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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Students from Goldsmith Villa in August Town, St. Andrew, who benefited from a tae kwon do summer camp, are expected to bring the lessons of discipline and hard work to school and also make those values part of their daily lives.
  • They were provided with the opportunity to learn the Korean martial art, which is proven to build self-esteem, confidence and discipline and reduce aggression in those who practice it.
  • Participant in the summer camp, André Rowe, tells JIS News that he appreciates the positive message that the camp provided.

Students from Goldsmith Villa in August Town, St. Andrew, who benefited from a tae kwon do summer camp, are expected to bring the lessons of discipline and hard work to school and also make those values part of their daily lives.

The 26 youngsters, aged 12 and older, who were displaying antisocial behaviours and negative attitudes, participated in the August 4 to 18 day camp organised by the Goldsmith Villa Sports and Youth Club through sponsorship from the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP).

They were provided with the opportunity to learn the Korean martial art, which is proven to build self-esteem, confidence and discipline and reduce aggression in those who practice it.

Advisor and founding member of the Goldsmith Villa Sports and Youth Club, Rocque Ferguson, tells JIS News that the youngsters were receptive and responded well to the lessons taught.

Martial Arts instructor and Jamaica’s first tae kwon do Olympian, Kenneth Edwards, who partnered with the club to host the summer camp, tells JIS News that focus was placed on the physical and psychological aspects of tae kwon do.

“This includes hard work, dedication, perseverance, self-control. I think it was taken very well by the young men and young women,” he shares.

Mr. Edwards says raw talent was evident in several of the youngsters, and he has identified two participants who he will be providing with further training.

He informs that consideration is also being given to future camps.

“The community really supports these kinds of initiatives and a lot of the parents supported their children coming and even came by to see what was going on. I think that interest has really pushed me to try to get it in the community on a long-term basis,” Mr. Edwards shares.

The camp was brought to a fitting conclusion with motivational speeches delivered by Gavin Myers of National Integrity Action Limited and CSJP’s ‘Men with a Message’. The closing session was open to all residents of the community.

“Gavin Myers spoke about goal setting and he was very interactive; you could see the real connection and youths nodding their heads and participating. They really understood what was expected of them going back to school,” Ms. Ferguson tells JIS News.

She informs that the three representatives from ‘Men with a Message’ gave an excellent presentation.

“I could see that it reached a lot of the kids. I think the initiative is excellent, especially in these inner-city communities. For me, just being there and listening to them talk, I think that is exactly what these young people need to hear to steer their lives in the right direction,” she says.

Participant in the summer camp, André Rowe, tells JIS News that he appreciates the positive message that the camp provided.

“We have seen what has happened to some of our friends who have chosen the wrong path.  So we use this camp to learn how to be more disciplined, learn forms of restraint in the sense that we do not want to succumb to the peer pressure of smoking, stealing and use of guns,” he shares.

André says he will be applying the lessons learnt to school and his personal life.

“Within the school, we have to deal with people of diverse backgrounds, who react differently to certain things… so the level of discipline and dispute resolution methods we were exposed to can help us to get away from conflicts that sometimes involve the use of weapons,” he shares.

The camp also provided an opportunity for residents to learn more about the opportunities offered through CSJP such as skills training, internships and scholarships.

CSJP Community Case Management Officer, Angella Harris, commended the club for the successful staging of the summer camp.

“It was different. We are used to the traditional summer camps, but tae kwon do was introduced to the youth in the community, and just by observation you could see they were so engaged and involved and it’s as if they wanted this intervention to go on much longer,” she says.

CSJP has provided capacity-building support to the leaders of the Goldsmith Villa Sports and Youth Club to assist in the development of the club and, by extension, the community.

CSJP is a multifaceted crime- and violence-prevention programme of the Ministry of National Security, which focuses on building community safety and security.

Its various programmes and activities are carried out through funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), United Kingdom Department for International Development; and Global Affairs Canada.