JIS News

The Camp is part of continuing efforts to promote and engender healthy lifestyle choices and practices among the island’s youth, and will see the involvement of the Ministry of Health and Environment, and the Change From Within (CFW) Programme of the University of the West Indies.
Speaking with JIS News and highlighting the Ministry’s role in the Leadership Camp, Project Manager of Adolescent and Reproductive Health, Joy Chambers, explained that there is a need to promote “healthy bodies and positive minds” among the nation’s students.
“We are coming to the table with healthy lifestyle training, which will look at different thematic areas such as healthy eating, physical activity, HIV, Sexuality, Drug Awareness, Drug Prevention and Drug Use,” she noted.
As such, the initiative set for Hunny Bay, Priory, St. Ann, will seek to empower 80 student leaders, between ages 10 to 19 years, with vital leadership skills and healthy lifestyle training, for them to further impart to their peers.
“We believe that if the knowledge is presented early, they will be able to do their own evaluation and make better choices,” Ms. Chambers said, underscoring the value of reaching out to the youth as a means of stemming the high incidence of chronic diseases among the population.
She noted that the overall aim was to solidify healthy lifestyle promotion among the youth. “We are all into the business of prevention. The earlier you get them to start practising healthy behaviours, the greater the possibility that they will engage in healthy lifestyle practices.”
Short-listed for discussion are health issues such as: the value of healthy nutrition, physical activity and mental wellness. Students will also be introduced to proper conflict resolution skills and will participate in interactive peer counselling and motivational sessions. “Outside of the didactic teaching, students will be performing in art and craft, debating, talent search, nature walks, and a lot of physical activities,” Ms. Chambers added.
She said that the Ministry will be partnering with Children First, an independent non-governmental organization (NGO) that caters to the needs of children through the provision of education, training, and life skills support mechanisms to deliver high impact, interactive presentations to the participants.
“This year, the Ministry of Health will be collaborating with Children First, who will be using “edutainment” as an instructional tool to disseminate messages on HIV, violence prevention, and other relevant messages, where they can sing and dance to it,” she told JIS News adding, “the students will find it entertaining, educational, and interactive.”
Since 2003, The Ministry of Health and Environment has been collaborating with the University of the West Indies’ ‘Change From Within’ (CFW) Project to host the annual Student Leadership Camp.
Directed by Pauletta Chevannes, the CFW project is based in the Institute of Education at the University of the West Indies. The project currently operates out of 32 schools, located across the island. Throughout the year, Ministry of Health personnel accompany CFW representatives on their visits to these institutions, which include Meadowbrook High, St. Peter Claver Primary, the Queen’s School in Kingston, William Knibb High in Trelawny, Anchovy High in St. James, and Seaforth High in St. Thomas, among others. The selected student leaders for the 2008 Student Leadership Camp are drawn from these schools.