NASSAU, The Bahamas — A full month of events is planned to encourage, engage and celebrate youth all across the various islands of The Bahamas, Minister of Youth Sports & Culture, the Hon. Mario Bowleg said in a statement in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, October 5, 2022.
According to Minister Bowleg, the ministry, with the help of the Division of Youth team, under the leadership of Ms. Sandena Neely, has planned events on various islands throughout the month of October for National Youth Month under the theme “Youth Building a B.O.L.D. Future: Bright, Optimistic, Labelless and Diverse.”
“Not a day, and not a week, but an entire month is dedicated to the recognition of the work, talent, dedication, testament and stories of our young people and youth allies. Stories that are so touching and impactful deserve to be highlighted,” he said.
The calendar of events for National Youth Month for New Providence includes Youth in Parliament and a first-time event of “Youth in the Senate” on Monday, October 31st , 2022.
With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, the minister also stated that the traditional youth march and rally will take place Sunday, October 23rd, 2022 to show “solidarity and unity” for the youth of the nation.
“We will stand together with our young people as we face the future, boldly,” he said.
The minister encouraged all to participate in the nomination process for the National Youth Awards in various categories, including arts, sports, leadership, agriculture, personal triumph, governance, and education.
Various events are planned for islands across The Bahamas, namely Acklins, Inagua, Andros, Abaco, Exuma, San Salvador, Cat Island, Eleuthera, Long Island, Mayaguana, and Grand Bahama.
In conjunction with the month of celebration, Minister Bowleg announced the recipients to be awarded the 2022 National Youth Month Lifetime Achievement Award and highlighted the significance to the development of youth that each honoree contributed.
“I am honored to stand today to tell a snippet of the story of a beautiful couple who hail all the way from Grand Bahama and have made service to our youth a complete way of life. Leslie and Yvonne McDonald have each given over four decades of committed and dedicated service to our nation’s young people,” he said.”
Along with Rev. Leslie and Commandant Yvonne McDonald, the minister also recognized a third honoree, Anita Doherty, who will be honored posthumously.
Mrs. Doherty, according to the minister, was a “community builder, educator, coach, leader, mentor and sports legend: Powerful adjectives that describe a life so well-lived that is only fitting that she continues to be memorialized even after her passing,” he said.
Minister Bowleg made a clarion call for all to support National Youth Month and urged that as a nation, the goal is to “honour, highlight and uplift youth who have made bold efforts toward becoming engaged in pursuits with youth and for youth; remained hopeful in the midst of change; and share a unified vision to surpass societal expectation and stereotypes.”