Developing Youth through Sport

For years we’ve heard the need to develop the young minds of the world, be it through academics or sports. Numerous lamentations are well documented, from political influences to teachers and parents, “we would all love to see our young people shine” is the chorus sung. With that said, just how many entities can lay claim to focusing the lives and forgoing their lucrative livelihood for the benefit of holistic youth development?

Meet the Charlery’s, Marshall is the founder and head coach of the Rockets Athletic Sports Club and Martina his wife serves as the President. The two along with a full and competent team ( which features doctors, physio-therapists, educators, coaches, psychologists etc) of dedicated youth and sports enthusiasts have dedicated close to fourteen years of their lives to the growth and overall improvement of the island’s youth.

Their sports program has birthed many champions some of whom have gone to impress on the local, regional and international levels. The plaudits for the club are endless and achievements are plenteously and it would be remiss of me if I didn’t make mention of the club training athletes to match others on the world stage. A glowing Martina proudly recounted a total of fourteen athletes from the club who are currently a part of the national squad with a few out of island on sporting scholarships.

While they were full of compliments for their athletes who had made it to games such as the World Youth Championships in the Ukraine, CARIFTA Games, NACAC Championships and CUT Games, just to name a few, the parents who have been the biggest support system for the club came in for heavy praise. The parents of athletes or P.O.As, hardly miss games locally and abroad and they are most of the times the loudest ones at the meets.

Until then, it would seem fair to assess the club as a strictly track club that focusses solely on developing the next world’s fastest man or woman. Marshall and Martina informed us that this was not the case. The club, through the assistance from Australian Aidthrough the Australian High Commission, recently purchased their high jump equipment after a significant number of children had consistently indicated their interest in the sport. “With help from the Australian Aid who granted us the funds we were able to purchase a complete high jump”, Martina said.

This past summer children were able to put on the best Levern Spenser imitation as Rockets Athletic Club were able to put the newly acquired High Jump equipment to use.

We were told by the club’s hierarchy that after discourse with then St. Mary’s College Principal Mr. Seon and Vice-Principal Mr. Auguste, a signed memorandum of understanding will see S.M.C store the high jump equipment thus forging a partnership with the island’s leading Secondary school. The club hasalso been granted access to the grounds at St. Mary’s as they continue their youth development program which will targetathletes and students from the Camille Henry Memorial School, the St. Mary’s College and the athletes from Rockets.

The club will be celebrating their fourteenth anniversary on seventh of November 2018 and have a gala celebration planned for their club members but before that, their athletes are in off season training preparing to meet goals that they have set for themselves. For the month of October, we were reliably informed that a Talent Show maybe on the cards as well.

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