YCLA participants accentuate positive

The five 2010 Young Caymanian
Leadership Award finalists come from diverse backgrounds and districts.  They’re different ages and they’ve followed different
career paths. But they all believe in accentuating the positive.

Finalist Collin Anglin thinks it is
important to promote messages that support good values.

“So often, we see a lot of negative
images and hear a lot of negative things on the radio and in the newspapers,”
he said. “It’s important to promote positive things.”

That’s why Mr. Anglin thinks the
YCLA programme is important to the Cayman society.

Finalist Felix Manzanares agrees.

“In the media, I guess negatively
sells, but it draws away from the positive things that are happening,” he said,
echoing the sentiment that YCLA is important for Cayman. “I think it’s very
good to highlight the good things young people are doing in the community.”

Melanie McLaughlin, another of this
year’s finalists, said it’s important for Cayman’s youth to be able to identify
with positive role models. She noted that young people often have celebrities
like movie stars and singers as their role models.

“But it is very important to have
role models that are relatable and accessible to you,” she said. “It’s different
when you have a role model you can see and hear and touch and who’s not just on
TV.”

Finalist Tammy Ebanks Bishop also
said programmes like YCLA helped give Cayman’s youth assessable role models.
She spoke about Sara Collins, a former YCLA winner, who she has worked with on
Cayman’s Human Rights Committee.

“I see Sara as someone I really
admire,” she said. “She has a very strong work ethic and the ability to
articulate herself wonderfully.”

Finalist Krishan Welcome believes Cayman
needs good role models, partially because some parents aren’t succeeding in
parenting.

“Young people especially in our
society today are in need of a lot of support,” she said.

The competition

The five finalists have gotten to
know each other over the past few weeks. Last Wednesday they all went out to
the restaurant Eats together.

Mrs. Ebanks Bishop said it was Mr.
Manzanares that suggested they get together for dinner.

“It gave us an opportunity to get
to know each other in a relaxed environment,” she said.

All five of the finalists already
serve as positive role models for many of Cayman’s youth through sports, church
or other organisation. Only one of the five will get to carry the special title
of being the 2010 winner of the Young Caymanian Leadership Award winner after
it is announced this coming Saturday night at a gala event at the Ritz-Carlton,
Grand Cayman.

Ms Welcome, who is no stranger to
competition as a member of Cayman Islands National Football team, said YCLA should
be about more than personal glory.

“I think the focus shouldn’t be so
much on the individual as much as on the causes and activities they’re involved
in,” she said.

Just making an impact on the lives
of young people is victory, Ms Welcome said

“As my mentor says, even if you
just reach one [young person], it’s better than if you didn’t reach any at
all.”

Ms McLaughlin thinks whoever wins
the award will be a good choice.

“I think any one of the [other]
four of them would be a great role model and ambassador,” she said.

Mr. Manzanares also believes in all
of the finalists.

“We all have the same heart; we
want to see a better Cayman,” he said. “Hopefully, people will be encouraged by
our lifestyles and see us as good role models.

Mr. Anglin believes there are many
other young Caymanians in the community who are just as deserving.

“We are just a small representation
of the people who are giving of themselves and who are trying to make a
positive difference,” he said.

Like the others, Mrs. Ebanks Bishop
isn’t getting caught up in the competition aspects of YCLA.

“I really don’t look at it as a
competition,” she said. “It’s one night to highlight the good work of all of
us. To me, we’re all winners.”

LOCALYCLAingolfcartSTORY

Caymanian Leadership Award finalists, shown here having some fun on a golf cart, are, from left, Felix Manzanares, Collin Anglin, Krishan Welcome, Tammy Ebanks Bishop and Melanie McLaughlin.
Alan Markoff

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