When the new school year starts in two weeks, there will be at least 72 children entering with a new sense of discipline.
Those six dozen youngsters, between the ages of four and 14, were participants in the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) 2016 Camp Energy, which was held under the theme, Ten Years Growing and Thriving as it coincided with the military organization’s 10th anniversary.
The camp was unlike any other held this summer. For two of the three weeks’ duration, campers resided with their counsellors at the Main Guard and the cadet campsite at the Paragon Base.
Every day they awoke at 5 a.m. for physical exercise sessions at 5:30 a.m, which was a key activity along with participation in the BDF’s Agriculture and Livestock Programme, steel pan, dance, and arts and crafts. On Survival Day, they roasted breadfruit and sweet potato, which they reaped from the garden of the military base. During self-defence and etiquette lessons, campers were exposed to the importance of discipline.
Camp Director and BDF officer, Harriet Clarke told Barbados TODAY that the younger campers wanted to return home initially. But with time, she said, they enjoyed the experience.
Addressing the camp’s closing ceremony, at which campers showcased their talents in dance and steel pan as well as their art and craft, Clarke highlighted the need for youth to be more disciplined.
Pointing to drug use, gun violence and lack of academic qualifications as among the problems facing young people today, she stressed: “At the core of good behaviour…is going to be discipline. You have to be a disciplined individual to make the correct choices.”
BDF chaplain, Reverend Esther Willoughby said she believed the camp activities contributed to the campers’ total development.
“With so much deviance in society, I admire and commend the organizers for the discipline instilled in the young campers,” she said.
The camp was attended by children and wards of BDF members and, for the first time, other children in the community.