A group of 18 young men between the ages of 13 and 16 who are under the supervision of probation officers and accountable to the Juvenile Court spent the Easter vacation learning the necessary skills to enable them to think first before acting.
They participated in the ASMAN (Acquiring Skills Men Actually Need) Programme, funded by UNICEF, between April 1 and 12. It aimed to reinforce what was taught during individual supervision/counselling sessions with probation officers. It also sought to equip charges with additional knowledge about offending and, in particular, the consequences of offending.
Additionally, the programme sought to expose the participants to new skills, which may be substituted for less desirable activities, to provide them with an opportunity to discover and tap into their strengths and to see the world through different lenses.
The campers participated in a number of activities including sports, tours, learning how to swim, and a weekend away from their homes.
They interacted with recovering addicts at the Verdun House, Drug Rehab Centre and drug counsellor Peter Lorde, who allowed them the privilege of participating in a profound and enlightening drug education session with inmates while on tour at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP).
Probation Officer Sandra Green gave a programme overview at the graduation ceremony which took place at the Young Men’s Christian Association, Pinfold Street, The City, today. She noted that the selected facilitators were intentionally predominantly male and aimed to create a space for men to mentor, support and share with young men ways that can help them move forward with purpose.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Charles Piggott, encouraged the young men to nurture the new skills they have learned, and to invest time and effort in developing them.
Piggott told them that they should also avoid risky behaviours like promiscuous sex and drug taking.
“These are destructive habits which will ruin and destroy your life. Rather, find things that you are passionate about and will contribute to the development of your character – be it sports, learning to play a musical instrument, the arts or maybe it could be a profession such as a doctor or lawyer,” the deputy permanent secretary urged.
UNICEF’s Programme Assistant Reisha Husbands told the graduands that completing the programme does not end at the graduation ceremony. She encouraged them to embrace all that they have learned over the few weeks and to become agents of positive change within their homes and communities.
Several awards were handed out at the ceremony, but it was Ashe Atwell who copped the top award. For his excellent performance and exemplary behaviour during the camp, Atwell was awarded the 2019 Spirit of ASMAN Camp Award. (AH)