Govt to host youth camps across the country

Pretoria: Government is to host National Youth Camps across the country from this weekend to promote patriotism among the country’s youngsters and develop their leadership abilities, among other things.

Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula announced on Thursday that the camps will kick-off on 30 September and run until 6 October across the country’s nine provinces with 300 youths, aged between 14 and 25, taking part.

The main event will take place outside Rustenburg in the North West on Sunday. Mbalula said the youth camps would seek to achieve nation building, social cohesion and leadership.

“We want to ensure that with the camp, young people’s social consciousness is heightened [to] make a positive contribution as responsible members of society and as leaders of tomorrow. Through the content of the camps, the youths will be assisted to develop their leadership skills and abilities to make a positive contribution in their communities.

“We are also going to help these young people to develop positive bonds amongst themselves to promote tolerance and respect for the country’s diversity. This is to build a strong future where society will stand together,” he said.

The minister said sport and recreation remained a tool which provided for coherence, unity and functionality as well as an environment within which its citizens can prosper.

“We are also looking at the issue of nation building wherein the youth will learn the importance of patriotism and being able to contribute towards the country’s development as active participants rather than passive recipients of government largesse,” said Mbalula.

Working with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), government will be championing the three themes where various institutions and government departments will be facilitating the process.

The camps will include youths from schools, institutions of higher learning, youths with disabilities, civil society, youths at risk and prominent achievers or role models.

The department’s National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) has paved the way to ensure that South Africans have access to sport and recreation, especially those from historically disadvantaged communities, said the minister.

The NSRP acknowledges the need to use active recreation programmes as a means of develop citizenship values in young people and to teach them how to make a valuable contribution to their communities.

The minister said recreation played a pivotal role in improving the health and well-being of an individual, it created livable communities and promoted social cohesion.

“We believe that recreational opportunities provide personal benefits such as self-fulfillment and developing personal relationships as well as social benefits such as improving social integration, developing community and cultural identity.

“Regular and structured recreational activities can assist in addressing the social challenge of delinquency, crime, alcohol and substance abuse, domestic violence as well as health issues such as cardiac diseases, diabetes, obesity and the HI virus,” he said.

The camps will take place at the following venues:

Basotho Cultural Village in the Free State

Steintal Estate in Tulbagh, in the Western Cape
Di Dima Camp in the Drakensberg, in KwaZulu-Natal
Konka Soul Adventure, in Naaupoort, Rustenburg in the North West
Pine Lake Resort in White River, in Mpumalanga
Stenden South Africa in Port Alfred, in the Eastern Cape
Meulstroom Lodge in Bonkhorstpruit in Gauteng
Limpopo has yet to announce the venue for their provincial youth camp.

Mbalula also announced that the department, working with the Department of Social Development, was working towards composing a single, strong National Youth Development Camp which will cover a wide spectrum of issues for nation building and promoting patriotism in the country.

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