Members of the Barbados Cadet Corps and young Barbadians in general have been urged to embrace their elders and benefit from the wealth of knowledge they possess to enhance their lives.
The advice came from Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Cynthia Forde and Commandant of the Cadet Corps Major Errol Brathwaite as the cadets held a day of activities at the Geriatric Hospital on Monday.
Major Brathwaite stated that the exercise formed part of the Cadet Corps’ 2018 community project, which has the theme ‘Preparing Today for a Successful Tomorrow – Youth to Seniors’. He added that over the past month, the young would-be soldiers held a camp during which they were involved in “map and compass reading, time management, public speaking, emergency response, musicianship, first aid, the importance of correct dress and deportment and conflict resolution”.
Between July 5 and 18 they participated in a regional camp where they tested their skills against their Caribbean counterparts.
The Commandant, who is also the principal of Ellerslie Secondary School, also called for Barbadians, old and young, to get involved in his organization and similar bodies that help build character in young people.
“We want adults from across Barbados to join the ranks of the officers within the corps and become leaders to these young minds. I want to invite all young boys and girls going into secondary school for the first time this September to join not only the Cadets, but the Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, 4H, Red Cross, [or] any of the positive youth organizations we have here.”
In her address, Forde reminded the cadets that the elderly possessed a wealth of knowledge, adding that a relationship between the youth and senior citizens was mutually beneficial.
“It will be good for you to listen to them, to find out how they survived, even how they courted one another,” she said, reminding the patients, 13 of whom are over 100 years old, “you might not have benefited from free education, but many of you are well educated, and as you speak to the youth, you will teach them some life skills that cannot be taught anywhere else”.
Director of the Geriatric Hospital Heather Payne-Drakes stated that by 2020, 20 per cent of Barbados’ population would be over 65 years old, and as such, “we have to place emphasis on the care we provide, and not just medical care, but social interaction and entertainment are important too”.
During the event, the Cadet Corps presented a plaque to 104-year-old Carlisle Clinton, the oldest man at the hospital. He also received a fruit basket, as did 100-year-old Marion Corbin, the oldest female patient. Clinton also assisted the minister in planting a fruit tree on the property. (DH)