Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Service launches national camps


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AS MANY AS 8 500 children are expected to participate in this year’s six-week National Camp Programme which starts on Monday.A church service was held yesterday at the Christ Church Parish Church, Church Hill, Christ Church, to launch the annual programme hosted by the Ministry of Youth, Family and Sports.Minister Stephen Lashley said: “For the past two decades we have seen the decline of the extended family. People are becoming parents at a very early age, grandparents are youthful and are in the workplace, which caused children to be left unsupervised during the vacation period.”He added that Prime Minister David Thompson had called for the establishment of a camp programme that would be free to all participants, and in accordance with that directive the National Camp Programme was established.This year’s programme will run from July 5 to August 13 with 60 camps in four zones. However, some of the locations used last year are now unavailable as a result of refurbishment being undertaken at some schools. Other schools will be used as substitutes, and camps will be held at primary and secondary schools, community centres and police outposts. Lashley explained that camp directors and counsellors were trained in conflict resolution, team building, health and safety, HIV counselling, emergency simulations, and how to cope with challenges if they arose.He added that there was a structured timetable for all camps and there would be a learning-focused, yet fun-filled environment.  There will be presentations from some different sectors within various ministries, such as the HIV/AIDS Commission, the police  and the National Council for Science and Technology.The minister also disclosed that hot lunches would be provided andno vending would be permitted on the camp compounds. Security would be put in place, he said, especially in vulnerable areas such as those where challenges were experienced previously.Canon Austin Carrington also spoke to the campers, urging them to behave well at all times.“Sometimes we face criticism and hate because we do what is good and right,” said Carrington, but he reminded the campers that they should “avoid negative conflict, quarrelling, fighting, and the desire to hurt others, choosing instead to act in peace, helpfulness and forgiveness”. He admonished them to see the good in others, and not to laugh at or tease others.  “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,” said Carrington. (LK)


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