Youth for the future
On Saturday, a Beaconite joined in a territory-wide clean-up effort and was delighted to see how excited children and parents were to share in the experience. They speedily worked their way along the road shoulder, picking up whatever bits caught their eye while shouting out what it was for the record. It was a two-hour trek, and the reporter knew things were getting serious when one youngster picked up a walking stick along the way, occasionally using it to knock down trash that was just out of reach up the hill. But one of this Beaconite’s favourite moments was when families stopped to chat at the end of the path and reflect on their own green habits at home. The reporter has written before about the need to invest in the territory’s youth in areas like sports and academics, but she would also love to see them afforded more opportunities to explore their ideas on social issues. A 2020 report by UNESCO showed that of 1,000-plus participants in a youth survey on climate change, 77 percent of young people feel extremely concerned about climate change. But unfortunately, 55 percent said they feel that no one listens to them. One starting point lies on the next page of the Beacon. The Beaconite encourages young readers to write a letter to the editor with their concerns and ideas about climate change. Or any other topic, for that matter.
Last week, a concerned citizen toured the Jost Van Dyke Primary School and posted some shocking photos on Facebook that apparently showed the building in a state of disrepair. These are problems that the district representative, to his credit, has already called attention to in the House of Assembly. At the time, he was promised a fix by the time school started, which looks like it may not have fully happened. Government cannot claim ignorance on this matter, so a Beaconite asks: Are ministers only concerned about taxpayer-funded schools when they’re in danger of looking bad on Facebook? Do they think that children aren’t harmed by subpar learning conditions if no one can see it in their news feed? For the average person, “out of sight, out of mind” is probably true, and social media can help to raise awareness of problems. But government needs to be held to a higher standard. Officials shouldn’t need a random person on social media to shame them into doing their job. They should be doing it already.
On Monday, in the midst of writing about the Commission of Inquiry, a Beaconite took a break to tap into his inner child when he reported on the first meeting of the new skateboard club at a Road Town school. Skate culture was a dominant social force throughout his childhood and young adulthood, so it was a real hit of nostalgia to see a group of kids push around the school’s smooth basketball court as they became accustomed to the feel of the board. It was encouraging, too, to see how many girls were getting in on the fun. When the Beaconite was a kid, hardly any girls skated the local parks, and those who did unfortunately were often treated as oddities, if not as outright nuisances. He is happy to report that he saw no such thing during Monday’s skate session. Though the Beaconite was chiefly there to work on an upcoming feature about the small but potentially growing skateboard community in the Virgin Islands, he could only resist for so long before putting down his notepad and camera and picking up a skateboard, his first time in roughly two years. He was relieved to have enough muscle memory to cycle through his limited bag of tricks, and even more relieved that skating around a flat surface with a few friends on a hot day was just as fun on Monday as it was 20 years ago.
Bumps in the road
A Beaconite who lives in West End always takes the flat to get into town. On her way there, she’s grown accustomed to every turn and speedbump along the way. She’s also familiarised herself with the potholes on the road, as if they were people who have taken up permanent residence in spots she tries to avoid so as to not encroach upon personal space. When she sees any potholes patched up, she often feels as though that pothole has moved away forever, onto a better and more promising life. If she sees a new pothole, she welcomes it to the area. “Oh, you’re new here! Welcome!” It becomes a new friend that she’ll always pay mind to while travelling. Though she fears for her car’s shock system every day and remains vigilant in ensuring its long life, interacting with the shockingly bad roads in a humorous way helps her keep her wits. Well, mostly…