So often in our community today we hear quite a lot of negative news.
I, on the other hand, have something very good to share. I recently had the privilege of attending the Next Generation Leaders Forum in Kingston, Ontario, with seven delegates from Junior Achievement of the Cayman Islands. The trip started out not so great with a two hour delay in our departure, which made us miss our connection in Toronto.
We got to our hotel room at 3am and had to be back up and on the road by 5.30am to meet our connecting flight. Once we arrived in Kingston, Ontario, the students had to move right into the forum process without the benefit of even a break. That day lasted until 11 that night and although bleary eyed, our delegates continued to push themselves with the rest of their groups. Interestingly enough, the seven were separated from each other as well and in groups of strangers that quickly became great friends.
Over the course of the week, I saw our delegates continue to stay immersed, inquisitive and vested in the overall experience. To say that they were leaders in their own right would not be enough; all the delegates fostered a relationship of support and caring among each other that by today’s standards is a rarity. There were presentations made to the student delegation on a variety of topics that were mature, industry focused and business experienced; all to provide them with input on determining the “Ultimate Business”. The Ultimate Business Challenge had the delegates creating a team, exploring options, implementation of a global vision, social responsibility, technology, entrepreneurship and business integration as well as preparing a full report on the company and its products all to culminate in an oral presentation to the entire 200 delegates in attendance. And yes, one of our delegates was a presenter. I saw leadership and compassion in our seven as well as in the other attendees.
I was amazed by the content of the discussions and the level of knowledge these “kids” possessed. If I took away only one thing from this experience it is that each and every one of our children has the potential to be strong leaders. We just have to give them the opportunity.
I came away very proud of Chester Frederick, Mariah Tibbetts, Lydia McField, Sarah Potkins, Allison Antonio-Fernandez, Kendra Ebanks and NorDania Stewart. They are already leaders of their generation who will only become great leaders of our future. Thank you to their parents for sharing your children with me this past week and thank you to our amazing seven for your integrity, respect and ambassadorship you showed your fellow delegates. You all are my heroes.
Junior Achievement of the Cayman Islands