This is how it is done: Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, and other officials looking on as??this??young footballer shows off??his skills at the Melbourne Cricket Club.

A record number of children are currently participating in this year’s Government National Summer Camp Programme.

That is the word from Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, who disclosed that???? 9,823 campers are attending the 62 camps across the island. He made the comments today after touring camps at Hindsbury Primary School, Melbourne Cricket Club, Ellerton Special Unit and Foundation School.

Mr. Lashley stated: "We are poised to have a very successful camp this year. There have been a few concerns, but they have been addressed. We had a few security issues in some of the camps, and where those issues have arisen, we have deployed additional security…

"There is good response [to the programme] and I think the parents are very pleased…?? The programme is bigger than last year and each year we will continue to look at the content and revise it to make sure it is interesting, and offers fun and excitement.

A child shall lead them all: Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, receiving some craft tips from Tyra Roberts (centre) and Asondre Alleyne at the Hindsbury Primary School Camp.

The Minister underscored the importance of the summer camp programme, noting that it relieved parents of the trauma associated with going to work, but not knowing who would take care of their children and how they would spend their time.

"In addition, the camp programme creates some employment, albeit on a short-term period, that is, six weeks … Just about 1,080 persons are employed in the

National Summer Camp Programme 62 directors, 62 assistant directors, 822 camp assistants and we have introduced cleaners this year for the individual camps… We also have approximately 65 small businesses (caterers) working with the programme," he pointed out.

However, Mr. Lashley wants the various business houses in the communities where the camps are located to support them in tangible ways; and he stressed that he would be working to garner that commitment for next year.

The Minister promised that more specialist camps would be introduced next year, so as to give young people an opportunity to hone their skills. "I had a meeting recently with an NBA player and we are planning to have a special basketball camp next year. He is keen on partnering with the Ministry to deliver the camp and we are looking forward to it," he stated.

Meanwhile, there will be a cultural competition for campers on August 6 at the Gymnasium and a sports competition on August 10 at the National Stadium.

Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley,??getting comfortable??with the drums at Foundation School, while some of the campers back him up, or look on.

Flowers for you, Sir: Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, admiring a floral arrangement??at the Ellerton Special Unit,??while (from left) Christina Riley, Janae Clarke, Rosie Murray, and Camp Director, Donna Holder look on.

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