The National Cultural Foundation started its Youth Volunteer Programme in 2011 and it has been an important part of the Festival ever since then.
The Crop Over Youth Volunteer Programme, the brainchild of the Honourable Stephen Lashley, came about as a result of a desire to create avenues for the preservation of our cultural heritage by getting young people more involved in the Crop Over Festival while ensuring that the product remains relevant for generations to come.
The Programme also aids in the development of people skills and confidence building, all the while offering valuable work experience for these youngsters. Its aim is to instill a spirit of volunteerism and a zeal for giving back to the community. It targets young people between the ages of 16-25 enrolled in national youth groups, secondary and tertiary institutions across the island.
During the Festival, Volunteers will assist with marketing, backstage management, house management, marshaling, hospitality, administrative duties and any other activities that may help with the smooth running of events.
After the festival, in addition to the awards conferred on the most outstanding achievers, some of these volunteers are often afforded the opportunity to work with the Foundation as a part of the technical and backstage crews, as ushers and generally as part of the production staff at other NCF events.
Throughout the four years, just over 500 young people have come through the programme including one of its major successes, the current Coordinator, Kelly-Ann Gaskin, who has been running the programme for the last three years. This year, 90 Volunteers have registered, 45 of whom are returnees and two of whom have been in the programme from its inception.
Submitted by our BCC Corporate Communications intern Shannon Gooding