Ways in which our nation???s young people can fully achieve their potential, were among matters discussed, when Youth minister, Stephen Lashley met with a nine-member delegation from the Western Hemisphere region of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) last Friday at his office.

The WAGGGS delegates, from eight Caribbean countries, were in Barbados for the first National Leadership Development Programme, being held under the theme: Be More, Grow more: Strong Leaders for a Bright Future. It was held from April 5-11 at the Marian Retreat Centre, Verdun House, St. John.

During the courtesy call, Mr. Lashley told the girl guides and girl scouts leaders that his ministry would continue to work with their association to achieve partnerships and to facilitate some mutually beneficial national objectives.

Noting that resources were scarce, he added that if there were areas where his ministry and the association could work ???faster and better, we will do that.??? He told the delegates that it was important for young people to believe in themselves and to feel empowered to create opportunities that were sustainable and for them to carve out their own job experience to generate foreign exchange.

Mr. Lashley mentioned the creation of the National Youth Parliament as another step in giving young people the chance to be part of the democratic process, where they would be able to debate actual resolutions. He described this as a new and ???very exciting??? development for Barbados, and explained that young people would be trained in various Parliamentary procedures, and they would also have the opportunity to shadow members of Parliament.

The Youth Minister told the delegates that government had developed a National Youth Policy and was working on a new concept for the National Youth Service.

He noted that plans were under way to create a Youth in Agriculture programme that would see young people working on a model farm. Mr. Lashley said the farm would encourage young people to come up with creative ways of reducing the food import bill, adding that the initiative would also serve to keep them away from negative behaviours.

Thanking the minister for the opportunity to discuss the work of the association, Regional Director, Rebecca Tye, noted that as a global movement WAGGGS had a strong partnership with the United Nations and was working to pursue the millennium development goals. She added that her organisation would continue to train young women to be leaders in the community and would support the goals of young women.

Ms. Tye encouraged the Caribbean to make sure ???their voice is heard??? at the international level with respect to advocacy and leadership.

Other areas discussed included ways of improving intergenerational relationships, sports as an industry, succession planning for the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts Associations and e-learning.


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