Not babysittersAssistant Director of Sport Mona Alleyne. (FP)
By Randy Bennett | Tue, July 03, 2012 - 12:02 AM
The National Sports Council’s (NSC) annual Summer Camp should not be used as a babysitting option.
In fact, says Assistant Director of Sport Mona Alleyne, the camp is specifically tailored to help develop the sporting abilities of its young participants, and should therefore be used as such.
Speaking to NATIONSPORT at the National Stadium yesterday shortly after delivering the remarks at the opening ceremony of the NSC’s 27th Annual Summer Camp, Alleyne dismissed the notion that it was being used by some parents as a “dumping ground” for their children during the long vacation.
Alleyne said the NSC had made some integral changes to the event that would greatly enhance the experience of the more than 1 100 campers.
“This is definitely not a case of the NSC being babysitters,” she said.
“Years ago, when we used to have campers who were as young as five years old, people might have said that. But we have made some changes to the programme, one of them being the fact that our youngest campers are now between the ages of eight and nine.
“At this age, their skills are more developed, and they are more engaged with the coaches and assistant coaches.”
She pointed out that this year, in an effort to improve the quality of the camp, there had also been a restructuring in the way in which assistant coaches were chosen.
Alleyne noted that those people chosen had been scrutinized and thoroughly checked to ensure they were adequately qualified in their particular field.
In addition, they were required to take part in a specially designed training programme facilitated by the NSC.
She did, however, acknowledge that with “so many young people in one place,” the camp did have its challenges, but staff were properly trained to deal with some issues.
“With such a large body of young people, we will have challenges. But we do what we have been doing for the past 26 years, and that is, we deal with them.
“About four or five years ago, we actually had to expel a couple of children because of disciplinary reasons, but since that, I can assure you that our coaches have done a fantastic job addressing any issues.”
Despite a slight drop from last year’s 1511 registered campers, Alleyne said she expected this year’s camp to be a huge success, with participants taking part in sports ranging from cricket, swimming and football to golf, taekwondo and boxing.
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