INDIA: Salesian Summer Camps Provide 1,600 Youth Sports, Recreation and Arts Skills Training
(MissionNewsire) Don Bosco Recreation Center at Don Bosco High School Matunga in Mumbai organized two summer camps held in April and May. The camps had more than 1,600 youth participating in sports and arts activities. Don Bosco institutions across the Mumbai province have been leaders in providing youth with world class sporting and educational facilities and infrastructure to help them hone their skills.
“Our theme for the summer club is 4G: gather, grasp, glow and grow,” says Salesian Brother Joyston Machado, organizer of the summer camp. “We encourage youth to participate and do their best. We also provided a trust building exercise where we blindfolded the participants and asked them to walk on a brick line following the guidance of their team mates. It builds teamwork and communication skills.”
During the two camps, youth took part in sports including football, basketball, advanced and basic gymnastics, cricket, roller skating, lawn tennis, basketball, fencing, judo, abacus, and table tennis. Those interested in fine arts had the option to enroll in courses for vedic maths, calligraphy, music, dance, art, speech and drama.
“They love the camp,” says Shruti Raut, whose sons enrolled in the basketball camp. “I had asked them to please stay home this summer because I get tired dropping them off and picking them up in this heat but they enjoy it too much not to go.”
Amin Khan enrolled in the skating, basketball, and personality development and public speaking camps. Though he attends weekly skating sessions throughout the academic year, practicing daily at the summer camp gives his an extra edge. He explained that he is preparing for a world record challenge and that the camp allows him to have the extra practice he needs to succeed.
Salesian-run institutions across Mumbai are among the first to install Astroturf facilities to train youth in hockey and football. The facilities are also available for the public for seven-a-side competitions.
“Parents appreciate that there is no place like Don Bosco,” says Barrington Serrao, sports
coordinator at Don Bosco High School Matunga. “We have the grounds and the facilities. Our fees are also low compared to others. The parents also benefit as while their kids are playing at the camp, they have some free time and can go for walks on the school grounds. It’s a win-win situation for all.”
With more than 1.2 billion people, India has the world’s fourth largest economy and according to UNICEF, is home to one-third of the world’s poor. Close to 217 million of India’s poor are children. Although more than 53 million people escaped poverty between 2005 and 2010, most remain vulnerable to falling back below the poverty line.
India’s youth face a lack of educational opportunities due to issues of caste, class and gender. Almost 44 percent of the workforce is illiterate and less than 10 percent of the working-age population has completed a secondary education. In addition, too many secondary school graduates do not have the knowledge and skills to compete in today’s changing job market.
Salesian programs across India ensure that youth have their basic needs met and the education and workforce development services need to live to a healthy and productive life.