Focus on youth

Students of USP at the Western Youth & Sports Conference at Tanoa Waterfront in Lautoka. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

ABOUT 70 youth leaders and organisations from the Western Division were encouraged to establish development programs that add to the positive growth of a young person. While speaking at the end of the second Western Division conference in Lautoka on Friday night, Minister for Youth and Sports Laisenia Tuitubou said in order to thrive, young people required a range of personal attributes that supported their positive choices.

“Evidence indicates that a young person’s personal attributes both protect them from risky behaviours and promote positive attitudes and actions,” he said.

“They are a stronger predictor of whether a young person will engage in negative risk-taking behaviour — either their social or demographic profile. “The years from 15 to 35 are a critical stage for young people as they build on the experiences of childhood and generate the foundations for adulthood. “During this period, each young person has a number of key tasks to undertake. “How well each of these is mastered affects the degree of success each of you will experience in your adult life.”

He said the Western youth conference was a way to support young people develop attributes needed by focusing on the promotion of positive experiences and qualities.

“It builds on participants’ strengths rather than focusing on perceived problems or issues. “Studies of young people’s engagement in youth development programs suggest a strong relationship between their involvement in such programs and reduced involvement in risky behaviours and activities and the development of knowledge, skills and competence in a diverse range of life skill areas.”

The three-day conference was attended by youths from various villages and provincial groups and civil society.