The YAR Programme was initially conceptualized as a Music programme in 2001, an initiative of the Division of Youth Affairs and the National Cultural Foundation. Originally, it targeted persons ‘on the block’, unstructured youth, who in some way might have been musically inclined. In the initial recruitment stages, officers of the Youth Development Programme and the National Cultural Foundation would have visited several blocks in an effort to sensitise persons to this initiative.
The first year of the Programme brought about notable success, especially in the area of vocal training, as some young persons succeeded in charting a career for themselves in this area.
Some of the highlights coming out of the programme include the winner of the Junior Calypso Monarch Ms. Jamie Depeiza, N.I.F.C.A Bronze Medallist, Mr. Fabian “Dandelion” Jones and others who made it to the finals of the Richard Stoute Teen Talent Contest in 2002.
The sister programme, the Youth Achieving Results Visuals Arts Programme was established in 2002 and this provided a forum for young persons to be trained in the areas such as ceramics and pottery, woodcarving and sculpting, clothing and textiles and painting and drawing. This programme also had its share of successes with one Artist Mr. Rae Garnes being selected to visit Suriname for CARIFESTA as part of the Barbados delegation in 2003. This increasingly popular programme has maintained high participation and has successfully produced many graduates with market-ready skills.
These two programmes provided in-depth training for young persons who would have demonstrated they possessed a basic knowledge and interest in their respective disciplines, and wanted an opportunity to chart their career path.
In January 2007, the former dance tutor-training programme “A Step Ahead” changed its focus towards performance enhancement training of dancers at the community level. It was thereby merged with the Youth Achieving Results Performing Arts Programme to provide extended training for dancers over a nine-month period. Graduates of both programmes would be eligible for participation in the soon to be introduced Performing Arts Company.
The merging of the two programmes now named YAR Performing Arts has allowed for a central focus to be given to meeting the objectives as well as allowing for an inter-disciplinary approach to be taken to the development of the Arts. Having multi disciplinary skills facilitates their ability to seek work in diverse mediums, both locally and regionally.
The areas of Personal Development and Entrepreneurial Training and the benefits of this to the students were clearly demonstrated in the 200-11 programmes. These components are therefore increased in the 2012 programme, as they are seen as critical to the overall development of young persons who have taken the Arts seriously, and wish to advance in a positive way.