July 23, 2013

Summer camps, filling an important need

Tue Jul 23, 2013

Vacation Bible camps have taken place in St Vincent and the Grenadines for about the last 30 to 40 years, but it is only in the last 20 years or so that a larger variety of activities has been available to engage our children at this time of the year.{{more}}

Commendation is due for those responsible for the wide range of programmes now available, as spending the long “August holidays” roaming, largely unsupervised, through one’s neighbourhood is no longer an option in today’s world.

Thirty or forty years ago, attendance at programmes such as those put on by the coastguard, the police band, the library, the fisheries division and private organizations was unheard of. Children can now attend camps which focus on music, swimming, information technology, craft, art and design, cooking, history, heritage, Garifuna culture and videography, in fact, whatever grabs their interest.

In days gone by, the “August holidays” were spent either assisting one’s parents at home or at their place of work, or going to the beach or river, climbing trees, playing shop and baby house. Children who lived in “town” visited relatives in the country or in the Grenadines, while those from the countryside or the “cays” spent time in town. Fewer mothers worked in those days, and the extended family structure allowed for ample babysitting options.

Today’s society is much different and parents dare not leave children at home unsupervised. Not many grandmothers seem to be at home today, as many are themselves engaged in the world of work.

Additionally, despite the electronic gadgets and high tech toys available to them, children today seem to be permanently stricken with the condition of boredom, an ailment unfamiliar to those of the older generation, during their youth.

The various summer camps therefore fill a very important need in our society, with most of them being oversubscribed. They engage our children, keep them stimulated and allow them to widen their social circles. Many of our children attend more than one camp, in an effort to fill the days until school reopens.

SEARCHLIGHT has previously made the point that in all this “busyness”, parents should ensure that time is allocated for the child to rest and to prepare him or herself mentally for the challenges of the new school year. Remember, learning and memory are at their best in well-rested children.