Discipline, respect, brotherhood, and adherence to norms and values are the pillars of Aaron's growth. Growing up in a scouting family and attending cultural festivals and local events from a young age, these cultural rhythms became part of his being. It's these rhythms, along with his high values and norms, that make his willingness to work for promoting, caring for, and growing our culture in various ways make him a perfect VOICE OF OUR LAND.

Aaron Arenas (22) is an International Business student at The Hague University of Applied Sciences, living in Rotterdam but born and raised in Aruba. His childhood in the Tanki Leendert neighborhood and active participation in sports and the Scout Group Ora Ubao laid the foundation for his personal and professional development. "I learned to appreciate the value of my culture and the importance of contributing to my community," says Aaron. Raised in a multicultural environment, with an Aruban mother and Colombian father, Aaron grew up appreciating cultural diversity. "My family and the experiences I had as a youth have inspired me to pursue big dreams, not just here in Aruba but also internationally." Aaron's life motto, inspired by Robert Baden-Powell, "Leave the world better than you found it," is his guide through his aspirations and achievements.

From the age of 11, Aaron demonstrated a deep passion for volunteer service, a trajectory that led him to receive significant recognition in his community and beyond. His extensive involvement with the Scout Group Ora Ubao and active participation in various community projects such as Aruba Doet and Fiesta Rotaria demonstrates his commitment to improving his native island. "I started with volunteer work from a young age, and each experience has helped shape who I am today," Aaron reflects. His dedication was recognized with nominations for Youth Power in the category of Volunteer Work and later, Volunteer of the Year, achievements that solidified his place in the Commission Promove Cultura, where he helps organize the Festival Un Canto pa Aruba.

The unconditional support of his family and mentors inspired him to accept new challenges, lead the festival, and contribute to the cultural enrichment of Aruba. "In 2017, Ray-anne Hernandez and Jo-anne Croes approached me to join CPC. I've always gone to the festival to support friends and family who were participating, whether musically or as singers. The opportunities for leadership and personal development I've had so far have laid the foundation for me to continue to push myself and inspire other young people." His contributions have opened doors to more opportunities, including his role in the Royal Carnival Group and his recognition with the "Governor Felipe B. Tromp 2022 Stimulus Award." Aaron's message is clear: the potential of Aruba's youth is immense, and he is dedicated to showing the world exactly that.

A significant chapter in his professional career was certainly serving as a protocol officer for the Government of Aruba under the guidance of John John Flemming. "The opportunity to work closely with the Prime Minister and contribute to the Royal Visit 2023 opened my eyes to the importance of cooperation and dedication in the public sector," Aaron reflects. "I believe politics in Aruba is slowly changing and innovating, yet it's still not attractive enough for the youth to get involved. Politics remains a bit elusive in Aruba, and for this reason, many youths are not interested. And if politics is something for me in the future, I believe running for a political list is a 'NO'. However, I wish to always be involved in Aruban politics."

During the celebration of Carnival 70, Aaron was seen very active throughout the season, but in reality, he has been part of SMAC since 2020, working already with Jason Brown and now with Darren van Ommeren. "What I enjoy most is being able to implement innovative ideas, meet with the leaders of carnival groups, the stakeholders, organize events, and ensure the carnival-goers are happy because they make carnival. The most challenging part is that you have to be broad-shouldered to receive all criticism, whether bad or constructive, even from those without a basis and who try to break you. But when you work as a team, and work with a clean conscience, without any malice, everything will be fine. For the last two carnival periods, 69 and 70, together with Darren, Edelysse, and Cherryldine, we managed to get carnival back on its feet. I am always grateful to them for letting me experience this side of carnival."

What do you think are the biggest challenges our carnival faces?

"Carnival has several challenges that we are addressing bit by bit and that can create structure so everyone knows which line to follow. SMAC is a board of 11 members and a volunteer team of 30 young adults and youths. I believe that with more volunteers, younger people, new ideas, and innovation, we can improve all the challenges that SMAC faces. Solutions are easy to propose, but at the end of the day, you need the support and backing of the groups participating in carnival. We must remember that Carnival is life, a celebration, and we must always keep this spirit alive!"

Is the position of president of SMAC something you aspire to?

"Being president for 2 years doesn't allow much to fix all the challenges. If the statute could be changed so a president could serve for 5 years, I dare say that it's a job I wouldn't just dismiss."

Aaron is currently in an exciting phase of his life as a student of International Business at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. He is fascinated by the sophistication, modernization, and innovation he encounters in the Netherlands, aspects that contribute significantly to his personal and professional development. He seizes every opportunity to expand his network and immerse himself in the world of entertainment and event organization. "We need to convince more young people not to be afraid. When you set a goal, do everything to achieve it. Everything I have achieved so far is thanks to the solid foundation my family and my community have given me."

"Don't be afraid and always say thank you. We must demonstrate that young people can also make a difference, and gradually, the youth will take over. We are the future of tomorrow!"