June 23, 2017, Belize District
On Thursday, 22 June 2017, the National Youth Cadet Service Corps held closing exercises for Intake XVIII at its campus at Mile 21.5 on the Western Highway. Seventeen young men passed-out of the program, having received training in behavior modification, life skills, academics, agriculture, woodwork, spiritual development and basic foot drills. Ten of the “Challengers” were awarded certificates of completion for participating in the entire ten month cycle which began in September 2016, while three were singled out for special recognition. Eighteen year old Selvyn Kelly received the Outstanding Cadet award, thirteen year old Johnny Gamez was Most Improved, while fifteen year old Alton Castillo had the Best Drills.
Having graduated, the young men are expected to transition back into their community to utilize their newly acquired skills. In his speech at the ceremony, Cadet Service Corps Manager, Anthony Castillo, urged the youths to stay on the positive path, “Challengers, no matter the circumstances, keep your eyes on the prize… remain focused, be choosy about your friends, be respectful to yourself, your family, and to your elders. Build on the foundation already established here at this facility. For those of you, who will be continuing or furthering your education, do so diligently. Take advantage of your youth in a positive way.”
After the ceremony, the Challengers and their parents were hosted at a luncheon.
The National Youth Cadet Service Corp is a voluntary program which caters to at-risk young men between the ages of 13 and 17 who display behavioral issues. Its objectives are to develop in these young Belizeans, positive character traits such as self-respect, respect for the rule of law, good work ethics, discipline and a commitment of service to their community. The National Youth Cadet Service Corps is now managed by the Community Rehabilitation Department under the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation.