The Governor General of Barbados Dame Sandra Mason was treated to an informative two-hour tour of the Nature Fun Ranch, St Andrew this morning.
She was treated to all its sights and sounds and met some of the animals. She also met some of the youth who are actively involved in running the camp.
Founder of the Ranch Corey Layne said that he sparked Mason’s interest in the ranch after he received the Commonwealth Points of Light Award.
“I received the [Commonwealth Points of Light Award] by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and I had an opportunity to interact with the Governor-General Her Excellency Sandra Mason. She was curious about the work we are doing and it reminded me that we are one of Barbados’ well-kept secrets,” he said, adding that as the ranch celebrated its 20th anniversary, he wanted to expose what they have been doing for at-risk young men and women in Barbados.
“We are going to shine a light on what we have done for the past 20 years, the work that we are doing now and the work that we plan on doing going forward,” Layne said, adding that the Governor-General wanted to see first-hand why he received such a prestigious award that is given to outstanding volunteers, whose service is making a difference in their communities and whose stories can inspire others to create innovative solutions to social challenges.
Layne added that the Nature Fun Ranch is doing fairly well with sponsorship as they have been receiving investment from agencies abroad.
“A lot of Barbadians benefit from us being able to keep at-risk young people motivated, but the support has not been forthcoming. So, we have [reached] out to the outside embassies – the New Zealand Embassy and the United States Embassy. Massy Barbados has [also] been helping us and we are looking at ways [to include] the average Barbadian. We are going to place some sponsor boxes at various locations [to allow people] to become engaged in a project that touches persons from St Lucy to Christ Church,” Layne said, adding that the plan to have a dormitory at Todd’s Great House in St John is bound in red tape as the property was previously listed as one of CLICO’s assets.
“I really hope that Government can continue [being] very decisive and they can say this is a great project, this is a great location, let’s get the funding, let’s get the memorandum of understanding in place and let’s get this done. There are a lot of young people who require that live-in residential type of programme. We saw it with the Barbados Youth Service and how well it worked only when we stopped it. So imagine having that for a greater range of issues and a greater range of young people,” he added.
Layne also highlighted that the Nature Fun Ranch was seeking assistance from the Queen’s Commonwealth Thrust headed by Prince Harry of Wales. (LG)