The St. Maarten Youth Brigaders.
PHILIPSBURG–The St. Maarten Youth Brigade (SMYB) promoted its new recruits, cadets and sergeants during a ceremony held on Saturday, December 9.
Prime Minister Rafael Boasman and Minister of Youth Silveria Jacobs were amongst those in attendance.
Founder Zulayka Peterson spoke of the history of the St. Maarten Youth Brigade and its journey from inception to present, highlighting its challenges and achievements, including the personal and collective growth of its members.
Members engaged in community support and volunteering before and after Hurricane Irma and participated in training and development.
Peterson said members had received permission to wear their uniforms to school on the fifth anniversary of Voice of Our Youth Foundation earlier this year which led to more recruits joining the SMYB.
Peterson also highlighted the accolades members have received from the Dutch Marines whom they assisted directly after Hurricane Irma’s passing, working at the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) shelter, assisting with food and water distribution, cleaning schools and in the community and helping those who had lost roofs, including their own members.
In her address Jacobs congratulated the visionaries who had seen the possibilities five years ago and who saw it through to the point where they have so many youth positively busy in their own lives and making an impact in the community.
She thanked all those who had worked with the youth to make it possible for them to move to the next level. She pledged to continue to support the SMYB in whatever way she could, both in and out of office, and encouraged the public to find some way to support youth groups such as this and to encourage and support their children to participate in positive initiatives.
SMYB should not be seen as a boot camp, but as a way, through military-type training, to groom youth to join the uniformed services as well as to grow in character and discipline. One young member who has been promoted to Sergeant, Corporal Rupshen, is already enlisted in the Volunteer Corps St. Maarten VKS.
Jacobs promoted setting at least one day per month on which the SMYB members could wear their uniforms to school to share their goals and experiences with their friends at school, and received loud cheers of agreement from the recently-promoted members. Jacobs pledged to make it possible.
Boasman echoed the sentiments expressed by Jacobs for continued support for the St. Maarten Youth Brigade as an alternative to incarcerating youth offenders, thereby retraining and preparing them to be productive citizens and role models to their peers.
The newly promoted members and their peers marched through Philipsburg after the ceremony and returned to enjoy a reception with guests.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/71751-st-maarten-youth-brigade-members-promoted-saturday