Meet Simon Naidu: The 17-year-old Assistant Secretary

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By Avenash Ramzan

The late American president Franklin Roosevelt coined this phrase many decades ago: We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future. It’s a model that the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club, M.S (RHTY&SC, M.S) has openly embraced, creating an enabling environment for youth to thrive.

On April 30, 2017, Simon Naidu of Hampshire village on the Corentyne celebrated his 17th birthday. He is set to sit six subjects at CSEC in May, but even at his tender age he is already serving as Assistant Secretary of the RHTY&SC, M.S.

“He is proving to be a livewire and inspirational leader at Guyana’s leading youth and sport organisation,” Secretary/CEO of the club, Hilbert Foster, told News Room Sport.

Simon Naidu collects his Worker-of-the-Year prize for 2016 from Ansa McAl Trading’s Managing Director, Troy Cadogan

Simon joined the RHTY&SC, M.S two years ago after initially being a member of the Albion Cricket Club. He stated that joining RHTY&SC, M.S was the best decision he has ever made, as the management of the club motivates members to maximise their potential both on and off the cricket field.

Standing at 5’2”, Simon is the second of six children for his parents Jetindra and Michelle. His father passed away in 2011, leaving his mother to solely provide for the family.

A former student of Rose Hall Primary, Simon is currently enrolled at Lower Corentyne Secondary, the institution that emerged champion of the National Secondary School Cricket League, staged by the Guyana Cricket Board.

Despite his prowess as a left-arm spinner, Simon did not play in the tournament, but did a splendid job as scorer for the school in the nationwide tournament.

Simon, who has a deep passion for cricket, said that under the guidance of RHTY&SC coach, Delbert Hicks, his batting and left-arm spin have improved 100 percent, while his fitness level has also been greatly enhanced.

His greatest impact on the RHTY&SC however, has been his support of Secretary/CEO Foster, who greatly admires Simon’s “visionary thinking, proactive leadership and his ability to think on his feet.”

Less than a month after joining the RHTY&SC, M.S, Simon got involved in being a volunteer in assisting the experienced Secretary and on several occasions was given responsibility of being in charge of the Club Office in the absence of the Secretary.

Simon Naidu (left) with members of the National Secondary School Cricket League champions Lower Corentyne

He was soon actively involved in the planning of major club activities such as the Annual Cricket Academy, Republic Bank Summer Camp, Scotiabank Mash Parade, Beharry Say No/Say Yes Campaign, School Bags project, GUYOIL Traffic Education Campaign, Christmas Village and the club’s massive cricket development programme, which involves dozens of youths.

Confident in Simon’s leadership skills despite his tender age, Foster appointed him the club’s Office Manager, with the club’s assets, especially cricket gear and club records, being in his care.

At the club’s Biennial General Meeting in February 2017, Simon was elected unopposed as the youngest ever executive member of the RHTY&SC, M.S and currently serves as the Assistant Secretary.

The confidence shown in him by the club’s large membership came as a shock to the teenager. While at first he was worried with the responsibility that came with such an appointment, Simon settled in nicely due to the encouragement of senior club members like Foster, Vice-President Mark Papannah, Treasurer and West Indies Women’s cricketer Shemaine Campbelle, Organising Secretary Keith Hicks and Assistant Organising Secretary Robbie Kissoonlall.

Simon disclosed that working along with Foster is a special feeling as he is able to observe first-hand the high level of visionary leadership, organising skills and how to deal with stressful situations and deadlines.

As Assistant Secretary, Simon is directly responsible for organising all club meetings, club assets, club internal records like individual cricket performance, filing of documents, members personal information, club correspondences and the club’s Under-13 and Under-15 cricket teams among other duties as directed by management.

“It’s not anything hard. You just have to be organised and love what you do,” Simon told News Room Sport.

He was recently appointed Manager of the club’s Under-13 team and is currently spearheading preparation of the club’s 2017 magazine by conducting research for the magazine’s Editorial Committee. Simon noted that joining the RHTY&SC, M.S was the best decision of his young life as it has open pathways for him that was hard to imagine a few years ago.

This multi-talented Berbician, who plans on pursuing studies in Plumbing and Electrical Engineering at the New Amsterdam Technical Institute regardless of his CSEC performance, is also a former national Bhajan singing champion.

He won the title at the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha’s Kala Utsav in 2013. Simon was also a much sought-after Bhajan singer at Hindu religious functions, but his demanding duties at the RHTY&SC, M.S, coupled with academic pursuits, has limited his involvement in that area.

Simon currently represents the club at the Under-19 and Second Division levels, and his idols are Foster; Guyana, West Indies and RTHY&SC, M.S batsman Assad Fudadin and England Test batsman Joe Root. 

Simon credits his mother Michelle for the role she has played in his life by being a wonderful single parent, who leads by example. “He is a good child,” his mother told News Room Sport. “He balances the two well (club duties and studies) and I’m happy he’s making a contribution to society in a positive way.”

Indeed, Simon is one youth who is being built for the future.

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