Forty young people and their advisors from the Junior Optimist and Octagon International Clubs of Barbados gathered to chart a path for their organisation’s future, last Saturdays at the 3Ws Oval at the Cave Hill Campus. Lieutenant Governor for JOOI in Barbados, Kerri Gibbs led the programme with a report on efforts to strengthen existing JOOI clubs and to increase communication between them.
In reporting on the clubs activities, Club Presidents Wendy Springer of Aceworx Community JOOI Club and Deneka Brathwaite of Garrison Octagon Debating Club noted the number of community service projects undertaken by the children. These included beach clean ups, social events for less fortunate children, as well as food hampers The clubs took on the challenging task of raising funds in a difficult economic climate.
In addition to the usual cake sales and sponsored walks, one club organised a ‘gangnam dancehall” to raise funds for its activities. Youth facilitator and JOOI Chair of the Optimist Club of Barbados-Bridgetown, Kemar White, conducted sessions on communication and team work. Octagon Advisor Cheryl Williams discussed the role of photographs in promoting and recording the work of JOOI clubs and Optimist for Life Preetam Kirpalani explained club budgeting to the youth. A popular feature of the convention was the video and discussion segment facilitated by JOOI Coordinator for Barbados, Ann Sealy who shared writer Chimamanda Adichie’s A Single Story with the service club members. “JOOI Barbados would like to thank the Optimist Club of Barbados-Bridgetown, the Optimist Club of Barbados-South, Progressive Optimist Club and the University of the West Indies for their support,” the organisation said in a statement. JOOI is the acronym for Junior Optimist and Octagon International. It is a youth service club and the junior arm of Optimist International, with a global membership of nearly 20,000 young people. JOOI clubs may be called Alphas (primary school), Junior Optimists or Octagons (secondary school). In Barbados there are currently eight JOOI clubs in operation.