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JIS News

Some 125 young people age 14 to 17 years, who are considered at risk, will benefit from behaviour modification initiatives and life skills training, through the Department of Correctional Services’ (DCS) Challengers’ Camps 2010.
The camps, which are to be held at centres across the island during the month of July, the camps involve a comprehensive programme that will address self-esteem, self-worth, substance abuse, human sexuality, career development, anger management, and conflict resolution, among other things.
“The camps are designed basically to focus on life-skill interventions for youth at risk or youth that have been in conflict with the law, and to better guide them back on the path to becoming productive citizens of our country,” said Commissioner of Corrections, Lieutenant Colonel Sean Prendergast.
He was speaking at the official launch of the camp and the start of the St. Ann segment, on July 15 at Marcus Garvey Technical High School in the parish.
Col. Prendergast urged the participants to take advantage of the opportunity provided to “make a positive turn in your lives”.
“The reason why we are all here is for you. It is an attempt to try to equip you to make better decisions in the future. Ultimately, however, the choices will be yours and no matter what stresses you are facing in your own lives today, one has to realize that once you have life and strength, then there should always be hope,” he said.
Meanwhile, coordinator for the programme, Janet Davey, told JIS News that the camps will be held over 11 days up to July 30 and will be hosted at centres in St. James, St. Ann, St. Catherine, Kingston, Portland, and Manchester.
The St. Ann camp conclude on July 17 and a three-day session will get underway in Manchester, starting on July 20. It will run for three days in St. James, starting on July 21; and will last for three days in Portland, starting on July 26.
The camp will also run for three days in St. Catherine, starting July 27 and three days in Kingston, starting July 28.
One of the participants from St. Ann commended the DCS for undertaking the initiative, noting that the young people will benefit.
“The camps will be beneficial because it will help us to open our minds widely to our career goals and our aims in life. As for me, it will help to positively improve my behaviour and will help me to think more positively about my future,” he said.
The Challengers’ Camps programme, which is being run at a cost of about $300,000, is being held under the theme: ‘Challenges Create Opportunities’.
The primary aim is to stimulate the mind of each camper in a productive yet relaxing atmosphere, so that they will be motivated to use the challenges that they face on a daily basis to create opportunities.