Monday, November 23, 2009

Social clubs need to help youth find themselves

Western Bureau:

Social clubs will have to play a role in helping youths find their identities, which can help to alleviate social problems in Jamaica, according to president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lloyd B. Smith.

"The Optimist International will have a pivotal role to play in helping the youths of the Caribbean to become more aware of themselves, as I believe that there is an identity crisis in the Caribbean whereby young people are not sure of who they really are," Smith argued, as he spoke at the official launch of the Caribbean District of Optimist International Conference, held at Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in the Second City on the weekend.

Confused identity

Smith claimed social deterioration in the minds of youths has been fuelled by the confusion about their identities. This confusion, he said, has been caused by the fact that the region's people were historically regarded as Africans, then British residents, now West Indians and Caribbean nationals.

The three-day conference will seek to reaffirm the principles of the club through training and discussions. Operating under the theme 'Soar and Shine', the Caribbean District Governor, Gene M. Douglas, revealed that through her tenure as governor, she expected to continue increasing service to children by building and maintaining youth and adult clubs.

"Our club mainly focuses on youths and their development and, while we acknowledge that there are similar organisations out there that offer similar services, we want our organisation to be the service club of choice as it relates to what our core function is about," the Caribbean district governor reasoned.

She acknowledged that, with the challenging economic times, it would require that persons go the extra mile in ensuring that the objectives of the service club remain relevant and effective. She said the concept of service through various projects, hope to youngsters, involvement, nurturing children while at the same time enjoying oneself, is important, especially, at a time like this.

Sheena Gayle for the Gleaner
Published: Monday November 23, 2009

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