Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 31, 2016 (SKNIS): November is traditionally celebrated as Youth Month in St. Kitts and a call has been made for every resident and agency to play a greater role in shaping a positive and productive environment for young people that can stimulate their personal and professional growth.
Deputy Prime Minister, Honourable Shawn Richards, officially opened the month with an address on Monday night (October 31) saluting the nation’s youth, which are more than 25 percent of the approximate 50,000 population.
“The magnitude of our youth population brings with it the realization that the foundation of our nation’s success rests on the shoulders of these young people,” he said. “For that matter, with 50.5 percent of the world’s seven billion people under the age of thirty, we are all charged with ensuring the investment in youth programming is at the forefront of economic and social planning.”
This year’s theme to mark the month-long awareness is “Preparation for the future, investing in our youth.” Deputy Prime Minister Richards, who also serves as the minister of youth, said Caribbean youth face a variety of challenges, however, he stressed that each challenge represented an opportunity for growth. The manual for that growth is being drafted at the Department of Youth Empowerment as it works to revise and finalize its Federal Youth Policy.
“This document will be the foundation of a strategic plan which will guide the actions, interventions and programmes of both government and civil society in serving our youth,” Minister Richards stated. “During this month, I ask each and every citizen to pay special attention to the youth of our nation,” he said. “Let us speak with the youth and not at them; let us remember them in our prayers and supplication as we pray both with them and for them.”
The Department of Youth Empowerment has organized a series of activities to celebrate Youth Month. These include the 25 Most Remarkable Teens Awards on November 10; an island wide Bike Ride on November 13; a High School Chef Competition on November 25, the Daddy Daughter Dinner and Dance on November 27 and inaugural Youth Month Gala and Awards ceremony on November 30. That same month, a Youth Talent Fest will be held with special attendance by His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales, better known as Prince Harry.
“As we come together to commemorate, celebrate and recognize the extraordinary potential of the young people in our Federation, I encourage you to come out and support the activities during the month. I submit that no investment in our youth is too great, and none is insignificant,” Minister Richards stated. “I challenge everyone to plan activities in celebration of Youth Month. Let us in every family, every school, every sports team, every church and every community pledge to sit with the young people and plan at least one activity that you can share together.”
Further information and a full list of activities is available by visiting the Department of Youth Empowerment on Church Street or by telephone 467.1393.