For the past two years, the Soufriere Foundation together with the Summer Enrichment Programme (SEP) Committee have successfully organized and facilitated summer workshops geared towards the holistic development of our youth. The SEP Committee is a group of concerned citizens committed to the development of youth in Soufriere. The two groups view these annual summer programmes as a medium to address issues that affect youth. In the spirit of fostering meaningful partnerships, the Soufriere Foundation and SEP also partner with other community-based organisations to enhance and execute the programme.
In the year 2008, the groups organised and facilitated a Community Youth Leadership Development Conference which saw the participation of more than 50 youth from the Soufriere community. The conference focused on addressing individual and group capacity-building activities. During the weeklong conference, over 80 young people aged 8 to 35 years old were taught in 37 different workshop topics ranging from HIV/AIDS Awareness to Bookkeeping. The conference drew together trainers from Soufriere, Saint Lucia, and the United States.
Out of the 2008 Summer Programme, the ‘I Can Change a Nation’ ICAN Youth Movement was born. The group is driven by the need to continue providing support and guidance for youth, while also giving them an avenue to voice their concerns and ideas. By engaging young persons, I.C.A.N hopes to not only get young people off the streets, but to also ignite the flame of optimism within them as they unite for positive change.
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In 2009, the Soufriere Foundation and the Committee established another milestone and together carefully crafted a two-week summer programme under the theme, “Leadership through Sports and Service”; which targeted youth between the ages of 9 to 19. On this occasion, the two groups collaborated with two community based organizations, the Black Ambassadors Sports and Community Organization (BASCO) and the Barons Drive Youth Organization (BDYO), to make the programme a success.
The programme was organized with an overarching goal to highlight how successful skills found in athletic competition can be shared with personal, academic, and spiritual success in life. During the first week, youth leaders participated in junior ‘counsellor in training’ workshops. The second week included development workshops and educational field trips interspersed with community service activities. The two-week summer camp drew upon the existing skills and experiences of community members as well as the expertise of Dr. Alice Kasier-Drobney, a professor from Slippery Rock University (Pennsylvania, USA) with experience in community and youth development. The Soufriere Foundation has facilitated the presence of Dr. Alice-Kaiser Drobney for the past two years.
For the 2010 programme, the Committee together with the Soufriere Foundation plans to continue its work by offering a one-week workshop geared towards improving youths’ skills in Art and Craft. Recognizing the fact that Soufriere is a major tourist destination, the Soufriere Foundation believes that youth need to develop skills that offer them opportunities within the industry. The development of their skills in Art and Craft would provide them with improved opportunities for self-employment. For this year’s programme workshops will be held in Creating Decorative Towels Making , Photography, Knitting & Crocheting, Jewellery Making, Budgeting, Floral Arrangements, Marketing, Creative Arts, Furniture and Headboard Upholstering.
The week of activities will draw upon the skills and experiences of various persons in the Soufriere community, who are known and recognized for their expert knowledge of Art and Craft. The Soufriere Foundation believes that these persons will be a source of inspiration and motivation to our youth. The youth will in turn benefit from the skills and knowledge transfer and an improvement in their self-confidence and self-esteem.
This year’s programme is open to school leavers who are 15 years of age and over.
The Soufriere Foundation remains fully supportive of the Soufriere Summer Enrichment Programme and will continue to offer its financial and administrative support to the programme.
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