By: Arabieu Bah
As Liberia struggles to build the next generation of model citizens, sports have been identified as one of the fastest mediums for young people to cultivate a sense of purpose and attachment to community and amiably bond with others from different backgrounds.
An industrious and visionary Liberian Sylvester Browne in the Baptist Seminary, Cotton Tree Community is making positive impact in the lives of young people in his community through sports. Mr. Browne regularly organizes community tournament for youths in the Cotton Tree Community to keep them active and reinforce the sense of belonging to a community.
When interviewed by Employ-Liberia, Mr. Browne disclosed that he normally hosts tournaments for adults in the community and it has been going smoothly. “With the sense of being left out, the kids in the community reached out to me and asked – we always see you hosting tournaments for adults and old-timers, when will you host such activities for us too”?” he said.
Browne said the kids informed him that they too had talents and wanted to be a part of the tournament. “I was inspired by their concerns and at the end of the conversation I promised them a tournament” he said.
Fast forward, Browne last week organized a 2-day tournament for kids under age sixteen (16) in the community as promised. The winners of the 2-day tournament walked away with handsome prizes but most importantly, “I saw the burning urge in them to be in a fraternity that teaches them not only about football and kickball but they wanted to learn about civic duties to their communities and country and all of them are eager to achieving some form of formal educational credentials”. Said Browne.
He noted that he has come to fathom that kids in the Cotton Tree Community and other communities in Liberia always roam around without doing anything that will enhance their upbringing. Based on this, he opined that it is expedient to get those kids involve into activities that will enlighten their minds and make them productive citizens of the motherland. He intoned that children love sports, so getting them fully involve into sports is the best way to decimate delinquency and other rowdy behaviors.
Mr. Browne conveyed that at beginning of the school year he organized a jamboree where kids displayed their creative talents through drama performance, singing and dancing. “The kids love this and were gratified” he revealed.
Mr. Browne said he plans to develop other youthful programs that will aid in helping children in the Cotton Tree Community attain the pleasure of childhood. His primary goal is to establish a sporting academy. An academy he divulged will be a sanctuary where young people will be revived. He said when children are not given the requisite things to play with, they go out to find alternative by engaging in drug abuse and other unkindly behaviors.
Mr. Sylvester Browne advised the young folks to focus on their education because had it not been his seriousness towards his education, he wouldn’t have stood before them to speak and host a tournament. He said during his early days, he was respectful and very patient minded so no level of peer pressure could have strayed him from the rightful path. Mr. Browne told them to exhibit similar traits and forge ahead in their lifelong journey.
He said when he started organizing the tournaments, people said he has a political ambition but he told them that he’s very comfortable and he doesn’t need to be a politician to help people. It is the responsibility of everyone to give back to society “so I am playing my part” he voiced.
Browne said through sporting activities, the kids mingle with good friends and share fun and it is helping them establish unity and lifelong friendship. At the end of the tournament, teams comprising 45 males and 45 females were formed. 15 boys and 15 girls representing each block in the Cotton Tree Community.