By Sonia Boddie
St Kitts and Nevis CARICOM Youth Ambassador
As we commemorate Caribbean Youth Day 2013 on September 30, under the theme: “Creativity, Passion and Participation: Youth Leading a Stronger Caribbean”, it is my esteemed privilege to address you, the young people of our beautiful twin island Federation of St Kitts and Nevis, on this occasion.
Sonia Boddie is the CARICOM Youth Ambassador of St Kitts and Nevis.
As we reflect on this year’s theme, we recognize that it strongly encourages us as young people, to use our creative energies, to develop our passions, and to actively participate in our communities, so that our actions may lead to our shaping not only a stronger country but also, by extension, a stronger Caribbean Community.
Accordingly, I personally encourage each and every youth of this Federation (that is anyone between the age of 15-35), to get on board, to put ‘Country Above Self’ and initiate and create the positive changes you wish to see in our society. Let us not look at our age as a hindrance, but rather as an advantage. We are young and bursting with energy that so many do not possess.
Let us, therefore, allow our creative juices to flow, utilize and improve upon our God- given talents, become innovative, and create those same opportunities we have long been waiting for. Let us start looking at things differently, and begin to think not only outside the box, but above and beyond the box, to transform our ideas into major successes that would reap benefits for not only ourselves but for the wider Caribbean.
You are not too young to become the next entrepreneur or inventor. Larry Page started Google at age 23 and Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook at age 19. History is anxiously waiting to document your name, next to these accomplished guys. You have what it takes, to take the lead in whatever area you may be passionate about.
Youth participation is vital to the development of every society. So let us begin to become passionate about the causes we stand for, become involved in the decision making processes, and help to shape the policies that impact us as young people. Let us become engaged in volunteer work, so that others may benefit from our time, talents and efforts, and, collaboratively, we can strengthen the nation-building process.
Let us empower ourselves, to lead, to lead by example and to lead a life of service. Let us begin to chart creative ways of dealing with today’s challenges, and to face those challenges that lie ahead of us, as we prepare to take the baton, and lead our Caribbean Community, making it even more competitive in the international arena.
Let us not ever allow our current, economical, social or political circumstances to dictate our future. In fact, as young people, we ourselves represent the future. We have the power to shape our own future.
The future of the Caribbean is in our hands, and the future begins today so, as we celebrate Caribbean Youth Day 2013, let us begin to become agents of change from today, by becoming creative, passionate, and participative, to ensure that indeed our Caribbean grows from strength to strength each day, through our continued and committed efforts.