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May Pen youth benefit from summer camp

Published:Tuesday | August 11, 2015 | 5:15 PM

MAY PEN, Clarendon:

If idle hands commit mischief, then the opposite can be said for the 76 Head Up campers, who recently participated in a productive month-long camp at the Trenton Road base, Clarendon youth information centre, in May Pen, Clarendon.

The 76 participants, who are drawn from some of Clarendon's most volatile communities, including Juno Crescent, Canaan Heights, Bucknor, Effortville, among others, and who are deemed at risk of falling under the influences of gangs, were exposed to lasting life lessons according to the centre's youth empowerment officer, Chevelle Campbell.

Campbell said the month-long activities, which included karate, table tennis, football, track and field, performing arts, visual arts, and badminton, were designed to get them into the centre to expose them to the numerous opportunities available to youth in the parish.

"We employed an innovative medium for summer camp 2015 to, among other things, achieve behaviour change in the 76 campers who are from diverse backgrounds, including volatile communities and gang association in May Pen."

"We try to use methods like sports and the arts, something that they will enjoy doing, but will achieve the desired effect of modifying certain behaviours among the youngsters," Campbell stated.

The centre's empowerment officer reported that a significant number of campers started the camp displaying poor behaviour; however, after exposure to behaviour-change methodologies, campers displayed significant transformation.

Anthony Smith, who was adjudged the most improved camper, in giving the 2015 Head Up camp the thumbs up, said he and his fellow campers learned a great deal.

"It was a great camp; we learned so many things here. We understand how to articulate issues, spot opportunities, and show the world that it isn't all criminals come from Canaan Heights," the youngster said.

Smith's counterpart, Kerone Miller, who is from Juno Crescent, another volatile Clarendon community, and who was adjudged the best camper, said the camp has left a lasting impression on her .