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Summer camp funding cut

Funding for the National Summer Camp Programme has been slashed, with the programme getting only a quarter of its usual budget this year. This means not only will the number of camps be reduced and their duration cut, but there will be no free meals.

But Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports, Stephen Lashley has offered the assurance that there will be no compromise in providing “a quality camp experience”.

Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley

Stephen Lashley

He announced at a Press conference this morning at his ministry’s Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall headquarters, that Government’s 2014 National Summer Camp Programme which has been under scrutiny, has taken a 80 per cent budget cut, getting only $700,000 this time around, compared to the $3.5 million which was allocated in 2013.

As a result, there will be 46 camps, down from 64 last year, all opening their doors for five weeks, and not six weeks as was the case in 2013.

“The provision of meals, which would have been provided through the caterers employed under the National Summer Camp Programme, represents that largest element of expenditure . . .  and unfortunately, this year, we are not in a position to provide those meals. That is a major change,” Lashley said.

He however pointed out that if there was a demand for prepared meals, arrangements would be made for campers to purchase their lunches.

“Based on the results of the registration process, we would then allocate an approved caterer . . . and, of course, we intend to manage the process where the meals, once there are required, will be produced at a reasonable rate,” Lashley explained.

Meantime he has assured more direct involvement in the camps by the staff of the Division of Youth in his ministry.

To this end, a committee, headed by the Director of Youth Affairs Cleviston Hunte, has been established and will be responsible for the management of the camps.

“All persons who are working in the Division of Youth will be deployed in very central ways in terms of ensuring the management and integrity of our camps,” Lashley stressed, adding that the hiring of camp directors and camp assistants had not been impacted by the budget constraints and persons recruited to work within the camps would be trained and required to adhere to the camp manual.

“There will be no compromise to the quality of our camps this year; we intend to provide a camp experience that is at a very high level. We have focused a lot of attention in previous years to exposing our young people to educational tours; this year that will still be a major component,” he added.

The minister said the majority of camps would accommodate children ages four to 12 and offer a variety of activities such as sports, culture, science and technology, personal development and social education in areas such as HIV awareness and drug abuse.

Specialised camps will also be offered again this year for children ages 13 to 15.

The camps will run from July 14 to August 15. (BGIS/RG)


15 Responses to Summer camp funding cut

  1. Cheryl A Rollins
    Cheryl A Rollins May 31, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Freeness puts pressure on resources. No surprises here!!

  2. Sonia Coward-Archer
    Sonia Coward-Archer May 31, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    3.5 Million may have been allocated but it surely was not spent on National Summer Camps in 2013. Certainly not the ones I am aware.

  3. Dana Reid Hewitt
    Dana Reid Hewitt May 31, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Most of the fatted calf went to caterers I see. I wonder what they were feeding those children!

  4. Cole Tanner
    Cole Tanner May 31, 2014 at 1:20 pm


  5. Kim Kim
    Kim Kim May 31, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    I can’t see it costing 3.5 million dollars to run 64 summer camps for 6 weeks.

  6. Cornelia Daniel
    Cornelia Daniel May 31, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Good, people will spent money on child care this summer and not on crop over costumes. The same people who crying out for government help because they can’t afford to send there children to private summer camps are the first ones to pay for costumes to jump come kadooment. People need to get their priorities right and stop begging for freeness

  7. Jane Brathwaite
    Jane Brathwaite May 31, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Crime will now rise !I hope and pray parents be strong in these hard times .

    • Angela Maria Paul
      Angela Maria Paul June 1, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Crime will now rise because parents will have to accept a responsibility that was there’s to begin with? How do you figure?

  8. Pamalea Payne
    Pamalea Payne May 31, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Stupse. Years ago we all use to go to Church Of God in Avis St Lucy and hv Bible school and make them lil plaster parish birds cats dogs n things paint them and hv them when camp is finish. That use to feel so good. Thanks to Mrs Violet. Zanobia Griffith.

  9. Pamalea Payne
    Pamalea Payne May 31, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Saying that to say stop waiting on persons to do things for our children let’s get together and start

  10. Harriett June 1, 2014 at 1:51 am

    We need to go back to the days when persons volunteered to work at these camps. Enlist the youth from our secondary schools, guides and cadets to work at the camps.

    Parents who do not work could also volunteer some of their time.

  11. Les Carr
    Les Carr June 1, 2014 at 4:59 am

    The main thing about these camps seem to have been to get the cater the funds out. Isn’t it amazing how it can now be done for $700,000. This is a fine example of how governments waste the tax payers money then we want to know why the tax burden is so high. God help us all out of this hole.

  12. Anson Sobers
    Anson Sobers June 1, 2014 at 7:27 am

    80% cut is very interesting and the camps and duration weren’t cut by 50% clearly most of it was on the food. Who were the caterers? How does this impact their business? As Bajans does say “there is more in d mortar than d pestle”

  13. Angela Maria Paul
    Angela Maria Paul June 1, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I never understood the whole catering thing. From the start they should have rostered the school meal servers to work the six weeks; two a week and let the SCHOOL MEALS DEPARTMENT provide the camps with lunch, with the children attending paying the same dollar a week they pay at school. Furthermore: IT SHOULD NOT BE THE GOVERNMENT’S JOB TO PROVIDE FREE DAY CARE FOR SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN IN BETWEEN NORMAL SCHOOL HOURS, because let’s face it, that is all summer camp is, free day care.

  14. BREWSTER June 2, 2014 at 9:56 am

    The Government really needs to take a look at what happens in Europe and other parts of the world, where there is no FREE-NESS!!!! Barbados is in no such position to give either free university education or such like. If any thing family income should be considered as to whether or not any concessions should be given regarding the summer camp. I totally agreeing on these cuts because there are far too many people that really need to be pulling their weight.


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