Thrill and euphoria filled the air as the first New Era Foundation Youth Leadership Camp kicked off on 11th, lasting till 16th September 2011.
In appreciation of the robust support it had received from Local Government Chairmen over the years, the New Era Foundation decided to give them the opportunity to sponsor public school students from their areas to be pioneers of the NEYOCA experience. The camp’s fees were heavily discounted to ensure large scale participation.
The following subjects were taught at the camp by seasoned, expert facilitators:
- MAD Science
- Maths Explorers
- Leadership & Citizenship
- Home Science
- Treat her Like a Lady
- Bead making
The campers also enjoyed sports, exercise and games including Beach soccer, Beach volleyball, Rounders, Tug-of-war, Skipping challenge, etc.
All the classes were taught in a lively, highly interactive atmosphere with emphasis on audience participation, in keeping with our NEYOCA methodology of experiential education.
Each camp day comprised of four activity periods with 3-4 classes running simultaneously during each period. The children were given the opportunity to choose which classes to attend during each period and some classes were repeated daily, to enable as many children benefit from as many subjects as possible. The campers eagerly attended their classes every day and enjoyed great fellowship in between. The dance and bead making classes that were held in the evenings proved very popular with both adults and children, with some willing to forgo dinner in order to master the lucrative art of bead making.
The presence of three senior military officers from the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) who were specially invited by the foundation, added much excitement and colour to the camp experience. The officers presented separate lectures to both the adults and the children titled: “The Role of the Military in a Nascent Democracy”. They also attended some of the classes and enjoyed great interaction with the campers.
The camp proceedings were captured both on video and still images. Several of the campers were excited to be interviewed on camera, with a couple even acting as anchor persons and interviewing their peers. Many campers quickly made friends with kids from other local governments and soon became inseparable.
The sustained general atmosphere of the camp throughout the 5 days was one of great excitement and fun.
The sudden arrival of the New Era Foundation President, Senator Oluremi Tinubu on the opening day caused quite a stir. She joked, sang and took pictures with the campers. Her vibrant, cheerful and glamorous presence truly excited the kids.
The children acquired a lot of new exciting skills and knowledge from the various fascinating classes that were taught. Mealtimes were especially popular as the food was always tasty and more than ample, including lots of fruits.
Some of the dignitaries who visited during the camp included the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs. Omolara Erogbogbo, Chairman SUBEB, Mrs Gbolahan Daodu and NEF Board members, Dr. Katia Ekesi and Mrs. Patricia Otuedon-Arawore. Mrs. Erogbogbo spent some time interacting with the kids and answered all their questions.
All the visitors rounded off their visits by planting a tree on the camp’s designated park area in front of the Admin. Block.
The final night was loaded with many exciting events, including a mini spelling bee, presentation of gifts by the NDA, officers resplendent in their ceremonial dress uniforms and finally the indispensable, highly colourful camp bonfire.
The last day of camp, Friday 16th, brought music and dance presentations which the kids had been practicing all week. It was most impressive to see how much they had learnt in such a short space of time. Awards were given to outstanding campers, both adults and children.
It was all rounded off with an amazing rocket launch by the Mad Science facilitators, after presenting the kids with their own participants’ certificates.
On the penultimate day of the camp, a survey was conducted amongst the kids and adults, using the random sampling method, regarding their opinion of the program and camp facilities. Both the program and the camp received a high approval rating from the grateful children.
All attendees were unanimous in their desire to return next year. A girl that was withdrawn a day early by her mother to write an exam, left in tears lamenting about missing the final evening’s events, especially the bonfire.