the sport.
Cayman national football coach Carl Brown and East End coach Thiago Cungha were present alongside FC International President Kennedy Ebanks and Technical Director Elbert McLean.
Arguably the most encouraging aspect of their visit was the words and sentiments they imparted on the youngsters.
Some of the best words came from the Auditor General who delivered a short but powerful speech to the kids.
As Duguay says life can centre heavily on happiness, community spirit and involvement in sports.
‘I’ll make this short and sweet and leave you all with three things to think about. When you grow older find a way to contribute to your community. One of the greatest joys in life is bettering the people around you.
‘Secondly stay involved in sports. The fact that you all are here shows you have that passion now. It’s so important you love sports as a kid because it teaches many life skills that can stay with you.
‘Thirdly always be happy in life by finding something you love to do in life.’
In spite of his desk job it is worthy of note that Duguay had an interesting link with sports. In his childhood the proud Canadian claims to have had a substantial sporting background that gave him some experience with football.
On the other hand there is no denying Truman Bodden’s link to sports. From his role as a politician aiming to improve sports and the youth to the fact that his name graces the national stadium here, Bodden is at the core of Cayman’s sports scene.
While addressing the kids the wiry frame of the 64 year-old was highly animated in speaking numerous words of encouragement. He urged the kids to believe in themselves, stay in sports and stay in positive activities.
In particular Bodden urged the kids to overlook their circumstances and their background.
‘It doesn’t matter where you come from,’ Bodden said. ‘It’s how you persevere that counts.’
One of the speakers who had a clear link to the sports world was Collin Anglin. A multi-sport in the truest sense, Anglin plies his focus to sports such as basketball, football, softball, flag football and even netball on occasion.
The through and through West Bayer told the kids he is proof that sports can take people places in life.
‘I feel I am a product of sports here in Cayman. From what I learned sports enabled me to be successful in my life.’