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Haynesley Benn, Minister of Commerce and Trade is impressed by the campers’ projects at this year’s??Camp Destiny, held by the NCST. (A.Miller/BGIS)??

A wonderful experience was had by all at the National Council for Science and Technology’s (NCST) Camp Destiny, which ended last Friday.

This sentiment was shared by camp coordinator and Senior Technical Officer with the NCST, Arlene Weekes, who explained that "…the response has been overwhelming – this is actually the third year that we have hosted a camp in this format and we have had children who have actually come back from the first year". ??

Ms. Weekes noted that the seven-week camp, which was held at the St. Stephen’s Primary School, Black Rock, St. Michael, taught the children about a range of science-based topics and sought to pique their curiosity about the world around them.?? Themes such as medicine and health, earth and climate and botany and zoology were introduced to the children, who illustrated what they had learned with interactive skits and colourful displays on the final day of the camp.

There were also visits from professionals in the field of science; excursions to places of interest, including Harrison’s Cave and the Barbados Concorde Experience; and was led by a group of ???demonstrators’ – young adults with a science and technology background, some of whom were pursuing studies in related areas.

Ms. Weekes explained that these demonstrators "…come to my attention when they have been involved in other programmes that were hosted by the [NCST].?? For example, we host the Sci Tech Expo – the National Science and Technology Exposition – and a number of those students have come through that programme.?? Some of them have also come through the Schools’ Science Lecture Series and Debating Competition."

The NCST’s emphasis on reaching young children will go beyond Camp Destiny, as the Senior Technical Officer explained that "coming up in September…we will be going into some of the primary schools to start our science and technology club.?? Essentially, they’ll be doing science and technology activities in the afternoon after school."

Ms. Weekes revealed that "one of the first schools will be our home base, St. Stephen’s Primary School and there are a number of primary schools where we have been in discussion with their principals and they have acknowledged that they would like that kind of programme to come to their school.?? Over time, we would like to include all the primary schools in Barbados," she said, adding that science and technology clubs were a common feature of many developed nations.

Noting that the NCST was not trying "to make children into scientists", Ms. Weekes remarked that their hope was for children "…to have an appreciation [for science]" and the world around them.

Additional information on the NCST’s science programmes may be obtained by contacting Arlene Weekes, at 427-1820.

nekaelia.hutchinson@barbados.gov.bb

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