Youth Camps build the road to our future
As I WRITE, more than 2,000 youngsters are attending the first of pioneering Youth Camps at various centres in all nine provinces.
The Youth Camps have been designed to equip those who are attending them with the diverse theoretical and practical tools that we believe will empower them as future adult citizens of South Africa. They are chosen because of their distinct qualities, which will be greatly enhanced during the Camp.
The knowledge that is being imparted and exercises they are engaging in might not necessarily be written in their school and higher education syllabi.
Some of the concepts they are grappling with and exposed to are not new to them and we trust that their understanding of these concepts will be deepened.
A critical objective of the Youth Camp is to create role models that will transfer and imbue the kind of attributes to their peers in their respective communities. They are the future of South Africa.
And unlike the history where we come from, we believe that once they depart from the Youth Camp their perspectives, both individually and collectively, would have been magnified. They will, for example, engage in debates that scrutinise leadership, character, patriotism, social cohesion and their own constructive redefinition of these concepts.
The Camp, we believe, is a catalyst for optimal youth development and empowerment. It should imbue them with confidence, heightened levels of self-esteem and critical thinking. In other words, they will become active and constructive participants in the discourse of national issues.
We are accommodating youth from schools and institutions of higher learning. Our selection is diverse in that the participants are from rural villages, farms and urban settlements, youth with disabilities, youth at risk and prominent achievers. Each Camp has 300 participants, ranging in age from 14 to 23 years.
The Youth Camp initiative emanates from the Department of Sport and Recreation's Plan, which outlines the six priority areas on which sport and recreation is premised in our country. Recreation plays a critical role in improving the health and well-being of an individual and communities. And more so in the case of disadvantaged communities.
The National Sport and Recreation Plan further instructs us to utilise active recreational programmes as a means to develop citizen values in young people and to equip them in order for them to make valuable contributions in their communities.
Recreation remains the tool that provides cohesion, clarity of purpose and functionality as well as an environment within which both youth and adult citizenry can flourish.
The 2012 Youth Camp is the product of collaboration between the Department of Sport and Recreation, National Development Agency, Lovelife and provincial governments.
Our country's youth are indeed cognisant of the myriad of issues that affect them and this exercise present them with the perfect opportunity to reflect on it.
We expect them to approach the Camp with exuberance, enthusiasm and application.
We wish them an enlightening and exhilarating week.
Have fun and enjoy.
- Fikile Mbalula is the Minister of Sport and Recreation