Freeport, Grand Bahama — President and founder of Earth Care, marine biologist and conservationist Gail Woon, shared her story of triumph, passion and fortitude with 117 participants in the Governor General’s Youth Award who received their Silver and Bronze Awards Thursday, June 2.
The ceremony was held at the Foster B. Pestaina Hall in Grand Bahama where Ms Woon offered up her fight as evidence that in life, one should never doubt one’s ability to make a difference.
Ms Woon said she received death threats in the mid-90s in her quest to ban long-line fishing in Bahamian waters. Her group, along with other well known conservation groups, re-Earth and Ocean Watch were eventually successful.
Ms Woon’s presentation was met with thunderous applause as she encouraged GGYA participants to go out and make a difference in the world.
Phillippa Munnings, 16, a student at the Bishop Michael Eldon High School received the GGYA’s Bronze Award. She attributed her success to a strong willpower.
“I learned that I am much stronger than I thought I was, not just physically but also mentally and spiritually. GGYA is a very God-centered organization and it teaches you that you can do anything through God who strengthens you,” said Munnings.
“I felt very accomplished and empowered. I felt like I could do anything as long as I look to the future as promising.”
Laron Burrows of St. George’s High School had no idea that he was indeed a leader until he participated in the GGYA programme.
“It is a talent you’re born with but you just don’t know that you have it,” he said. “Many of the situations we were in weren’t normal but I could handle it. I brought normalcy to it and peace to it and gathered everyone together.”
The 15-year-old added: “This is a programme that helps you to learn so much about yourself. It helps you find out so much stuff about who you are that you didn’t even know about. It is more than just sleeping outdoors and walking around.”
Denise Mortimer, the GGYA’s national executive director said participants learn simple tenets from the GGYA which give them the courage to re-shape the world.
“We give them the opportunity to develop self confidence. That is what a lot of our young people are lacking. They learn a lot of life skills and appreciation for their country and for the environment,” she said. “They become more aware of the world in which they live and where they work.”
The GGYA helped 15-year-old Sunshine Armbrister gain confidence and a better appreciation for teamwork.
“For anyone who wants to join, I would say go ahead because this programme strengthens you, makes you a better person and gives you a better outlook on life,” said the 11th grader at Jack Hayward High School. “I learned that even in my independence that there are still some things you can’t do alone. You need a team and you need to work together.”
The GGYA is a member of The International Award Association. The Award is an exciting self-development programme available to all young people worldwide, equipping them with life skills to make a difference in themselves, their communities and the world.
Once participants have successfully completed hiking expeditions, community service engagements, mastered new skills and participated in physical activities, they are eligible for a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award.
Since its establishment in 1987, over 8,000 local participants have passed through the programme, which is open to participants age 14 to 25.
By Precision Media
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