With about $1.6 million less this year for summer camps, Minister of Youth Stephen Lashley is promising that they will still deliver a strong six-week programme for the island’s youth.
Announcing this morning that this year Government was dedicated $3 million to the National Summer Camp programme, Lashley said there would be 59 camps, with eight allocated for cultural development and four sports development.
Last year, the minister said they had allocated about $4.6 million to the camps, adding that this year they were “building in some resilience” to be able to better manage the decreased allotment, while maintaining a similar programme.
The cut-off point for entry forms is June 28, with parents being asked to collect forms from any of the summer camp locations, which are usually held in the island’s schools. Specialty camps for culture will be held at Gordon Greenidge Primary, Bay Primary, Parkinson Memorial Secondary, St. Christopher Primary, Princess Margaret Secondary, St. Jude’s Primary, St. Martin’s Mangrove and St. Leonard’s Boys.
Sports camps, for 13- to 15-year-olds, will be at Christ Church Foundation School, Parkinson School, Ellerslie Secondary and Alexandra School, while the lone camp for disabled students will be at the Ann Hill School. The Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme’s Junior Entrepreneurship camp will be at Queen’s College, and agencies including the Pan African Commission, the Science and Technology Department, the Future Centre Trust, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Association and the National Council on Substance Abuse among others.
Lashley said last year they hosted about 12,000 youth in the camps and were looking for a similar number this year.
“We have taken a very direct decision, not only this year but before to ensure that while our charges are within the six-week camp programme that they are involved in meaningful activity, that at the end they can relate to a number of deliverables and that the outcomes are ones that are instructive to them.
“So there is a curriculum for the camp programme and some of the broad areas that the camp programme will be looking at in terms of the curriculum include sports, digital media, culture and arts, science is a very critical part of that; religious education and child evangelism, there are reading programmes, disciplinary training, entrepreneurship, hikes and site visits of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison, agriculture as well and the very important area of core value training,” he said.
The Future Centre Trust had also joined with them to add a “new dynamic” to the summer camps — that of recycling, which the minister said was hoped would encourage a new way of thinking about separation and waste disposal among young people.
While the speciality camps, Lashley said, would take fewer students than the traditional camps, he expressed the hope that in time to come they would be able to expand them as well. (LB)