From ripples to waves

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1 yz 3 carimé cayjsha warrell
Carimé Cayjsha Warrell
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“Our ocean is in serious trouble. Heating, pollution, acidification, and oxygen loss pose serious threats to the health of the ocean and to all living beings who call this vast planetary resource their home.” That statement from the United Nations magnified the harsh reality of the current state of our ocean.

More than three decades ago, the meeting of the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations highlighted a critical nexus between the environment and development. The commission described sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

If Generation Next is going to capitalise on the plethora of environmental benefits, we must enable them to develop an appreciation for natural resources. As the UN pointed out, the ocean not only feeds us and provides jobs and livelihoods, but it also regulates our climate and provides the very air we breathe. The ocean is a significant tool for economic development.

So, when we see young people championing pro-climate activities, we must support them. Why? Because their fight—minor or major—transcends the here and now. It’s all about ensuring longevity, sustainability and the survival of the human race.

Today’s YouthZone focusses on the Sea Learning Challenges (SLC) Foundation. Certified sailors Skye-Amalia Durham and Carimé Cayjsha Warrell and sailing student Lola Valentina Proaño Montana founded the SLC. The goals of the organisation are to build water confidence and certify youth sailors ages 14 to 18 through the National Sailing Academy — Antigua Youth Scheme Program.

The SLC will also provide peer coaching and wraparound services to elevate youth. It will level the playing field for young people with diverse learning abilities and interests as it prepares them for more meaningful livelihoods and purpose driven lives. The foundation also plans to broker global inter-generational cultural exchange and collaboration for youth across borders with common interest in sea life and ocean conservation.

In a nutshell, the SLC’s goals are to create a connected ecosystem of stakeholders who are committed to the development of critical skills through sailing, peer coaching, and healthy exposure to the ocean. All this will result in Royal Yachting Association (RYA) certified youth sailors. Leveraging a sprint approach, the project team will launch a 2023 summer cohort of six local students from August 14-25. SLC will fund the students who’ll receive an RYA sailing scholarship valued at US$2,500. Applications for scholarships are now open and you can apply at https://nationalsailingacademy.org/scholarship/.

Now, it’s time to focus on the trio who is turning ripples into waves. Let’s start with Skye-Amalia Durham, a 16-year-old of Antiguan parentage. She attended school in Antigua for 2½ years and currently attends the Walker School in Marietta, Georgia. Besides sailing, her other areas of interest are diving, marine biology, and volleyball.

As a founding member of SLC, Skye said: “My purpose is to help Antiguan and Barbudan youth gain confidence both in themselves and in the water through activities such as sailing and diving. My personal passions include ocean conservation and marine science policy”.

Up next is 15-year-old Lola. She was born and raised in Texas where she attends Westwood High School Texas. Lola is a licensed glider pilot. Aviation, basketball, and martial arts, travelling, and diverse cultures also intrigue her. Her mission “is to spread awareness to the youth of different opportunities in water sports and the knowledge that comes with the various activities”.

Fourteen-year-old Carimé is the other member of SLC Foundation. The All Saints Secondary School student was born and raised in Antigua and Barbuda. The certified sailor also loves drawing, swimming and baking. In her purpose statement, Carimé noted that “my mission is to give our youth an equal opportunity even if they are less fortunate.”

The SLC founders recognise that they will need the participation of various stakeholders to realise their goals, hence the need for partnerships which make Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #17 achievable. The founders expressed much gratitude to Alison Sly-Adams and the team at the National Sailing Academy for being the inaugural partner to come on board and bring their vision to life.

The Department of Youth Affairs (DYA) in Antigua and Barbuda lauded the arduous efforts of the SLC trio who understands the value of social responsibility near and far. Their mission resonates with the vision of the DYA. It highlights the importance of forming strategic alliances and equipping our youth with core values, knowledge and competencies, as well as adequate resources to live purposeful lives.

Kudos to the dynamic trio of the SLC Foundation! Much success in your endeavours as you turn ripples into waves.

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