Students from all over the island are taking steps to becoming future political leaders, legal eagles, and scientists as part of the Lucian Leaders’ Summit hosted by the National Youth Council in collaboration with the Peace Corps and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The camp seeks to provide training on skills critical to today’s youth including advocacy of various issues affecting the student body, leadership, conflict management and mediation, goal setting, democracy, project and event management, how to run effective meetings, and how to use social media.
In the absence of NYC President Timothy Ferdinand, who is part of the Carifesta delegation to Suriname, First Vice President Lavorne Verdant welcomed the participants.
“Thank you so much for coming,” she said. “We are very excited and happy to see so many bright faces and brilliant minds. You are leaders in your own right and this week all your talents will come to the fore so we encourage you to engage us, question things, come with ideas so beyond this you can say you started here.”
Maria Sebastian, a Peace Corps attached to the NYC, provided some background on the international organization’s continued presence on the island before explaining why this was the perfect time for this initiative.
She said: “St Lucia is one of the first countries the Peace Corps came to when it started all the way back in 1961. So we’ve been around and on this island for a while. Mostly all volunteers work with youth on this island. We work in youth development whether that’s working in a school, mainly primary schools, but secondary schools as well.”
She added that the National Youth Council saw the present opportunity as a time to train students outside of school.
“Inside of school you guys are on information overload. You have all sorts of classes, you have your clubs, you have your sports teams, you have family, homework, and everything and the summer is the time to unwind. But the NYC really saw this time as a good opportunity to reconvene you guys so that you can meet other Lucian Leaders such as yourself from all over the island.”
Sebastian also recognized UNESCO for their continued support of youth oriented ventures.
UNESCO representative Marcia Symphorien was equally effusive in her praise of the NYC and its recent resurgence: “I just want to commend the NYC. We have had the privilege of working with them over the past couple of years and it has been a tremendous privilege for us. I am extremely impressed with the work that they have been doing in preparing for this camp. But generally in all of the projects they have undertaken they have been able to conceptualize lots of interesting projects. We were becoming very concerned that the NYC was losing its spark and I think that you guys have done a tremendous job in getting the NYC right back where it belongs in terms of developing our country and charting our way forward.”
The camp, which is being held at the Grande Riviere Primary School, ends on August 23.