The Social Development Commission’s (SDC) Community Summer Camps initiative engaged youth, ages 7 – 17 years in 40 communities with participants represented from approximately 170 districts island-wide during the months of July and August 2022.
The initiative created a structured environment to engage children around educational, cultural and recreational activities. These included, interactive sessions on civic pride, social graces, career development choices, inter personal relations & communication skills, social and emotional development, conflict resolution, nutrition, safety & security, cultural competitions and sports. In addition, parents were closely involved in the implementation of the camps either by way of voluntary services or by being engaged in various parenting sessions, dealing with applying effective parenting skills.
Terrence Richards, Senior Programmes Coordinator, shared that the SDC’s Summer Camps 2022 were organized by the Commission to engage participants’ in team building, sports, and social and inter-personal self-empowerment activities as well as enhance participants’ abilities to apply dispute and conflict management techniques.
To assist with the “realities” being face by many families the camp was designed to be proactive in ensuring the environment hosting the initiative was comfortable for learning, socializing and play. Breakfast and lunch were provided to participants at no cost to the parents. The majority of the camp activities concluded with back-to-school treats, where needed school supplies were presented to participants.
Participants and parents of the summer camp expressed their delight in being directly or indirectly impacted by the initiative.
A happy camper Abigail Pink, from the Mandeville based summer camp shared her delight from her Summer Camp experience; “I enjoyed this camp! I was not sure I would like the camp but, on the Wednesday, I was the earliest. I learned how to be respectful to everyone including myself. I learned how to set the dinner table and how to sit around it. I even did a vision board; I wasn’t sure what it was until the camp. The teachers were nice too and the information from the presenters were interesting.”
“This is the first of its kind in the community; we want to have it every year.” Parent from Parade Garden, Kingson.
Executive Director, of the Social Development Commission, Dr. Dwayne Vernon affirms that approximately 2500 of the registered youth engaged in the SDC Summer Camp 2022, will be monitored consistently by the SDC Officer Corp Island wide, to ensure that children are adapting to the skills learnt. This action will facilitate the SDC’s planning of phase two of this intervention project during the 2022 Christmas school break.
The initiative was collaborative with stakeholder partnerships inclusive of critical government and non-government organisations, community-based organisations, the political directorates and private sector entities. Throughout the period, these stakeholders provided human, financial and technical resources.
Participants at the Chambers Pen Community Summer Camp watched intently as Orlando Douglas (student) competes in the JFB Bunker Gear Challenge.
Summer Camp participants engaged in English Language class session at the Chambers Pen Community Centre.
SDC Field Supervisor Tamara Stewart and Community Development Officer Shamara Cohen conducting a session on etiquette with youth participant Manchester’s SDC Summer Camp.
Presentation done by Jamaica Constabulary Force/Community Safety and Security Unit (JCF)
Nurse Marva Hines-Stone of the Hanover Health Department raps with Maryland Summer Camp participants on the importance of good oral hygiene.