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The Green Park Primary and Junior High School in Clarendon has staged its second students’ behavioural change camp, to encourage male students to focus on academics and personal conduct.
The three-day camp, with the theme “Your Future, Your Moment, Make it Happen,” was staged recently at the Kendal Camp and Conference Centre, in Manchester, and saw the boys being given talks on male sexuality, how to focus with little distraction and ways to behave in group settings.
Principal of the school, O’Neil Ankle, said that the teachers at Green Park are supportive in guiding students under their care, and are always willing to go beyond their call to make things better for them.
“I want to see change in the students. I believe in character building, so whatever programmes that we need to come on board, we find means to initiate them. We are trying to prevent another generation from hitting the streets, joining gangs and getting involved in criminal activities,” he said.
“So the camp is to save lives, and to save young people. It costs us, but it will cost us more in the long run, if we don’t capture the imaginations of the students. We embarked on this programme last year, and we are continuing with it,” he stated.
Guidance Counsellor, Miss Mellissa Pryce-Stephens, said the students benefitted from the camp last year, and that this year’s camp dealt with many of the social ills particular students needed to correct.
“We dealt with conflict management, substance abuse and we showed a motivational movie,” she recalled.
She said that the camp was born out of a need to engage students who displayed some amount of behavioural problems at school.
“We have seen positive results, we have had follow up activities for the boys, such as field trips, and parenting workshops and seminars,” Miss Pryce-Stephens outlined.
Another Guidance Counsellor at the institution, Howard Mitchell, stated that there were marked changes in the behaviour of the students. He said that prior to the camp, teachers complained about the boys being disruptive, not too interested in class, getting involved in fights and things that distracted them from the learning process.
“At our meetings with the parents, we presented to them how the camp has changed their children, and they have accepted the need for this type of intervention,” Mr. Mitchell stated.
For Corporal Kenrick Manhertz, who engaged the boys on taking charge of their future, the initiative was very important in identifying behavioural patterns and correcting them.
He said that the camp did not stop with the children, as there was a day with the parents, dealing with parenting and children’s development.
“We identified the issues at home that would affect the children at school. It is a matter of dealing with these social issues at a tender age, so that it doesn’t develop into a bigger problem for the police to deal with, at a later stage. Every child has potential, and the camp seeks to bring out the best in them,” he said.
Guest speaker and Principal of Hayes Primary and Junior High School, Mark Nicely, told the boys that they should concentrate on the positive things around them.
“When we are faced with situations, confrontation is not necessarily the best approach. There is always a better approach. We need to reframe ourselves by seeing life in a positive way,” he said.