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Gold awardees back to share

GERCINE CARTER, [email protected]

Gold awardees back to share

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Jamar Odwin and Fabian Norville are two young men on a mission not only to improve their own lives, but also to share their experiences to help others improve theirs.

Having seen adventure before, and still high on the satisfaction derived from their recent visit to the Czech Republic, the two Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award holders are ready to take on the task of bringing along other young people.

The Barbadians were among hundreds of Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award holders from around the globe, in Prague, the capital city in the Czech Republic, participating in the International Gold Event, a global leadership programme.

Now back home, they are rearing to go, eager to share the experience and the lessons learnt with their peers, less fortunate young people, and even business owners. They are also bursting with ideas on how they can make a meaningful impact on the Award in Barbados.

“They  (the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award team in Barbados) seem to be having some challenges getting youth to be involved in various activities and it was an opportunity to learn how other countries are seeking to do so and how those ideas can be brought into the region” Fabian told the Sunday Sun.

He was one of the 78 young people from 42 countries engaged in the Prague exercise. They were divided into ten groups, each group being assigned on a different field visit.

Fabian’s group visited three Prague companies where the benefits of entrepreneurship were on show, and the award-winners were afforded the opportunity to see the correlation between the social impact of work and money-making in a business.

Jamar, 25, was impressed with the field projects during the seven days. He said the demonstration of social responsibility in the companies he visited, was one thing that stimulated his thinking of ways to translate those ideas into a Barbadian context.

“What we found was that a lot of businesses support the award but they are not engaged in the award. We have found these companies have more to offer than just the monetary contribution,” Jamar said.

From a schoolboy with “no interest whatsoever” in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme while he was a junior student at Queen’s College, Jamar has become a vocal proponent of the benefits, and fervently wants to enlighten other young people about what he knows first-hand.

He said with much enthusiasm: “I want to find a way to help other people to know what it is all about.” He worked diligently to acquire the bronze, silver and now gold awards, discovering along the way the “great programme” he had been missing out on during those years he was just an onlooker.

He especially likes the way the Award is structured, around service, skill, sport and the adventurous journey.

Following up on Jamar’s observations, Fabian remarked: “The thing is to take the programme to other schools.”

The 35-year-old was introduced to the International Award for young people when he was a 13-year-old student at Harrison College. He considered it the ideal Segway from Scouting, an activity he enjoyed immensely and therefore launched out, going on through hard work, to earn the bronze, silver and gold Awards.

Fresh from the Prague International Gold Event, he has set himself the task of enlightening others about aspects of business possibilities of which he is now aware as they relate to the aspirations of young people.

“We have found that if the youth is from a disadvantaged background, you can use training programmes within the company to help that young person to develop a skill which will prepare them for the working environment, which is a focus of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.

The internationally-adopted youth awards programme founded in Britain in 1956 by Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, recognises young adults and adolescents for completing a series of self-improvement exercises modelled on German educator Kurt Hahn’s solutions to the “Six Declines of Modern Youth”.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programmes take between one and four years to complete and must be completed by the participant’s 21st birthday.

Operating in Barbados since 1963, the scheme here is known as the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. (GC)

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