A camp at half the cost
By – Carlos Haynes | Tue, August 14, 2012 - 12:02 AM()
Re your editorial of the August 3 weekend Nation, your opening quotation of the Minister of Culture’s statement, as well as your subsequent wording, tends to give the impression that the National Summer Camp programme is some new invention of the current administration.
How else could we interpret the question: “Without the National Summer Camp programme . . . what would these children be doing during this very long summer period?”
The profound explanation you ask for is this: they would simply be enjoying summer camps as they have been doing from way back in the 1990s, but at little more than half the current cost to taxpayers, while at the same time teaching volunteerism and giving back to society.
It is the present cost that taxpayers are concerned about from the time its format was changed to “kill” the entrepreneurial spirit that existed freely among the campers, where they raised their own funds for materials and subsidized their educational tours and so on, after being given a start-up capital of around $30 000 per camp.
This is what the children did all summer long.
It was a win-win situation for the parents where their children were supervised by counsellors who were well trained and were committed, where involvement was a joy and not deemed a “job” as I hear repeatedly these days, as they were not paid.
I hear some camp workers boasting of the $47 000 to $53 000 they are making out of the “deal”. Some of them only provide chow mein and tuna, and the like; but that is where the bulk of the $4.1 million of taxpayers’ money is going.
Compare 69 camps at $30 000 each and allowing the entrepreneurial spirit of the camps to flow to $4.1 million in expenditure as budgeted today. That would represent a saving to taxpayers of over $2.030 million.
These are the things that not only the Opposition is concerned about, but we the overburdened taxpayers are as well in these recessionary times. Yes, our children are worthy of the money spent, but can we say they are in any way better off now than before?
I think not. Nor are we taxpayers any less encumbered.
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What is your take on Owen Arthur bowing out of elective politics? Is he going at the right time, too soon, or should he have bowed out before?
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