Aug. 5, 2005 – Among the 107 youths taking part in the V.I. Waste Management Authority Youth Employment Summer program on St. Croix, there were probably many reasons for participating. But Nigel Hughes' reason was typically male. The sixteen-year-old student said Friday, "I got involved because you can meet a lot of girls here."
He and a couple buddies broke off an interview with a reporter after the awards program at the Altona Lagoon Pavilion in Gallows Bay because they said, "the girls are getting away."
Perhaps the answer that organizers of the program, now in its 11th year, would like better came from Daniel Hughes, 15. He said, "I came because I like to work. I wanted to learn more about work."
Troyson Raymond, 16, said he was "definitely" coming back next year. He said, "I really had a good time."
While the youths appeared to be having a good time at the closing event — which featured volleyball, tug-of-war contests, food and an entertainment contest — the program was not all about fun.
In the first week of the six-week program it was all about workshops to enable the youths to develop attitudes and habits that would help in the world of work. The rest of the program had the young students cleaning up and doing minor landscaping at public spaces, such as schools and parks.
One team was given a special award for working at the Anguilla landfill and "putting up with that stench for a full week."
This was the first year the program was under the direction of Waste Management Authority instead of the Anti-Litter and Beautification Commission.
Lucy Jackson, the program director, said the switch did not change the program. Participants from age 15 to 21 must be attending schools. They work six hours a day, five days a week and earn six dollars an hour.
This was Jackson's second consecutive year as director, but she had been involved with the program in previous years also. The schoolteacher said she thought this year's group was a good group.
Over on St. Thomas and St. John, another WMA program, entitled Clean and Preen, employed more than 275 students, team leaders and support staff.
May Adams Cornwall, executive director of Waste Management Authority, said in a press release, "These young people worked diligently and performed well in a variety of projects that they were assigned to accomplish. The environmental training and education provided by WMA staff was evident in their initiative to enhance the entrance to the Anguilla Landfill using recycled scrap tires and planting the area. We applaud these young people and we appreciate the contribution they have made to our communities."
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.