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News : International Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

GGYA Gold Award Holders attending global youth event in Nairobi, Kenya
By Precision Media
Sep 22, 2011 - 7:52:44 AM

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Nairobi, Kenya - Two distinguished Gold Award Holders of the Governor General's Youth Award programme are representing The Bahamas at a premier global youth event in Nairobi, Kenya.

Anna Martin and Christopher Fernander left The Bahamas on August 31, to attend the International Gold Event (IGE) - an intensive training and character building forum that helps youths further develop their leadership skills. The event runs from September 2-16.

The first IGE took place in 1967 in Canada. It is held every three years.

This year's IGE brings together 150 outstanding youths from across the globe who are members of the International Awards Association (IAA). Among other things they will discuss how the Award programme promotes youth development in their respective countries.

Funding for the trip is provided by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture's G.O.L.D. Initiative - the brand for the three-year partnership between the government and the GGYA. The initiative is providing the youth programme with the necessary resource to take the GGYA nation-wide.

The ministry wants to see the GGYA obtain its objectives. That is, to provide youths, ages 14-25, with an opportunity to develop vital skills, make personal achievements and give back to the community.

Once participants have successfully completed hiking expeditions, fulfilled certain hours of community service obligations, mastered new skills and engaged in a physical activity of their choice, they are eligible for a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award.

As a member of the IAA, an organization which attracts almost eight million young persons from over 132 countries, the GGYA has the opportunity to dispatch its top youth leaders to international gatherings such as the IGE.

"Both Gold Award Holders are highly recommended, well disciplined, intelligent and creative," said the GGYA's national director, Denise Mortimer. "They have been involved in the program from the age of 14, and have not only achieved their Gold Award but have also proven their dedication to the program via their mentorship to younger members."

In Africa, the two Bahamians are gaining exposure to a variety of issues relevant to the programme. They will meet the programme's leaders and volunteers, in addition to acquiring valuable career skills.

"I expect both Anna and Christopher to bring much to the table," said Ms Mortimer. "Their mentoring skills will be sharpened as well as their ability to further promote the GGYA programme in The Bahamas."

Since its establishment in 1987, around 8,000 Bahamians have passed through the programme formerly known as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

"It's an amazing opportunity to be chosen to represent our National Award," said Anna Martin, who currently serves as president of the GGYA Gold Award Holder Association.

"When I think of the diversity of the people who will be attending - all coming together for one common goal to discuss this distinguished programme and being in the company of the HRH, The Earl of Wessex Prince Edward - words can't express how excited I am."

The special education major at The College of The Bahamas felt honoured to be chosen for this "once in a life time experience."

Fernander, the GGYA Gold Award Holder Association's vice president, expressed similar sentiments.
"I feel blessed because of the exposure I will gain," said Fernander, a member of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force. "I don't think I would have ever had the opportunity to have this experience on my own."
During the trip Fernander hopes to gain a better understanding of the programme at an international level and, via networking, impart the knowledge he has gained to his global peers and local youths coming up in the GGYA programme. 

Touting the fact that the programme produces "well rounded individuals," he encouraged other young persons to become active in the GGYA.
To find out more about the partnership between the GGYA and the Ministry G.O.L.D Initiative call 326-1760 or emailggya@coralwave.com

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