Parents And Children Bond At DRF Summer Camp

Story Highlights

  • There were hugs and tears as parents and children came together in an emotional relationship-building exercise at the Dispute Resolution Foundation’s (DRF) Kingston summer camp.
  • The session was intended to help rebuild and strengthen the connection between parents and children, and focused on exchanging perspectives with a view to better understanding each other. The participants were encouraged to share their personal experiences and thoughts.
  • The Kingston camp is one of four being operated by DRF Peace Centres from July 17 to 28. Camps are also being hosted by the Clarendon centre in May Pen, as well as by centres in Spanish Town, St. Catherine and Flankers in St. James.

There were hugs and tears as parents and children came together in an emotional relationship-building exercise at the Dispute Resolution Foundation’s (DRF) Kingston summer camp.

The parent-child rap session, held on Thursday (July 20), was the highlight of the fourth day of the camp, which is being staged at the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions on Hope Boulevard.

The session was intended to help rebuild and strengthen the connection between parents and children, and focused on exchanging perspectives with a view to better understanding each other. The participants were encouraged to share their personal experiences and thoughts.

“This gives the parents some background of the type of issues their children may be going through, as well as for the children to understand things from the parental perspective,” DRF Project Manager, Cherrol Taylor, told JIS News.

“The activity encourages them to listen while the other party speaks; sometimes because we are so focused on getting our points out, we are not listening attentively. With this therapeutic approach it gives each party a chance to communicate and feel listened to in the end,” she said.

The children were each paired with a parent and then rotated, to allow them to interact with parents other than their own.

“We believe that when parents hear from other children, they get a broad view. You don’t want to limit the discussion to whatever is happening in the home, you want to broaden that,” Mrs. Taylor said.

The Kingston camp is one of four being operated by DRF Peace Centres from July 17 to 28. Camps are also being hosted by the Clarendon centre in May Pen, as well as by centres in Spanish Town, St. Catherine and Flankers in St. James.

Some 350 children are participating in the camps across the four locations.

Danecia Wright, a 15-year-old student from St. Andrew High School for Girls, who participated in the rap session at the Kingston camp, hailed it as effective and important in helping to bridge the generation gap.

“Their [the parents] views and perspectives on things are vastly different from ours… because they want to use methods that their parents used; but they have to understand that we are from the 21st century, so we think differently and society is changing, ” she told JIS News.

Another participant, a 15-year-old student from Donald Quarrie High School, also said she benefitted from the exercise.

“The rap session went great for me. It helped me to see that parents really can understand what children are going through; but some of them really find it hard to express it. Rapping with some of the parents, I realised that there are good people out there and they want to see us as children do well,” she said.

Other rap sessions will be hosted throughout the camps, and will include police and school-based personnel.

Mrs. Taylor explained that the summer camps are multi-faceted, engaging the youngsters on a range of issues affecting them. These include puberty, sexually transmitted disease, entrepreneurship, social media usage, impact of music on youth, leadership and stewardship skills, art and craft and cyber bullying.

The camps will also be hosting sessions on substance abuse through support from the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA); career options with assistance from the National Youth Service; and personal development with a team from the HEART Trust/NTA.

A sports day will also be held at Hope Gardens for participants in Spanish Town and Kingston.

One youngster shared with JIS News that she has struggled with behavioural problems, brought on by peer pressure and physical and sexual abuse, and is hopeful that the support being provided by the Foundation, through the camps and other programmes by the Foundation’s Peace Centre, will help her address these issues.

“I am learning to show more affection and to talk to people about things,” she said.

“The summer camp has been great. I think it is good to have a lot of children coming in, having adults that they can speak to on different issues, and persons that they can confide in,” she added.

Seventeen-year-old Kingston College student, Akeem Cargill, also expressed appreciation for the opportunity to learn skills and understand about entrepreneurship and other issues.

 

The Kingston camp accommodates children from communities such as Maverly, Fletchers Land, Allman Town, Kencot, Rockfort, Tivoli Gardens, Waterhouse, Greater Portmore, Trench Town, Seaview Gardens and Drewsland, among others.

The summer camps are supported under Phase Three of the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP III), which provides transportation for students to and from home, as well as meals.

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