The Barbuda Council Sports and Youth Affairs Department honoured 16 exceptional young people during its first Annual Youth Awards ceremony over the weekend.
The event was held on the sister isle at the Holy Trinity Primary School on February 25 under the theme “Igniting the Fire Within”.
Barbudan youth were awarded for their impactful contributions to culinary arts, entrepreneurship, education, sports, tourism, agriculture, as well as cultural and performing and NGO development.
“Barbuda over the years have produced some of the most successful individuals whose accomplishments were never celebrated regionally and locally,” said Chair of Sports and Youth Affairs Sharima Myers.
The inaugural event, according to Myers, was a unique opportunity to express much appreciation for unwavering dedication, creativity, and resilience. Myers was elated with the turnout and encouraged all Barbudans and Antiguans to shine the spotlight on the positive activities or developments of millennials.
Member of Parliament for Barbuda Trevor Walker told the audience he was happy to see that “apart from straight academics, sports play a big role in our society,” especially since “Barbuda has produced many outstanding sportsmen and women” within the last 15 years. As he anticipates future award ceremonies, the MP said, “I want to see that day when we are in the national stage competing in Antigua for awards just like this.” He added that Saturday’s event “should be the start of many more good things to come.”
Also in attendance was Senator Caleb Gardiner who dubbed the proceedings
“a momentous occasion.” He commented on the diversity of talent among and the well-deserved 16 recipients.
The youth senator underscored the need for unity and active pursuit of passion and authenticity. “Each awardee must stay true to themselves while developing their core values to ignite the flame within,” advised Gardiner.
The feature speaker Dr. Jrucilla Samuel who is also the director of youth affairs highlighted the significance of the theme. “While fire is symbolic of resilience, renewal and rebirth,” she noted that “it’s extremely important that our young people understand the role of living fire extinguishers who have made it their life mission to put out fires. These individuals can smoulder you, cool you down and starve your progress,” she said.
Referencing aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright, the director pointed out that “No bird soars in a calm so our youth need to realise that they must anticipate disruption and challenges.
We have to network to fuel resilience and internal fortitude. Dr. Samuel stressed that “these positive relationships will feed the fire unlike negative relationships make us fly against the wind and rob us of opportunities to steer our lives in the right direction.”