BLUE HILLS – Some of the youths prepared for their futures at a recent boot camp.

A youth development programme saw a fresh approach as fun elements of the arts were used to impart essential life skills to disadvantaged youth.

The programme was beneficial to some pupils of Diepsloot at a week-long Tsogo Sun Arts Academy boot camp held at Blue Hills College in Midrand on 29 June. to a youth

“The primary focus of the programme has always been to add far more to youngsters’ lives than just learning skills in the performing arts. However, we are now honing it to have a greater impact on young pupils’ future,” Shanda Paine, Group CSI Manager for Tsogo Sun said.

“Our youths are often hampered in their efforts to join the mainstream of economic growth because of inadequacies in the preparation they are getting to take on their responsibilities as productive and contributing members of society in the workplace. A lack of job readiness is a real issue for thousands of youngsters around the country.”

During the boot camp, the pupils underwent sessions in communication, perception and attitude, teamwork and problem-solving, networking and professionalism, with training done primarily through the performing arts and adapted to the various age groups.

This was all thanks to the Tsogo Sun Arts Academy’s year-long programme which now features an increased focus on job readiness and on the measurement and evaluation of the effectiveness of the programme.

The revised programme accommodated 150 youngsters selected from three primary schools who were from Grade 4 to 7 and two high schools in disadvantaged areas such as Diepsloot High School and Muzomuhle Primary School in Diepsloot, Johannesburg Secondary School in Homestead Park, Malvern Primary School and Dowling Primary School in Westbury.

Collaborations are key to the programme as they include miniMAX Youth Development, which was powering the programme and initiating collaborations; Raizcorp, a miniMAX partner and network link to other organisations; and various contributors to the enhancement of the programme.

miniMAX has developed a programme for the academy, which starts with Activate and Assess, the application and selection stage of the programme, presented in a workshop format to create a broad awareness of the programme, its goals and value, within the community.

Sunet Wagner, founder and CEO of miniMAX explained, “It is important that their skill capacity in life and job readiness is built to equip them to return to their schools and effect change as community influencers and leaders.”

Another step in the programme was access to the boot camp at Blue Hills College. At the start of the winter school holidays, pupils were made aware of their own strengths and potential and how these newly-acquired skills form the cornerstone in securing a brighter future for themselves.

Pupils took what they learned at the boot camp back to their communities to experiment, hone and apply their skills.

Source: Fourways Review – Masego Seemela