More than 100 people are participating in this year’s Mentoring Cayman programme, a youth development initiative pairing high school students with adults who have similar interests.
The Chamber of Commerce and Ministry of Youth partner together on the initiative, Chamber Chief Executive Officer Wil Pineau said during the ninth annual Mentoring Cayman Guest Speaker Luncheon.
Admiral Administration Managing Director Canover Watson was the keynote speaker.
Mr. Watson has been a past mentor in the programme and was the 2007 recipient of the Young Caymanian Leadership Award.
“Our young people are faced with more challenges today than ever before in the past,” Mr. Watson said. “They need more protection than they ever needed in the past. But the irony is they are getting less and less of it.”
About 70 mentors and students attended the luncheon on Wednesday at the Westin Casuarina on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman. Mentoring Cayman was launched in 2002 and has assisted more than 300 high school students.
The current initiative began with a mentor training workshop on 18 November, with the opening reception at the Westin on 24 November. Students have monthly visits with their mentors, beginning in December and running until June.
Jane Panton, who works as an accountant for the Civil Aviation Authority, is charged with mentoring Kimberley Wood, an 11th grader at Clifton Hunter High School.
“I was encouraged by a former boss to do it because he thought I had a lot to offer younger people, in terms of guidance and making decisions,” Mrs. Panton said.
Miss Wood, who’s interested in pursuing a career in medicine, said she was accompanying a friend to the school office to sign up for the programme, and ended up joining the initiative herself. Although Miss Wood’s vocational wishes do not align with Mrs. Panton’s career, Mrs. Panton is utilising the programme as an opportunity to introduce Miss Wood to medical professionals, to discuss her goals more generally, and also to teach her about the aviation industry.
Mr. Watson said about the mentoring programme, “It comes down spending some time to sit down with that young person and giving your perspective. It’s not a lot but it can a huge difference.”