There are plans afoot to take Government’s National Camp Programme to a higher plain next year, with more specialised summer camps in the offing.

That’s the word from Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Stephen Lashley, who disclosed that most of the camps would be linked to the country’s developmental strategy.

While addressing the opening ceremony of the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme’s (YES) Camp Enterprise yesterday at Queen’s College, Mr. Lashley stressed that government would broaden its economic base by involving young people early in the area of commerce.?????? ??

"Entrepreneurship is one of the key areas that we have been focusing on … This is not by chance, because the Government’s focus, particularly in our medium economic growth strategy, is to broaden our economic base and by doing that, we want to get into the heads of our young people the importance of involving themselves in entrepreneurial activity," he told the gathering of over 80 campers.

Government’s $2.5 million National Camp Programme started yesterday with close to 9,000 children in over 62 camps and the Minister expects this number to grow during the week.

Mr. Lashley urged the teenagers to look at business prospects that had a "demand pull" and that would be relevant to the island over the next 10 years. He told them that their role in the economic development of the island was crucial and not to be scoffed at. "Unless you apply yourself and demand a stake and a foothold in terms of the economic pie of Barbados, you will find it more difficult because we are in an environment that is becoming more and more competitive," he advised.

He said the notion of "how can I get a job" had to change to "what business can I develop" and "how many people can I employ in my own business…"

"That is the kind of mindset that we have to get to in Barbados and we don’t have a lot of time to do it… We are not too small to think that we can begin now to plan an agenda based on taking over part of the world, in terms of enterprise, commerce and innovation and I want us to begin to think this way …There are small economies like Singapore and others that have shown that size is no hindrance to economic power," Mr. Lashley asserted. ????????????????????

Manager of YES, Selma Green, described the camp as critical to her organisation’s programming, pointing out that the participants would be engaged in wholesome, stimulating and educational activities over the next four weeks. She assured the young people that they would develop much needed life and business management skills.

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