Make them serve
January 8, 2013
I refer to all of the media coverage understandably being given to the proposal to abolish conscription currently relied upon for the effective manning of our Regiment and wish our new Government well in its deliberations. One of the arguments often posed in debating the application of the Regiment is that only our young men are conscripted, but which I agree should also equally apply to our young women if indeed conscription is to perhaps be maintained going forward. Quite obviously many of our young women could equally benefit from a little discipline in the same way that so many of our young men have so positively benefited to date, unless of course they are already positively involved in one of the many other constructively oriented youth services otherwise available.
Arising from the foregoing and the possibility of so many of our youngsters in future perhaps no longer enjoying the very significant benefit of constructive involvement with societys legitimate needs via compulsory service with the Regiment if instead placed solely on a strictly voluntary footing, I respectfully recommend that an alternative of community service for all of our young people not otherwise involved with one of the many youth services available be now considered. Regrettably the very great majority of youngsters, (and especially those who are socially alienated), would never consider voluntarily joining either the Regiment or indeed any of the many similarly positively motivated youth service organisations otherwise available, and whose primary focus is positive character building for our young people. As a consequence, I respectfully suggest the following proposal as a means by which society in general could cause a constructive reorientation of many of those youngsters instead often hell bent on self-destruction. This proposal is as follows:
I most strongly support the creation of a Government sponsored compulsory Youth Service (eg Bermuda Corps) with paid highly principled and trained youth leaders/mentors and involving both girls and boys, on the premise that character training for young people is at least as important as scholastic achievement. Under such a Youth Service every youngster would be obliged to satisfactorily complete a period of community service in the event that they were not already positively completing an alternative approved programme (eg Girl Guides, Scouts, Sea Cadets etc.). This compulsory service would be based upon an Outward Bound type of format also including sail training whereby team building, life skills and positive problem solving would be principal ingredients. Furthermore, its leaders would be entrusted with a community assistance role similar to that of the Bermuda Regiment in the event of a National Emergency. In particular I believe that such a compulsory youth service would automatically:
a. Reduce racism by requiring all youngsters to constructively participate. (Unfortunately the Bermuda Regiment only conscripts/enlists a select few young men, and many are exempted for religious reasons. The Bermuda Corps would conscript everyone not otherwise committed to some form of service.)
b. Reduce drug dependency by creating a self disciplined positive outlook rather than a negative perspective among far too many youngsters, thus reducing their inclination to resort to drugs driven by both peer pressure as well as an inherent sense of worthlessness.
c. Improve support for approved youth groups by those willing to volunteer rather than instead be conscripted into the Bermuda Corps (however, the Bermuda Corps would nevertheless have authority over anyone not satisfactorily conforming to other youth organisations standards if they had joined simply to avoid the Bermuda Corps).
d. Improve work ethic, honesty and a service above self philosophy as a result of positive reorientation of youngsters perspective on life, thus greatly improving the value for money enjoyment of the Bermuda Experience by our tourists.
e. Reduce promiscuity, illegitimacy and advantage taken by the unscrupulous generally because each youngster would be trained to value others both before and as much as themselves.
f. Reduce cycle theft, speeding, mugging, handbag snatching and foul language, etc, because those currently perceived rites of passage would no longer be accepted by their peers as such.
g. Reduce littering and improve attitude generally in relation to the environment because no one who values others before themselves would not similarly value and protect the environment.
In conclusion, if indeed the above proposal can now gain public acceptance via Government adoption going forward, so very many of our currently almost overwhelming trials and tribulations affecting our tiny island home could instead be relegated to the scrap heap of History. Indeed, the very great majority of all of our young people would instead both constructively and positively move forward in unison in the same way that all of that which was so eminently positive with the very best that the Regiment is quite clearly also capable of has so effectively been evidenced to date.
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