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SDC revamps its Summer Camp Programme

-New-look initiative aims to improve youth engagement and development

 KINGSTON, Jamaica: The Social Development Commission (SDC) has redesigned its Summer Camp Initiative aimed at providing a vibrant platform for youth engagement and development between the months of July and August each year.

The new-look programme, which received a $22.1 million cash injection from the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, was rolled out last year with 87 camps across the fourteen parishes.

The camps were organized through the Community Centre Management Programme – a cornerstone initiative of the SDC – and had approximately 4,356 participants between the ages of 1 to 24 years.

“These Summer Camps go beyond the confines of traditional classroom settings, focusing on activities designed to inspire, educate, and motivate young individuals aged 4 to 21 years,” said SDC’s Public Relations Manager, Mr. Mandel McKulsky.

“The carefully curated lineup includes workshops on conflict resolution, educational enhancement, career guidance, and motivational talks. Additionally, activities promoting personal hygiene, teamwork, stress management, nutrition, fire prevention, and substance abuse prevention are also on the agenda. These camps intend to instill life skills, values, and an understanding of children’s rights and responsibilities, preparing participants for various stages of personal and societal development.”

The objectives of the Summer Camps include enhancing personal character; building confidence; and cultivating skills through cultural and sporting activities.

The camps also provide a comprehensive education component that imparts essential life skills, values, and attitudes for survival.

Added Mr. McKulsky: “by creating an environment that fosters positive relationships between parents and children across generations, the camps contribute to the strengthening of family bonds. Moreover, the camps serve as a platform to generate interest in participatory governance, further promoting the initiatives of the Social Development Commission”.

The success of the initiative is also hinged on the collaboration between the SDC, Community Development Committees (CDCs), Community Centre Management Committees (CCMCs), stakeholders, and political representatives.

There was participation from several agencies to include the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Ministry of Justice (MOJ), National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) as well as the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA).

“Through participation in fun learning activities, attendees developed social and interpersonal skills, as well as improved conflict resolution abilities. These camps also contributed to increased knowledge about human rights education, particularly the Child Care and Protection Act,” Mr. McKulsky explained. “By engaging young people in volunteerism and reducing the number of youths in need of social interventions due to lack of engagement, the programme creates a positive ripple effect in the community.”

The SDC Summer Camp Programme proposes, to not only to create a memorable summer experience, but also to empower a generation to become active contributors to their communities and society at large.