Montego Bay Boys and Girls Club celebrates 76 years - Institution aims to keep guiding city's youth
Montego Bay Boys and Girls' Club on Saturday celebrated its 76th anniversary with a homecoming reunion with the aim to 'bring back' MoBay through music and sports.
The club has produced some of Jamaica's finest sportsmen and women, including former Reggae Boyz Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore and Aaron 'Wild Boy' Lawrence.
"For me, growing up at Barracks Road in Montego Bay and to come out of a community we called Broad Yard, it's Boys and Girls' Club that helped me. If we can help other youngsters to come out through music and sports, it is something special for Montego Bay and western Jamaica," said Lawrence, who is also the head coach of the national male Under-15 team.
"Montego Bay Boys and Girls' Club is one of the institutions that made me into what I am today in terms of discipline, motivation and all those things from a tender age started there. I realise that they are trying to bring back the club to where it was, and I'm 110 per cent in support of that," said Whitmore, who is now head coach of the Reggae Boyz.
Club leader David Earle, the oldest living member, believes that given the facilities and opportunities available, the present youth should be doing better.
"One of the things about the club of old was our discipline. These youths are different. They have more opportunity, especially educational-wise, but ... I remember in the '50s, we had five members, including Professor Rex Nettleford, that the club gave scholarships to go Cornwall (College). They all did well, and two of them went on to Oxford University. However, these present youths, what they are wise in is the phone, and when you talk to them, they don't hear," said Earle.
The club has produced world-class musicians who have played with local stars like Third World and Jimmy Cliff and athletes who have gone on to represent the country in sports like football and table tennis.
Past club member and medical doctor in the Cayman Islands Verley Campbell is excited about the initiative, which will see the club continue the make MoBay and Jamaica at large a better place.
"What we are trying to do is to get a diaspora together to assist with keeping the club running. We want to continue as a great club and a beacon for Montego Bay," said Campbell.