Young people from all over the Caribbean are in the island participating in the 2009 Caribbean Award Sub-Regional Council (CASC) expedition, which is a requirement for attaining bronze, silver and gold awards under the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Programme.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Jamaica is hosting the expedition, which is being held in the country for the third time. It includes exploration of the Blue and John Crow Mountains, climbing the Dunn’s River Falls and a residential camp, the latter of which is a gold level requirement.
Speaking at the opening ceremony for CASC 2009 at King’s House on August 3, Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, said he would recommend the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to all young people, as it inspires confidence, the virtues of hard work and leadership skills.
Guest speaker at the function, Director of Public Prosecution, Paula Llewellyn, encouraged the participants to make the most of the experience of being a part of the programme.
“It is one of the great programmes, that can ensure that all the young people, who come in contact with it, not only develop self-esteem, but they are equipping themselves to be future leaders, who will help to lift their respective countries out of this paradigm of negativity,” she said.
She reminded the participants that leadership required accountability, mental fortitude, a sense of humour, competence and a willingness to cling to their integrity.
“Your reputation is your greatest non-depreciating asset,” she said, as she encouraged them to hold on to their values and attitudes, even if those values will, make them unpopular.
The CASC, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is made up of National Award Authorities for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Programme in the Caribbean.
The achievements of CASC over the years include: the production of a regional newsletter; inter-island exchange visits between Award Authorities; and the annual expedition.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Programme is a character development programme for persons 14 to 25 years old, which started in Britain and now exists in more than 125 countries. The participants are required to learn a skill, give community service, participate in recreational activities and go on explorations in unfamiliar areas, for which they can earn gold, silver and bronze medals.
This year’s campsite is at the Gordon Town Secondary School in St. Andrew.