Feature: NCST Summer Camp Kids Showcase Talents

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Camp Destiny participants Derica Tull, Daniel Archer, Kade Ellis, Kevin Small, Joshua Johnson, Jade Barnett and Dominisc Linton at the closing ceremony.??(N. Hutchinson/BGIS)

"Kids say – and do – the darnedest things", and last Friday afternoon at St. Stephen’s Primary School was no exception, as dozens of children and their counsellors pulled out all the stops to bring down the curtain on the National Council for Science and Technology’s (NCST) Camp Destiny.

Parents, guardians and representatives from the Ministry of Commerce gathered for a presentation from the 40 campers, which highlighted some of the science and technology themes they had explored over the past six weeks.?? There were classrooms which featured displays of various projects and experiments they dabbled with, and demonstrations on matter, energy, science definitions and even a CSI-inspired skit which looked at blood analysis, fingerprinting and toxicology.

Minister of Commerce and Trade, Senator Haynesley Benn, lauded the NCST for putting on this year’s camp and he called on the Council to continue to develop the children’s skills and pique their curiosity.?? He expressed the hope that there would be increased funding for the programme in the future.

The Minister made a special call to the adults in the audience to participate in the annual National Innovation Competition, which is aimed at bringing new and creative ideas to the fore with business potential.

The campers certainly left their mark on the minds of those who viewed the presentation that afternoon; and this was especially true of the instructors who looked on with pride at their students who displayed their passion for science.????

One of the counsellors, Kevin Small, a final year Chemistry and Math major at the University of the West Indies, observed that the children were keen learners and eager participants in the range of activities that the camp offered.

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Campers conducting an experiment.

"The weeks were split into categories – for example, the first week was botany and zoology, while the second was medicine and health.?? During the first week they learned about classification of plants and animals.?? They went on field trips and excursions to collect animals, and examined and labelled them. They collected caterpillars, centipedes, spiders, they had turtles as well; and the children weren’t squeamish at all," Kevin noted with a smile.

Second year medical student and counsellor, Jade Barnett, agreed with her colleague and observed that the camp, which catered to children from ages six to 11, saw the older students undertaking more challenging projects and exercises.

She also noted that science and technology were essential for the development of any country, and observed that, as a nation seeking ???first world’ status, there was a need to place more emphasis on development within the sector and in schools.

When asked about their overall experience at this year’s camp, the two counsellors observed that both students and counsellors learned quite a bit.?? Kevin, who has worked with the camp for the past three years, commented that "handling children is not an easy task, but [they] liked it and we enjoyed ourselves.?? We got to go back to our youthful nature.?? Some of the children surprised us with their knowledge, especially the older ones," he noted.

He added that the potential they had seen over the past month would stand the children in good stead for years to come.

When asked about what he believed to be the camp’s overall purpose, Kevin referred to Camp Destiny as a means "to instil scientific interest in the younger generation…and to [develop] more scientists in our nation". Thanks to the efforts of the NCST, the counsellors, parents and students, they can all say ???mission accomplished’.

nekaelia.hutchinson@barbados.gov.bb

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