The Youth Awards is one of those programmes I wholeheartedly support for several reasons:
- It rewards positive youth accomplishment
- By so doing, it has the potential to encourage positive youth accomplishment
- It debunks notions of youth being wholly lost as the stories that make the front page would have us believe
- Because it reminds us that there are young people striving, achieving, doing all around us – and that’s something to be celebrated
- And that spirit of celebration makes for a feel good evening
That without fail has me wishing that there was a way to share these young people’s stories with the wider community in a way that transmits those positive vibes to Antigua and Barbuda as a whole. I remember leaving last year’s Youth Awards and firing off proposals to businesses and agencies I thought would be keen to get behind sponsoring video profiles of these young achievers. Yeah, the night fills you with that kind of optimism; and then reality bites. Still, it’s nice to feel those good vibes, to celebrate these young people if only for one night.
I didn’t make it this year but I’ve seen the pictures and it looks like it was as usual a thrilling evening; kudos to Youth Director Cleon Athill and her team for pulling this off year after year with what I know must be limited resources but a whole lot of let’s-do-this.
2013 Awardees include two of the Wadadli Pen family (I count them as such), literary prize winners Linisa George and Glen Toussaint.
Linisa George is a past Youth Award winner (3x winner if I’m not mistaken, once with August Rush for their work in the literary arts, once as a part of Women of Antigua for their activism, once as Linisa for her work in the literary arts).
Her 2013 win, I believe is all hers, in a year where she published two poems in So the Nailhead Bend, So the Story End: An Anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing (edited by Althea Prince); published a poem that had been selected as the entry from Antigua and Barbuda for the Poetry Parnassus at the 2012 Olympics in The World Record: International Voices from Southbank Centre’s Poetry Parnassus; and also launched the online magazine Black Girl in the Ring http://www.blackgirlinthering.com Linisa is founder of the Young Poets Society of Antigua and Barbuda, co-producer of the Expressions Open Mic held every second and fourth Tuesday at Heavenly Java, and co-producer/co-writer/c0-director/co-performer in When a Woman Moans and the local production of the Vagina Monlogues – the former two August Rush projects, the latter two Women of Antigua projects. As of 2012, she’s also a Wadadli Pen partner as part of our team of judges.
Glen Toussaint also has two poems published in So the Nailhead Bend, So the Story End: An Anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan Writing (edited by Althea Prince). He works at the Best of Books where his love of stories, story making, and story telling shines through – for instance in the in-store story time and the readings he does on Observer Radio’s Our House with Auntie Debbie and on school visits. Glen is a popular Open Mic regular, both at Expressions and at the Wadadli Pen Open Mic – which he runs at the store, the second Saturday of every month. That he encourages young people to read and get excited about reading will go a long way toward nurturing another generation of readers and writers.
There is often an activist element in George’s writing, particularly as relates to gender, race, and social justice; Glen, meanwhile, favours speculative fiction and poetry that’s alternatively provocative and earthy. And for all their accolades, the most inspiring thing about them may well be that they’ve really only just begun.
Congratulations to them both. In fact, congratulations to all the winners, listed in full below, and to the Youth Department for another successful instalment of a very valuable and inspiring programme:
Achievers in Education
Michael Zouetr -Education
Amaya Athill-Outstanding Scholarship
Kyle Christian* -Media practitioner
Martina Johnson-Young Journalist
Radio Observer -Youth Friendly Media House
Achievers in Agriculture
Jamaul Phillip-Young Farmer
PMS Agrcultural Science Programme-Honourble Mention
Achievers in Sports
Tamiko Butler (cyclist)- Young Sports woman
Jyme Bridges (cyclist)- Young sports man
Achievers in Business
LCP Industries- Young Entreprenwur ( D. Chastanet, W. Laville& Phillip)
Kevin Williams-Young Professional
Stephen Georges- Tourism – Service
Quincy Etinoff (music)-Cultural and Performing Arts
Rameez Mascall-Young Artisan
Linisa George (literary arts)
Glen Toussaint (literary arts)
Dr. Jeremy Deazle
Jon Whyte*–Young pioneer
Sasha Gay Middleton Community Service- Individual
Red Cross Youth Group-Community Service -Group
Mill Reef Club
Youth Development Partner
Medical benefits Scheme
Curtain Bluff Hotel
Lifetime Service Award
Ingid O’Marde- Youth and Ecumenism
Gordon George- Literacy
Felicity Aymer- Reproductive and Sexual Health of teens and Youth
Sheila Roseau- Gender advocacy-empowerment of girls/young women
Special Awards–support of work of the Department of Youth Affairs
The featured speaker for the evening was Carlon Knight*.
*FYI, talk about young people doing things, a National Youth Forum has been announced for January 9th 2014; its purpose to bring representatives of the country’s major political parties together to address the issues of concern and interest to young people. It is invite only and will be hosted by Marcella Andre-Georges and streamed online and carried live on several local stations. For more information contact the Organizing Committee (which includes NYA 2013 winners Kyle Christian, Jon Whyte, and speaker Carlon Knight) via social media on twitter.com/nyfanu2014, search for our facebook.com event, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.