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Youths take action for a change, as SVG hosts Youth Vibez 6

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This year’s experience the ‘vibez’ will take place in St Vincent and the Grenadines, from July 28 to August 4.{{more}}

It is an annual youth conference, hosted by a regional non-profitable organization called the Caribbean Healthy Lifestyle Programme (CHLP) and this year’s conference is dubbed “Youth Vibez 6”, with the theme ‘ Youth Taking Action for a Change’, which has attracted over 100 participants, mentors, facilitators and trainers from various Caribbean countries.

The Caribbean Healthy Lifestyle Programme is an organization which combines sports and personal development to encourage healthy life style choices among the youth. This program was established in 2000, and is the brainchild of the Organization of Caribbean Administration of Sports and Physical Education (OCASPE). The program partners with the Caribbean Netball Association (CNA), Trinidad & Tobago Alliance for Sports & Physical Education (TTASPE) and is supported by CARICOM, Commonwealth Games Canada and Kicking AIDS OUT International.

The original mandate of the program is aimed at increasing the involvement of Caribbean girls and women into sports or physical activities, while promoting the value of healthy life style choices. However, in late 2003, the program saw the need to include males, as they were too often marginalized. The program since then has expanded, catering for both males and females from diverse sport disciplines. This program focuses on youth between the age of 14- 23 to become active youth leaders, as it is a program that is facilitated by youth and encourages youth participation in youth friendly issues that affect the youth. It also gives adults 24 years and older the opportunity to become effective mentors to assist and support aspiring youth. Youth Leaders and Mentors are also given the opportunity to become facilitators and trainers within the organization, to allow growth and the recruitment process to stay alive.

At present, the program is active in various Caribbean islands namely: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Maarten, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and St Vincent and the Grenadines. It is governed by its slogan “your life, your health, make it right,” which is used to emphasize the social and personal responsibility on the youth of the region in making healthy lifestyle choices. Through this program, young people are given positive and empowering experiences through their participation in sports and physical activities, and mentors or trainers who can help them to improve their esteem to make healthy lifestyle choices, thus motivating them to aspire and reach their full potential. The program also helps young people to develop strong leadership attitudes and capacity through sports, which can be beneficial for their personal and career life. In the year 2002, the program was established here in St Vincent and the Grenadines among teenage netballers; since then, the program has grown significantly and is inclusive of both males and females of multiple sport disciplines. There is a present membership of twenty-five persons, which embark on one of the major projects of the organization throughout secondary schools in St Vincent. This project, known as KAO (Kicking AIDS Out), is one which highlights the effect of HIV/AIDS on human life and notes its facts, using sports and also other talents such as poetry, drama, and singing. Currently the program serves to facilitate personal development sessions with the under sixteen netball program and the Sport for Life cricket programs developed by the government of St Vincent.

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