Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
FIFTY STUDENTS yesterday spoke glowingly of the National Youth Service (NYS) Summer Camp at an open day held at St Luke's Church in Cross Roads, St Andrew.
The camp, which catered to students with mild intellectual disabilities, along with students who were unemployed, took place over a two-week period. It gave participants a chance to display their talents and skills.
"What stood out for me is that their (the children's) talents and competencies were outside of the norm," said Latoya Swaby Anderson, camp coordinator.
"I would really want our society to be more inclusive so that we can facilitate these students. They fit into society, they can function in society, they can give benefit to the country, but the society has to shift from the square and the little box in which it has placed itself," she declared.
She added: "We have seen growth; we have seen improvement. These are children who have been so downtrodden by society, and were seen as lesser than. However, they have been empowered, and what I saw during the two-week period was tremendous. They just need a chance."
'EXCELLENT TWO WEEKS'
Twenty-one-year-old Yanique Desouza, who was a member of the camp, was beaming with excitement as she expressed gratitude for the assistance she received.
"It was an excellent two weeks for me. I like to be myself. I am always by myself - part of the reason being I just think I'm not good enough. I am now interacting with persons, and my aim is to apply what I have learnt," she said.
Similarly, Jervoney Gordon, a 17-year-old student of St Andrew Technical High School, was overjoyed.
"This was the camp to be at. I would stay here all the days of my life. The teachers were great, the programmes were excellent, and I am just looking forward to using what I have learnt to build my career and strive for excellence.