The annual Provincial Youth Camp is currently underway in Kimberley. The Northern Cape MEC responsible for Social Development – Father Gift Van Staden, together with the National Department on Tuesday, October 30, launched the event at the Discobolos Army base. Since 1994, the department has undertaken the specific needs of young men and women and given them a platform to address their plight by creating safe spaces for youth to “have a voice”.
The youth camps are a product of Department of Social Development to –provide South African youth with opportunities for experiential learning. The youth camps focus mainly on five elements namely sport, youth, camp and integration and aims to promote leadership, social cohesion and nation building. MEC Van Staden delivered his keynote address at the official launch of the Provincial Camp and urged the Northern Cape’s youth to utilize the opportunity to create better destinies for themselves.
“The energy, skills, and aspirations of young people are invaluable assets that no society can afford to waste. And youth development remains a key priority for government because young people are disproportionately affected by the challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.” The MEC also used the opportunity to solidify governments commitment towards empowering youth. “As government we reaffirm our commitment to continuously put in place programmes that prepares young people for that transition from adolescence to adulthood. This is done through a structured, progressive series of activities and experiences which will help you to obtain social, emotional, ethical, physical and cognitive competencies,” Van Staden said.
The MEC also added that while government was aware of the social issues youth faced, it had provided opportunities like these for them to tackle their plight with the necessary skills. “Given the many challenges that face you, this gathering is exactly aimed at preparing you to not only face the many challenges of life now, but to also equip and prepare you for the future. Youth camps present an environment where young people are moulded, guided and skilled to enhance their sense of responsibility and maximise their individual and collective energies for personal development as well as development of the broader society.
Through the Youth Camp programme, you are given a platform to conduct dialogues on topical issues that affect you and your communities, with a view of identifying root causes and developing strategic solutions to address them.” This year the 2018 youth camp will take a different shape with all provinces hosting their respective camps at military base, these camps will attract 350 participants, 32 mentors and camp facilitators. The national Minister of social Development has decided to decentralize the national camp in an effort to reach more young people in communities and them to gain more experience from the camps.