Saturday Youth Clubs
Camp is only eight days. To maximize the experience, Global Camps Africa provides a follow-up program called Saturday Youth Clubs at several locations in Soweto. Hundreds of former campers attend the biweekly clubs each week. For five hours on Saturdays, the camp experience is reinforced through sports, games, theater, and expanded life skills classes. Counselors deliver the Youth Club curriculum using the same approach employed at Camp Sizanani, focusing on supporting and empowering each child. Youth Club participants are also connected to referral organizations for help with challenges they are facing at home and at school, including abuse, food insecurity, and healthcare.
Asikhulisane Kids Clubs
In 2014, GCA identified the need for a program directed specifically to vulnerable children not yet old enough to participate in the residential camp program. Former campers who attended Youth Clubs regularly brought their younger siblings whose care they were responsible for during the hours that clubs were held on Saturdays. When counselors at the Youth Clubs notified parents that the Clubs were intended for children between the ages of 12 and 19 (former campers), mothers from the community approached the Club leaders and explained that the younger children also needed basic life skills education. In one mother’s words, “sometimes by the time the children are 12, it is too late.” In response, the ‘intentional camp’ model that GCA employs for its adolescent participants has been adapted for children between the ages of 5 and 11 years, and specifically addresses basic health information, children’s rights, and the development of children’s personal strength and resilience. When we realized that we were becoming a child care provider, we applied for and were awarded a LinkedIn grant for education innovation to develop the curriculum we needed. We wanted all the kids who came to us to be actively involved in bettering their lives.Launched in September 2014, the Asikhulisane “Let’s Grow Each Other” Kids Club Program is delivering essential life skills lessons in an age-appropriate, supportive, and safe environment.