The inaugural National Inter-Camp Summer Games at the National Stadium today brought to a close the six-week Camp Odyssey programme of the Ministry of Youth, Family and Sports.
While delivering remarks, Minister of Youth, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, deemed the Games a fitting climax to six weeks of fun and recreation for the children.?? She, however, also admitted that the camp did pose some challenges for the Ministry and camp directors.??
The Minister thanked the Camp Directors, Assistant Directors, Camp Assistants and volunteers for the success of the camps.?? She stated: "We know that there have been ups and downs and some things haven’t worked out as well as we would have liked, but I think all in all, the camps have been a success."????
Dr. Byer Suckoo acknowledged that her Ministry was working to ensure that everyone involved, is paid promptly. "We did fall behind because our department has been processing over 1,000 payments for the summer camps… and one of the things we have identified is that we have to strengthen some areas in order for this camp to be able to be run again. This is the first camp of its kind. The biggest camp that Government has ever run, free to parents…and we want to do this again and we will get better and we will get stronger. We are going to continue to strengthen all [of] our systems to ensure that that can happen," the Minister affirmed.
The Youth Minister also stated that a post mortem meeting would be held shortly with all coordinators to review the programme and to plan for the next camp.
In declaring the Games officially open, wife of Prime Minister David Thompson, Mara Thompson, praised the Ministry, the camps and games’ coordinators for their efforts. ??She further commended the Ministry for incorporating the games into the summer camp programme.
??"They can help to foster and build team spirit and camaraderie. Second, they are a welcomed addition to the camp timetable. Third, and most important to me, it promotes healthy living and healthy lifestyles…?? This summer camp programme has brought new life and meaning to summer holidays – especially for those children whose only other option would have been to stay [at] home and languish before the television, or simply remain idle," she remarked.
The Inter-Camp Games also saw the presentation of special awards of recognition to outstanding Barbadians for community work. Those honoured were:, humanitarian and broadcaster, Dame Olga Lopes Seale; Chairman of the Alexandra School and former Minister of Education, Keith Simmons; former parliamentarian and an early pioneer in community life, Ralph Walker; and the first Chief Community Development Officer, Gordon Walters,.
Zonal Awards were also presented in netball, basketball, cricket, dominoes and field events.
At the close of the games, the Southern Zone emerged as the winners.?? In second place was the Eastern Zone, third place went to the Central Zone and in fourth position was the Northern Zone.