Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley (right) and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner (second from right), admiring the craft while (from left) Assistant Director at A. Dacosta Edwards, Angela Worrell; Mobilisation Officer for the North, Brenda Robinson;??Director of Youth, Cleviston Hunte, and??Deputy Permanent Secretary, Tennyson Springer, (partly hidden)??look on. (R. Jn-Pierre)??
Minister of Family, Stephen Lashley, believes the $4.1 million allocated for this year’s National Summer Camp Programme "is money very well spent".
He made the comments to the media today after touring summer camps at Holy Innocents School in St. Thomas, St. Lucy Primary School and A. Dacosta Edwards in St. Andrew.
Mr. Lashley said: "In fact, if we were not to have the camp programme, I believe we would probably be spending much more money trying to deal with all the other issues that will result with our children being left unattended and all the other negatives that would result… Without the National Summer Camp Programme the question is, what would these children be doing during this very long summer period?
"I think we have a very positive programme and my visit to the camps this morning established that… The camp programme is not just creating fun for our kids. It is a developmental environment that we create where we bring our children from all over Barbados and actually put them into productive activities right in their communities."
The Minister stressed that the camp programme provided much needed employment to a number of small entrepreneurs. "The caterers, each of the camp assistants and the directors are also paid… I think people should rejoice at the fact that persons are employed in productive and meaningful activity," he stated.
Mr. Lashley explained that this year’s programme was being reinforced by what was set out in the National Youth Policy, which highlights the need to teach wholesome values and empower young people to think about the future development of Barbados. "So, we use our camp programme as an opportunity to reinforce values. And, as you can see from the curriculum, many of those children who are in secondary school or going into secondary school get some very meaningful reinforcement so that when they go back into their classroom they are better able to hit the ground running," he pointed out.
|Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, helps??Amara Drakes??plait strings while Sharita Forte??looks on.????(C. Pitt/BGIS)??|
Mr. Lashley said he was pleased with the campers’ high level of creativity and praised the camp counsellors, directors and volunteers for working with the children and passing on much needed skills.
"We are into Week Four and we are seeing quite a high level of activity in terms of dramatic presentations, oral reinforcement of English and Mathematics skills and the fun element as they prepare for the zonal concerts. We are on track to having a very good camp programme this year," he asserted.
Approximately 10,200 campers are attending the 69 camps of the programme, which will end on Friday, August 17.