GGYA youth take a hike for gold
Published: Oct 09, 2013
No amount of training could have prepared Robert Kramer for the rude awakening he got during his trek through Barbados.
“Don't ever let a Barbadian tell you that the island is flat because going uphill for two days on the expedition says otherwise,” said Kramer, who recently returned from the Governor General Youth Award's (GGYA) summer expedition in the southern Caribbean island.
He, and eight other Bahamian young people, braved scorching temperatures and miles of steep hills in the hope of bringing home a gold award from the internationally recognized program.
It was all a part of the GGYA’s Caribbean Award Sub-regional Council (CASC) program, which was held in August.
This year's theme was, “Journey to a Greener Barbados.” The aim of the camp was to show participants they could play a role in moving their countries to a greener state through recycling.
Leaders and staff members from throughout the region and as far away as the United Kingdom took part in the event.
The participants, eight from New Providence and one from Grand Bahama, spent several days in Barbados hiking, taking part in workshops and cleaning up the island’s coastline.
Even though GGYA officials put the participants through mock expeditions and gave lessons on land navigation and compass work ahead of travelling to Barbados, most found out the hard way that things work a little differently on the island.
“During the planning of the expedition I helped plot the map. I quickly learned that the symbols on the Barbados map differ from those on the Bahamian map,” said Nakita Higgins, another participant.
Higgins said she was also pleased to learn the different ways in which Barbados uses sugar cane.
“They use it to produce sugar, biodegradable plates and fuel for cars. Barbados [has proven itself] to be one of the best in the Caribbean when it comes to waste control. During the expedition we noticed many illegal dumping sites and gave a few ideas to the CASC panel to help correct the problem,” she said.
Vydalia Roberts said CASC 2013 was an experience that she will never forget.
She recounted how she spent hours packing and later repacking to make her bags lighter for her trek.
“I awoke early that morning eagerly dreading the miles and miles of walking that must be completed by the end of each day. The hike proved to be one of the greater challenges, but determination outweighed them as a whole,” she said.
Meantime, Delano Knowles said, “The expedition was very familiar to hiking in Nassau, but the biggest surprise was that the so-called flat island of Barbados had hills. Don’t think about Baillou Hill. It looked and felt like Mount Everest. It was a great experience because I learned how to appreciate what I have home and got a new look at the geographical features."
Alexandrianna Swain, a trainee leader and college student, participated in the PAHO Mass Casualty training course for the second time.
“Being in possession of such vital information provided a feeling of importance as well as duty to perform in the case of any mass casualty event relative to my region,” she said.
“I was more than encouraged to share this information with others unable to participate in the course and benefit, whether in a conversational or classroom context because education is key in handling our responsibilities.”