Georgetown – The U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Section held its annual Youth Action Network Leadership Conference over the weekend of August 21-22 at the St. Francis Development Center in Port Mourant, Berbice. Twenty members of the Embassy’s Youth Action Network (YAN) teamed up with approximately twenty-five youth from Regions 5 and 6 for the two- day conference which saw the assembled youth participating in various sessions on leadership, team building, and community service. The participants completed three different service projects in Fyrish, Rose Hall and New Amsterdam with the support of St. Francis Community Developers and local Berbice students and community leaders.
The conference gave the forty-five young people a chance to hear from and interact with Guyanese professionals and community leaders. The keynote address came from Mr. Aubrey Norton, Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment who applauded initiatives like the conference which functioned as a place for youth to partake in essential training activities for their development. Mr. Norton spoke of the government’s plan to put out a youth policy in September and encouraged the participants to remember the need to be articulate, educated, and patriotic but not to lose the common touch as they develop themselves as future Guyanese leaders. Other speakers included Paulette Henry, Head of the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Guyana Tain Campus, Inspector Yonnette Stephen of the Felix Austin Training College, Vishnu Doerga of ActionCoach Guyana, Alex Foster, President of the St. Francis Community Developers, and Bobby Adelson, Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy.
The two-day conference and service day was seen as a way of expanding the reach of YAN by engaging with youth out of the capital city. Participants from Georgetown, Berbice, and Linden, testified that the two-day conference was a rewarding experience that gave them the opportunity to engage with youth from different regional areas who shared the same tenacity, drive, and focus on contributing to Guyana’s development.
More recently, as part of its community service outreach, YAN embarked on an initiative which catered for the homeless in society with the distribution of care packages to approximately two hundred homeless persons over two weekends.
The Youth Action Network was created in 2013 by the U.S. Embassy under the theme “Ready to Serve, Ready to Lead,” and focuses on build youth capacity and skills by teaching the value of service and empowering them to become dynamic leaders. YAN is comprised of Guyanese youth aged 16-30. Applications for membership will open in January 2016 and will be published on the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Facebook page.