YCLA year in review: Recipient Garth Arch

Garth Arch, managing director of Arch and Godfrey, talks about becoming the 2012 Young Caymanian Leadership Award recipient. 

It has been a long and inspiring year for Garth Arch, since he accepted the 2012 YCLA at the glitzy surrounds of the Ritz-Carlton gala last May.  

Within the first couple of weeks of receiving the award, Arch spoke at a dozen high schools during graduation season and was the guest speaker at the annual Junior Achievement Awards. Throughout the year he has attended over 50 speaking engagements in his role as YCLA Recipient.  

“I hit the ground running, with a goal of trying to have a positive influence and share my own experiences to help build character amongst the young”, Arch said. That was the first of more than 40 speaking engagements at which he spoke in front of more than 3,000 people, mainly children. 

“The opportunity has been a real honour and a meaningful experience which is part of what makes it so special, what you do for the YCLA organisation, because you are afforded the opportunity to be an inspiration and to have a positive influence and impact on the lives of the people you come in contact with,” he said. 

Professionally, Garth has transitioned from his role as general manager of National Concrete where he has served for over six years, to follow in his father’s footsteps as the fifth generation of builders as Managing Director of Arch and Godfrey. He has managed this while fulfilling a busy diary of engagements in his role as YCLA Recipient and charter member of the Young Caymanian Speakers Bureau, a new initiative of the Young Caymanian Leadership Foundation, which is set to launch later this month. 



Arch wrote his own speeches throughout the year, delivering messages of personal development, strength of character and leadership. Arch acknowledges that the example of others has had a profound meaning in his own life and he attributes his success as a leader to the influence of his father, Heber Arch. 

“The example my father has set me has deeply inspired me to become a man of faith, to pursue excellence and to be compassionate towards others”, he said. 

Arch has met with over 2,000 children to share his leadership message on the YCLF’s behalf. “When you lead by example others see that you are consistent in your actions, by doing what is right, just and honourable and they are motivated to emulate that example. Leading by example has the potential to start a chain reaction that can inspire and change lives and impact our community in significant ways.” 



He admits it is difficult to pick one moment that stands out as a single highlight of his year at the 2012 YCLA Recipient, though top remembrances of the year include the Foundation’s annual visit to meet with students in Cayman Brac. 

Arch travelled to the Brac earlier this year on behalf of the YCLF to interview Melanie Scott, Senior Teacher at Creek and Spot Bay Primary School and 2013 YCLA Finalist. “Mel’s students set me really challenging questions. It was surprising and inspiring to meet such intuitive young minds”.  

Amongst questions posed by this group of primary school students were,” How do you become an achieved Caymanian?” “Have you ever felt in doubt of your dreams?” “What was the world like when you were a kid?” and “How have you sacrificed”. While there, Arch and Foundation Coordinator Melissa Wolfe visited Layman E. Scott Senior High School, Creek & Spot Bay Junior School, Creek & Spot Bay Infant School and West End Primary. 


Speakers Bureau  

Arch’s work with the YCLA doesn’t stop at the end of this year’s reign as Recipient. He will play an important role in mentoring his successor, Director of Tourism, Shomari Scott, on top of which he has committed along with fellow YCLA Alumni to become a charter member of the Young Caymanian Speakers Bureau. In response to the crisis facing Cayman’s youth, the YCLF has developed a vision that will endeavour to shift the direction of youth culture in the Islands by amplifying the voices of its alumni, past finalists and recipients from the 13 years of the award programme.  

“Over the 20 weeks of our leadership campaign, each member of the bureau will be invited to share their personal stories of accomplishment and what they view are the positive experiences and influnces that have shaped their lives and led to them becoming recognized as model citizens,” explained Foundation Director Jackie Hansen. 


2013 Awards  

Arch gave a moving address at this year’s televised ceremony shortly before he passed the baton to 2013 Recipient, Shomari Scott, director of Tourism. Arch reflected on this year’s Awards theme, offering the following advice to the audience, “We are reminded that each day every one of us has the opportunity to be the difference in our homes, at school, at work and in the community. If each one of us chooses to be that difference, a difference will be made in our Islands. We should be the difference now in compassion, love, humility, courage, selflessness, kindness and integrity.”