This past week (February 20), the GC Foster College of Physical Education & Sport, opened its Sport and Recreation Museum and held its inaugural Sport Symposium. For a 30-odd year old institution it is a significant stride to make for the College’s overall development and subsequent progress.
What was evident in the two-day event was the integration of its management and staff, playing the role of moderator, presenter, lead coordinator, hosting along with the entire college population getting an opportunity to rub shoulders with the leaders of Jamaica’s sporting industry. What was even more significant was the opportunity to hear former Prime Minister, the Most Honourable P.J. Patterson, speak about a dream come true.
The GC Foster story is largely untold, but as the programme and mandate of the institution are being executed, the word has to get out.
Some facts on the institution reveal that there is at least one trained Physical Education trained teacher from that College in almost every secondary school in the island. It has been contributing to Caribbean Physical Education teacher development since the mid 1980s, training teachers from St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Vincent & the Grenadine & Antigua along with Jamaica. The College boasts some of the top technical experts in the field of football, cricket, basketball and track and field. The programmes which are key to supporting the potentially large sporting industry are growing – Massage Therapy, Coaching, Sport Management, to name a few.
The museum however, has tremendous potential and if managed can propel the College’s stocks exponentially. Museums are attractions. Museums are historical sites. Museums are a great way to relive history. Those are valuable in the world today and should be marketed as such.
The donation by retired and elite West Indies cricket umpire, Hon. Steve Bucknor, is just one way of indicating the significance of a museum which can eventually create a package deal for Bucknor and his impact on cricket from an umpire’s perspective. The fact that his daughter, Shari, now attends the institution is an indication of the continuity of his story and may serve to change a few lives. That is progress.
On the development side though, is the potential for GC Foster to be a college town in St. Catherine, helping to reposition the first capital as a monument town, where we attract patrons from home and abroad to recapture the wonderful story that town has. Housing, manufacturing, entertainment and sporting activities can be reactivated. The linkages to the overall community development are to be explored.
So the partnership has to be fostered and GC Foster College stands out as the place to make it happen. While the Parish Council & Chamber of Commerce have teams in place already handling Spanish Town as a Project; they should now move to seek to involve the College family as part of the dialogue going forward and refocus its attention on implementing plans for the further progress of Angels, Spanish Town.
The opportunities are always endless, but it requires the will to make it happen. Let’s change the game and make this happen!