by Nicholas Brathwaite
It has been said that keeping the attention span of boys, especially teenage boys is always a difficult chore.
If one works with young people often enough one would note that with a limited attention span they need to visualise and be engaged in the process in order to get them really going.
This is exactly what happened last Saturday morning as 27 scouts from the Barbados Boy Scouts Association; Troop of the Year, First Barbados Sea Scouts, along with eight Scouts from the Hazelwood Scout Troop took part in a substance abuse session presented by Makeda Greenidge and her team of youth leaders from the National Council on Substance Abuse.
This was a very rewarding session as Greenidge engaged the boys in an interactive discussion, explaining the meaning of the terms substance abuse and substance addiction.
The Scouts were just as ready to show their knowledge on the subject as they listed some of the symptoms of substance abuse and the way to avoid being trapped in this vice.
The presenters used a fun technique with two balls — Mr. Happy and Mr. Big — to turn a simple game of catch into a pop quiz. The method was to throw the ball and every time the ball was thrown a question was asked. Several items were used to show how alcohol affects the brain and impairs the ability of persons.
This was simulated by a pair of goggles which was deemed to have the effect of a certain percentage of alcohol in the lenses. In the first challenge the boys were invited to walk through a maze of chairs which had some trip wires in them, whilst wearing the goggles. Of course this was not an easy task to accomplish, as many of the boys fell over.
The second challenge was to drive a remote control car through a model residential area without hitting any of the houses. If one thought the first challenge was difficult, then the second challenge was much more difficult. Wearing the same goggles, Scouts were asked to drive to a yellow line in the courtyard.
Most of the boys found this challenge more entertaining although instructional. These challenges helped to explain and show the effects of excessive alcohol intake, both on the person and the person’s ability to perform.
The Scouts learnt that drugs came in different forms, were easy to take but difficult to give up. They also learnt that sometimes, even though the addict may refuse help, that family and friends could also pray and keep encouraging them to seek professional help. It was a very rich and rewarding time with the folks from the NCSA.
Below is a pictorial presentation of what transpired with the Scouts and their instructors from NCSA.