Youth camp

JON HOUZET

IN what has been described as a “coup” for Port Alfred, 300 youngsters will hit the town at month-end for a provincial youth camp by the department of sport, recreation, arts and culture (DSRAC).

The DSRAC youth camps are being held in all nine provinces simultaneously, and Port Alfred hopes to get Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula to officially launch the event, which starts on September 29 and ends October 6.

Another coup would be to get South Africa’s Olympic gold medal rowing team for an exhibition race on the Kowie River, according to the local organising committee, who gave a press briefing at My Pond Hotel last Saturday.

The organising committee comprises Stenden South Africa and Outdoor Focus, a dive and adventure centre.

Stenden’s head of community development, Alroy Taai, said the youth camp was arranged around three themes – nation-building, social cohesion and leadership – and would include a range of adventure activities as well as community service projects.

“I’m quite chuffed that Stenden was approached by DSRAC. They said we should partner with Outdoor Focus,” said Taai.

“Province made an excellent choice in choosing Port Alfred, and using water, our natural beauty and adventure activities.”

He said it was appropriate, that as the Eastern Cape is the adventure province, they build their programme around adventure and the ocean.

“We had the national coordinators down this week and we discovered we were far ahead of the other provinces.”

He said the camp was for youth aged 18-25 and were selected through the National Stratification Strategy criteria, and include tertiary students and unemployed youth. Half must be female and at least 5% must be disabled.

It will be the first time many of the youth from disadvantaged backgrounds participate in activities like scuba diving and horse-riding.

Other activities in the programme include dance classes, computer classes, basic CPR, kitchen hygiene and craftwork.

“We were asked to provide a camp that aims to promote positive social interactions that strengthened, in an organised and coordinated manner, the ability for young people to work across race, ethnicity, gender, geographical location, class and creed,” said Marlene Odendal(correct) of Outdoor Focus.

Stenden has identified six community service projects for the campers to get involved in: Painting and helping to repair toilets at the Station Hill community hall, revamping an old nightclub in Nemato into a boxing venue, forming a beach volleyball team for Ingubo Trust, cleaning up and renovating the neglected business hive on the road to the dump, cleaning up the krantz braai area, and fixing up the Nemato Change a Life facilities.

Every camper will be expected to participate in all the activities.

“It will be a growth experience for them,” said Medolino Caravan Park owner Derek Victor, who has been appointed spokesman for the local organising committee.

Local accommodation establishments will be used to house the youths.

“Stenden and Outdoor Focus should take a special bow because they pulled this off,” said Victor.

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