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VOLUNTEERS IMPROVE CULTURAL HERITAGE TRAIL IN THE BAHAMAS

The Bahamas is a country consisting of more than 3,000 islands, cays and islets and is rich in historical significance.  Around 200 members of Florida's Black Seminoles escaped and relocated to Andros Island in the 1600s.  The Black Seminoles adapted to their new surroundings and began to shape a new cultural identity.  Andros Island's African diaspora history is conveyed through landmarks, monuments, and artistic expressions.  Veronica Owens, the Director of the Andros Cultural Heritage Trail, requested technical assistance from FAVACA to create cultural and heritage trails to raise awareness of the island's historical significance.  From June 10-13, 2012 Althemese Barnes, Executive Director and Founder of the John G. Riley Museum of American History and Culture, Anthony Dixon, Director of the Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network, and Marion McGee, Assistant Director for the John G. Riley Museum of American History and Culture traveled to the Bahamas to discuss support for cultural heritage trails and promotion of economic development through protection of intellectual and cultural heritage rights of local artisans and establishment of an Andros Chamber of Commerce.  The FAVACA volunteers were interviewed on a local radio station, 107.5 Peace, on the efforts of the Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network to create a model for cultural preservation and heritage tourism between Florida and the Caribbean with Andros Island as the first location along the Caribbean corridor.  They met with local partners including the Manager of Tourism and Partnership Development in Andros and Northern Andros Regional Representatives, among others to introduce them to issues and concepts to improve linkages to the Black Heritage Trail.  The volunteers visited and provided site assessments of Morgan's Bluff, Charley's Blue Hole and Red Bays and recommended the Andros Cultural Heritage Trail complete a strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats analysis.  The volunteers highly endorsed expanding the Black Heritage Trail on the island, which would not only bolster the cultural significance of Andros Island, but also simultaneously promote tourism on the
island.

BAHAMAS YOUTH LEARN ENTREPRENEURISM SKILLS

Young people around the world have been disproportionately affected by the global economic crisis.  Nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than in the Caribbean. In the Bahamas the youth unemployment rate is a shocking 34% - compared to 14% unemployed youth globally. Firms in the Caribbean cite a shortage of skilled labor as the number one constraint to increasing economic growth and competitiveness. Yet few on-the-job training opportunities exist and the lack of start-up capital and knowledge prevents most young men and women from setting up enterprises.  The Caribbean Group of Youth Business Trusts was established to provide underserved young people in the Caribbean with programs focused on business mentoring, start-up loans and entrepreneurial skills.  In order to consolidate youth entrepreneurship efforts in the Bahamas and the region, the Caribbean Group of Youth Business Trusts together with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) convened the "Partnership Symposium: A Workshop for Stakeholders Building Entrepreneurship" in Nassau, Bahamas.  CARICOM and the Caribbean Group of Youth Business Trusts requested the assistance of FAVACA to provide an expert to present and facilitate discussions on building strategic partnerships and a culture of successful youth entrepreneurs.  Larry Strain, Director of the Small Business Development Center at the University of West Florida was selected based on his business analysis skills.  Strain traveled to Nassau, Bahamas June 6-12, 2012 to present at the Symposium and facilitate discussions among the 50 symposium participants.  Strain also traveled to the island of Abaco to meet with the island's Administrator, the Chamber of Commerce, and youth entrepreneurs.  During the remainder of Strain's stay in Nassau, he guided two additional workshops for young entrepreneurs at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture on entrepreneurial best practices and bolstering sales in the current economy and visited the Bahamian Straw Market to interact with local entrepreneurs.

NATIONAL HERITAGE PARK ESTABLISHED IN THE BAHAMAS

Dr. Keith Tinker of the Bahamas Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation (AMMC) is the principal heritage conservation agency in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. It is committed to the preservation, interpretation and promotion of nation monuments, historical sites, museums, artifacts and eco-facts, which acquire national importance, and inspire public interest by reason of their historical, archaeological, anthropological and/or paleontological significance. The National Museum of the Bahamas is opening a new exhibit on the discovery of the Americas and sought training from FAVACA experts in park and exhibit planning. November 10-14, 2009, Lee and Marvin Cook from Wilderness Graphics trained the AMMC staff on the renovation of the Collins House for use as the central museum for the Bahamas. Further consultations were provided to local constituents on Grand Bahamas and New Providence for developing heritage programs and venue developments as adjunct exhibition sites for the National Museum while also training AMMC maintenance staff in care and repair of exhibits at Fort Fincastle and Fort Charlotte. Additionally, Lee and Marvin Cook and longtime FAVACA volunteer and heritage planner Jim Miller travel to San Salvador, Bahamas to assist AMMC staff in the creation of a conceptual plan for the Columbus Landfall National Heritage Park. Upon creation in 2011 a monument will be erected commemorating Columbus's arrival to the Bahamas. Once completed, the park hopes to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

THE BAHAMAS RESPONDS TO EMERGENCIES AND DISASTERS

The Bahamas Responds to Emergencies and Disasters Hurricane Ike passed through the Bahamas in August 2008 and caused millions of dollars worth of damage to the infrastructure of the islands as well as a great deal of physical damage to the local population. The National Emergency Medical Service, which provides all emergency services in the Bahamas, contacted FAVACA to help train emergency personnel on new techniques to drive emergency vehicles during times of disaster as well as methods to evacuate people from an emergency situation in Grand Bahamas and New Providence. Former FAVACA Volunteer of the Year Captain Wayne Watts, a captain from Jacksonville Fire and Rescue, agreed to provide the requested training. Watts has provided similar trainings in the past several years but this training expanded on previous trainings by focusing on emergency rescue driving during times of national emergencies. Watts traveled to Nassau, Bahamas to train 10 emergency service personnel and provided the same training to 15 emergency service personnel in Freeport, Bahamas. Watts traveled to the Bahamas from November 25- December 1, 2008.

RUM CAY STUDENTS DOCUMENT THE CULTURAL HISTORY OF THE ISLAND

The Caribbean is known for its beautiful beaches, lush vegetation, and relaxing atmosphere which draws tourist from around the world. However with number of tourist ever increasing, the islands have begun to escalate the amount of development projects in order to capture more and more of the tourism market. With expansive development projects, often times mean the loss of components of the islands heritage and local histories.

Keith Tinker, Director of the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation (AMMC) requested assistance from FAVACA in documentation of heritage resources of the island. Joy and Kelley Scudder of Cultural Resource Solutions, LLC., traveled to Rum Cay, Bahamas from June 2-6, 2008 in order to explore ways in which members of the community could develop and implement heritage management initiatives. Kelly and Joy Scudder interviewed several elder residents within the community resulting in an oral history synopsis of economic, social, political and cultural changes that have taken place on the island.

The Scudders also conducted a workshop on the collection of oral histories for student of Rum Cay All Ages School. Students were provided with Ethnographic Collection Kits and learned how to collect oral histories from family members and neighbors. Students will spend their summer, collecting stories of the lives of elder residents to ensure that their histories will be heard for generations to come. While in Nassau the Scudders facilitated the first meeting of heritage program management officials from the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and the United States. Keith Tinker was presented with archival materials from the Julian Granberry collection. These materials will provide invaluable information on archaeological activities that took place on the islands from the 1950's and 60s. Jim Miller, former State of Florida Archaeologist and FAVACA Volunteer alumni, also attended this meeting along with Ethlyn Gibbs-Williams, Executive Director of the Turks and Caicos National Trust.

Although the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos have shared political, economic and cultural histories, limited contact between these nations has hindered the development of cooperative resource management initiatives. The meeting explored various venues in the development of economically viable cultural resource management initiatives. This meeting paved the for a long term relationship between the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, in which resources and knowledge can be shred for years to come.

BAHAMAS RED CROSS RECEIVES SHELTER MANAGEMENT AND DISASTER PLANNING TRAINING

Mrs. Marina Glinton, Director General of the Bahamas Red Cross requested FAVACA's assistance in shelter management and disaster planning and preparedness in light of the frequency in which the region experienced hurricanes. Spencer Hawkins, Deputy Emergency Manager at the Office of Emergency Management of the City of Orlando, Florida, provided training in mass management, prioritizing, and planning for their volunteers. Hawkins traveled March 19-25, 2006 to provide the training to a group of 19 participants. Hawkins has been working in disaster management for over six years, and is currently the Logistics Section Chief, Central Florida Region, for the Department of Homeland Security/FEMA.

BAHAMAS RED CROSS RECEIVES ADVANCED FIRST RESPONDER TRAINING.

The Bahamas Red Cross Director General, Mrs. Marina C. Glinton, requested FAVACA's technical assistance to provide advanced training in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for CPR for Professional Rescuers (CPR-PR), Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and First Aid to Red Cross volunteers. First time volunteer Luiz A. Morizot-Leite, from Miami, traveled to the Bahamas February 5-11, 2006 to provide the training. Morizot-Leite is Ocean Rescue Lifeguard Acting Captain at Miami-Dade County Fire Department in Haulover Beach. Morizot-Leite holds a Master of Science in Physical Education from Florida International University as well as licenses in Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic. The Bahamas consist of more than 700 islands, 29 of which are inhabited and require 911 emergency services by boat. Morizot-Leite certified 23 trainers each of whom have the goal of training 5 individuals a month in an effort to ready the community to respond to first aid and CPR calls. The Bahama Red Cross members are prepared to effectively train each new member in CPR, AED and First Aid.


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