Event: Eighty students from 20 dzongkhags are in the capital today to compete for the prestigious Golden Youth title.

They will be undergoing leadership training activities and programmes, exchange ideas and perspectives on issues affecting their lives in their community among other activities held during the camp.

Organised by the Bhutan Youth Development Fund (YDF), the weeklong Golden Youth Award camp started from July 3.

Programme coordinator, Roma Pradhan, said these students are among the brightest students selected and nominated by their teachers and dzongkhag officials.

“It’s special this year since we are celebrating the ten years of the Golden Youth Award. It could not have come at a better time, for it coincides with the birth of His Royal Highness The Gyalsey. The award is dedicated to The Gyalsey,” Roma Pradhan said.

Every year, 80 students are selected from all the dzongkhags to compete for the title. The winner of the Golden Youth Award receives a scholarship from the YDF. So far, five students have availed scholarships to study at the United World Colleges across the Netherlands and Canada.

Every year, one student from class X is awarded the title of the ‘Golden Youth of the Year’ after a series of local and national competitions and is later awarded the scholarship programme.

“Through the camp, we are hoping to motivate youth to be hard working, responsible and excel in both academic and co-curricular activities. We reward the most outstanding youth,” Roma Pradhan said.

The students will be judged in terms of their academic excellence, literary and general knowledge, IQ, essay writing and extempore, games and sports, and social services, among others.

A participant from Radhi Middle Secondary School from Trashigang, Dechen Wangmo, 15, said she is anxious of the coming days being surrounded with the best competitors.

“More than the title, I’m looking forward to gaining new knowledge and making life-long friendships during the camp,” Dechen Wangmo said. “The sessions are interesting. I will give my best shot to win the prestigious title and make my school proud.”

The winner of last year’s Golden Youth Award, Karma Choki, who will be studying in UWC South East Asia in Singapore, advised the students not to panic but enjoy the activities and make the most of it.

“When I initially joined the camp, I didn’t have any thoughts of winning but I gave my best shot. This camp changed my life and I hope to give back by being a good example and represent my country there,” Karma Choki said. “I wish all the students the best of luck.”

The event was initiated in 2005 to commemorate the 50th birth anniversary of His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo. The first camp was organised by YDF in 2008.

Thinley Zangmo