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Over 230 youth from different districts of KwaZulu-Natal have been empowered with life skills that will assist them to become better citizens in future after attending a weeklong National Youth Camp.

The camp was hosted by the Kwa-Zulu Natal Department of Sport and Recreation in partnership with Sport and Recreation South Africa and other agencies such as Love Life at the Sweetdale camp site in Margate on 01-08 October 2016.

The campers came from different areas of the Province, and comprised of different races, genders, cultures and backgrounds. The primary objective of the Youth Camp project is to develop young people, empower them with the requisite values, skills and knowledge that can assist them to become responsible, conscious citizens and to strengthen their sense of patriotism and national identity.

In the Camp participants engage in activities that are valued as social connectors and a powerful development tools to counter a lack of adequate opportunities for positive social interaction, unequal distribution of resources, building leadership skills and promoting social cohesion.

In her message MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation, Bongi Sithole-Moloi, said the Camp is an integral part of the Department’s mandate to foster social cohesion and nation building as well as encouraging youth to adopt active and healthy lifestyles.

“The camp focuses on fostering nation building, social cohesion, leadership, character building and volunteerism through the community outreach programme. These are the core characteristics that we need to instil in our youth in order to ensure a prosperous future for our country,” she said.

Head of Department Rohini Naidoo told the youth that this programme is a stepping stone to greatness. She encouraged them to go back to their communities and utilise the skills they have acquired in the camp to bring change as well as make a mark in society.

Thabani Mntambo one of the campers who is from Durban expressed his satisfaction about the camp and that had learnt a lot of things from it.

“Attending this camp was a great experience and I learned a lot of things such as being able to tolerate and trust other race groups as well as good leadership skills,” he said.

Notes:

About the National Youth Camp 2016

The Youth Camp is a movement that encourages and promotes sport and recreation through engagement and community services. It is a national Programme driven by Sport and Recreation South Africa and is active in all nine provinces of South Africa. It is committed to the holistic development and empowerment of young people of all communities and cultural background.

Youth camp objectives          

The primary objective of the Youth Camp project is to develop young people, empower them with the requisite values, skills and knowledge that can assist them to become responsible, conscious citizens and to strengthen their sense of patriotism and national identity.

On an annual basis, each province will identify its “young campers" in line with predetermined criteria, who attend provincial camps that will eventually culminate in the national camp.

The camps are led by SRSA working in partnership with other relevant Departments and Public entities, particularly the National Youth Development Agency and LoveLife. 

The issues that are dealt with include:

1. Leadership: Develop leadership skills through various life skills activities and team work. Leadership skills include being able to inspire and direct fellow participants and create cohesive and effective teams to achieve common goals.

2. Social cohesion is what holds society together. It provides coherence, unity and functionality as well as an environment within which its citizens can flourish.  Develop positive bonds amongst young people, promote tolerance and respect for diversity. South Africa has diverse population and cultural groups. It is critical to create and develop an interactive society, particularly amongst the youth as they are tomorrow’s leaders. The interventions towards Social Cohesion include; community development, inter-cultural projects, through active participation

3. Nation building:  Various factors have led to youth not paying attention and pride in the South African identity. Youth should be encouraged to take the perception of “What can I do for my country, vs what can my country do for me”. Active participation through national services, volunteerism and taking pride in the symbols, cultural heritage and historical knowledge of the country are being promoted. A knowledgeable nation is a cornerstone of a growing society. Explore common grounds e.g National symbols, and emblems, sharing of heritage and proudly South African, an opportunity for young people to learn about the common symbols that binds communities together such as flags, anthems, national days, and in a sports context, national teams.

The Youth Camps are viewed as a major agent in the socio-political arena of development work and as a change agent for an enhanced quality of life, community regeneration or cohesion, human development and empowerment.

  
 
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