By Rebekah Higgs and Cole Albury
Forest Heights Academy 10th Graders
The Governor General’s Youth Award, formerly known as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, aims to develop team building skills, self-confidence, valuable life skills and a connection to a broader society for students all over the Bahamas. There are different divisions within the GGYA program: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each has its own requirements that must be met in order for a member to be placed in the appropriate rank.
Consequently, on March 13 the Silver division of Forest Heights Academy’s GGYA unit set off on their separate expeditions as teams of six or seven. They began their thirty mile hike from the FHA campus after school. All grid points, directions, destinations and estimated times were previously mapped out by the teams during the planning process. With checkpoints scattered along the way, the Silver groups were required to spend two nights camped in different areas.
After a day of exploration, it was reported that one of the groups was treated to a sighting of a manta ray with a six foot wingspan. Then they ended the day with a simple meal in camaraderie, ready to be on the move in the morning.
On Saturday, the Bronze students left from the FHA campus, on their way to Snake Cay for their fifteen mile hike. Bronze teams are only required to camp for one night. However, new to the program and on their practice hike, many campers either packed too much and found it difficult to carry their packs, or they packed too little and were unprepared. Then the entire unit met up and camped together at Snake Cay. Night fell and soon after, everyone gathered firewood for a bonfire and cooked dinner.
As on previous GGYA trips, talents of all kinds were demonstrated at the bonfire. Singers sang, actors impersonated teachers, and Mr. Richard told his traditional ‘Herkimer the Mighty Moth’ story. Jokes were told and laughs were had by all, and soon everyone fell asleep to the crackling of the fire.
After all groups returned to the FHA campus on Sunday, the explorers were given the opportunity to relive the journey when they wrote their reports, the final requirement of the weekend adventure.
Mr. Richard, Forest Heights Academy unit leader, has been involved with GGYA since 1997 and is continually impressed with this youth development program. He noted, “I was very proud of all the GGYA participants this past weekend. They challenged themselves and completed their hikes in record time.”