Governor honours work of youth group

From left, Kaysia Kerr, Governor Martyn Roper and Silvia Wilks at Support Our Youth Month reception. – Photo: Iris Stoner

Undeterred by the earthquake that hit Cayman the day before, Governor Martyn Roper hosted a reception Wednesday evening to mark the end of Support Our Youth Month, which is organised annually by the Cayman Islands Youth Development Consortium.

The initiative, held in January, reinforces efforts to galvanise individuals and organisations in reaching out to and advocating for Cayman’s young people.

The governor congratulated the consortium on its 10th anniversary, calling it a “great achievement”, and stressed that the evening was about the organisation and its work on behalf of young people.

Silvia Wilks, the consortium’s founder and honorary board member, thanked those gathered for the work they do.

She said the reception was “where we are able to get all the stakeholders, the schools, parents, and organisations that help us to promote the developmental assets in one place to say thank you for their support for Support Our Youth Month”.

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According to the CIYDC, these assets are divided into external – “positive experiences young people receive from the world around them” – and internal – “characteristics and behaviours that reflect positive internal growth and development of young people”.

During the month, organisers held the Planning for Youth Success Conference to help young people understand their developmental assets and how to apply those to their lives.

Sir John A Cumber, Red Bay and Savannah primary schools sent a total of 115 students to the event, which included keynote speaker Kaysia Kerr, of Jamaica’s National Parenting Support Commission. Wilks said this year was the first time primary students were included and that she received feedback from one principal that the young people enjoyed the conference.

As for Wednesday’s event at Government House, Wilks said it was important because it shows the governor “values our young people and he values what we do as an organisation”, adding the evening “Allows our sponsors to come and hear from me about what we’re doing and they get to take it a little more seriously because the governor is on board”.

Roper stressed the importance of supporting Cayman’s youth and pointed to the launch of the Cayman Regiment, saying “a big part of that is also helping Caymanian youth and [supporting] them with different opportunities to contribute to society in different ways. I know that [the Youth Development Consortium] tries to do that and offers them pathways and support, and I think something like the defence regiment is another avenue that our youth can go into.”

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