columnBy Ousman Njie
On the threshold of the biennial youth gathering that is supposed to be the biggest and most august to get our youth cohort to confab to exhibit the youthful exuberance in all the facets of life, one can only go down memory lane to abreast the populace on its genesis to bring to light its significance, hence the write up.
Sequel to the establishment of the department of Youth and Sports in 1973, hitherto youths only had camps to meet each other which led to the very fabric of the Department: The said activity was projected by the pioneer staff of the Ministry of Education, Youths and Sports inclusive culture to initiate a weeklong series of activities called the Youth Week to engage the youth cohort. It had the multipurpose targets of getting the youths to know each other through sports and develop infrastructure all over the Country for sports to thrive, hence the rotational basis on yearly basis in each division to achieve this. From the initial stages as it cuts across the divisions in the formative stages in the 1970 to 1980, when it was held in NBD at FARAFENNI to SERREKUNDA in 1983 and a lull when it was to be held in GEORGETOWN, then in 1985 for it to resurface in 1987 in BRIKAMA before its nomenclature changed. In the fore going, various instruments were being developed to enhance it as a framework on polices for both the youth and sports sector began to be developed ushering in the youth Bureau in 1990, when the name change NAYCONF came to have the first one in K.S.M.D, and in 1992 for the first time in GEORGETOWN as it was denied before hence could not partake off the earlier formation losing out on infrastructural development. Amazing that two decades on, it is once again brought to JANJANGBUREH now with different scenarios in changes of development in the Island as it is bridged on the southern side to ease entry together with some facelifts of other structures to make it more conducive to be staged there. It could be recalled that sites were allocated for the development of sports infrastructure but most of these became usurped in the process of under utilization for the said purpose hence the now outcry for allocation to develop sporting infrastructure makes it more urgent for it to be staged in JANJANGBUREH that still has no ground for sports development on its own where the youths can exert their energy.
The raison d'être therefore to a certain degree was achieved as the youths in such gregarious settings began to actualize themselves to transform the episode from only merry making to now link it with their roles in society, hence an eye opener. The evolution of the National Youth Council from the Bureau following the policy formulation to the effect in 2001 gave more impetus to the enhancement of the episode as the youth began to have a special segment to Confab on key issues pertaining to their developments. The last episode in 2010 held in K.S.M.D saw a novelty in its staging leaving out sports. Reference to my article on that episode depicting how it almost eroded the ambiance even though it had the cultural ones, Good a thing that this year's has all the facets encompassing the episode to hope that the outcome will get the desired effects of getting our youths to Confab, exert that youthful exuberance in sports and other worthwhile ventures as they interact and project the way forward. Mindful of the fact that a society that caters for its youth cohort can rest on its laurels but anything short of this can spell doom for the said society, it is envisaged that all hands will be on deck to ensure the success of the episode.
Overall, it behoves on all and sundry to partake off the episode for the betterment of our youth cohort for posterity. CAN WE RISE UP TO THE OCCASION SOLIDLY FOR THE GOOD OF MANKIND? ENOUGH FOOD FOR THOUGHT