A number of teens from the Turks and Caicos Islands were given the opportunity, along with their United States counterparts, to delve into the intricacies of the systems of health, leadership, government and finance, through the KYB Leadership Academy, which made the Turks and Caicos Islands its latest stop in its annual global trek.
On Monday, December 20, the camp hosted ministers from three of the TCI’s powerhouse ministries – Hon. Akierra Missick from the Ministry of Infrastructure; Hon. Rachel Taylor from the Ministry of Education; and Hon. Jamell Robinson of the Ministry of Health and Human Services.
The three talked about their ministries and what they entailed. They also fielded tough questions from the youth, both from the Turks and Caicos Islands, as well as from the United States.
Dr. Katherine Y. Brown, Founder of the Dr. Katherine Y. Brown (KYB) leadership Academy, said the entity was established in 2016, to build the capacity for global leadership in youth, while also helping them to learn how to advocate for their communities and to increase awareness of pulmonary hypertension.
“We really focus on your words, your thoughts and your actions. And we teach them these three basic sentences which are: ‘Today my words will express to everyone and to myself that I am a leader’. ‘Today my thoughts will be a constant reminder that I am a leader,’ and ‘Today my actions will show the world that I am a leader’. ‘I am a KYB leader,’ “she pointed out.
She said the young leaders, during the sessions, were taught four core areas – health, leadership, government and finance.
“And they have mastered four powerful modules - Introduction to leadership and effective communication; welcoming and appreciating diversity; a commitment to lifelong learning and service to the community and managing difficult situations and teamwork.
“They focused on team building, they finished a comprehensive research portfolio,” she said.
She said the entity has taken its team of resources to many countries across the world, with the Turks and Caicos being its latest stop.
“This is our inaugural cohort in Turks and Caicos, but this is our 24th cohort of scholars nationally and internationally. We’ve been to South Africa, Dubai, Costa Rica and Colombia, and the list goes on. And we will be bringing the scholars from Turks and Caicos to Nashville, Tennessee next year for the same culture immersion experience. And so, our scholars learn leadership by applying leadership,” she further noted.
She said to qualify to be part of the programme from the Turks and Caicos, the student would have to be nominated by the Edward Gartland Youth Centre, which assists with the selection process.
“…Then they apply, we review the applications, and we meet them when we come over here, so it was really an exciting time. They each also submitted a profile of themselves – they shared their name, their age, their career aspirations, and what it would mean to them to be selected to be a KYB leader.
“For Turks and Caicos, we have 15 in the inaugural cohort. In our combined programme, we have over 280. So they are a part of a global movement and that is what we find so exciting about the program.
“We plan to go to Greece and several other places, so they are part of a larger infrastructure, and they are making an impact around the world, and it’s an exciting time for KYB leadership academy,” Brown added.
She does not subscribe to the theory that the youth are the future, but rather, the present, and so, believes they should be equipped to face the world.
“…We believe that the youth are the present and that’s why we give them this opportunity now. They are critical thinkers, capable of doing amazing things when allowed the opportunity. So, we believe in them, their voice matters, they matter, and they are the solutions we are looking for in the community. And that’s why we want to nurture, encourage, and develop their leadership skills.
Brown said the KYB Academy has forged what she described as a wonderful collaboration with the Edward Gartland Youth Centre, and with director Roxann Roxann Wake-Forbes, and other managers there.
“I want people to know that collaboration matters, and it is through the power of collaboration,” Brown said, while praising Ministers Missick, Taylor and Robinson.
“The three ministers have been very passionate about the work that KYB leadership academy is doing and so their presence here also to me acknowledges the fact that they are encouraging the work that we’re doing through KYB Leadership Academy.
“They didn’t just show up for a photo, they showed up and our scholars asked them critical questions…they answered those questions openly and transparently and that gives us an opportunity – that’s the cultural immersion experience.