MONDAY MAN – Keeping youth on right track
HE STRONGLY BELIEVES that sometimes it is the lack of guidance that young people experience in their formative years which often puts them at risk of being pulled into negative activities, as they develop the different aspects of their lives.With this thought in mind, general secretary of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), David Norgrove, manages the day-to-day activities of this association in an effort to “pull away young men from getting involved in negative activities and to help them stick with the positive”.He explained that his “multifaceted” organisation was formed more than 130 years ago to develop the physical, emotional, psychological and “we must not forget spiritual” needs of young males.“The YMCA was established in 1880 in Barbados for the purpose of providing young men with the opportunity to engage in wholesome activities from the point of view of recreation, personal, physical and spiritual development. “The young men participate in sporting activities, they get the opportunity to learn and develop skills to help them earn a living. But at the same time, they must learn sound Christian values to help them become well rounded, productive, positive members of society,” said the general secretary as he briefly highlighted the opportunities which the YMCA offered the island’s young men.Norgrove, a Christian who worships with a small group called Non Denominations, told why the YMCA is pertinent to ensuring that national development “is intact”.“The future of our nation is dependent on the kind of youth we produce and we need to have them focussed, with the correct mindset, which produces a society that is peaceful, prosperous. “Unfortunately, the old adage that one bad apple spoils the whole bunch is true. But there are many good and positive stories to highlight and we do highlight most of them.“But at the same time, we cannot ignore the problems that we have with the ones who are creating problems within society. It doesn’t take a large number of individuals who are bent on the wrong path to create problems in society, a small number can do that.Success stories“And while we are promoting the success stories, we have to be careful that we don’t neglect the areas where there are problems because a small number of problem incidents can cause a major problem in society.“We shouldn’t just criticise; we need to effectively establish means of addressing the problems we are facing. We also have to realise that our young people too have problems and are under stress and a lot of these people are talented and intelligent but they are lacking the guidance to channel those capabilities and talents in the right path,” he said.He also had advice for those young men who had to shoulder the responsibility of fatherhood at such a young age.“I must say that there are a number of young men who are accepting responsibilities for their children. But while some of them are really trying to take responsibility, they are having difficulties because they are not earning a living to take care of these responsibilities. One of the things we need to do is to teach our young men that they should wait to get children until they are capable of taking care of them.”“A lot of these problems arise because a lot of these children are unplanned so what happens is that a young man and woman find themselves with a child but neither of the two of them are able to provide for the child. “From a Christian perspective, I recommend that young people wait until they are married to get children; the act of marriage indicates that you are willing to take on responsibility.”Strong passionThe former Barclays Bank employee, who joined the association early this year, said he had a strong passion for young people no matter their race, colour or class. This is why he is on a mission to enhance the association’s recreational activities. “But, first, I want to redevelop the physical structure. Right now the activities in YMCA are at a low point. The reason for that is that our physical plant has deteriorated. The building and facilities are quite old. I believe the building is about at least 70 years old and it is in need of renovations. This has restricted the range of programmes we can have at the moment.“The goal is to redevelop the physical plant so that we can reestablish and enhance some of the programmes we used to engage in and also develop new programmes that are relevant to the youth. “We have new issues to deal with in this day and if the YMCA is to remain relevant, then it has to address the issues of today,” Norgrove said.