As North Island runs one Children in the Wilderness camp every two years, all the staff get involved in all different aspects of the camp. Sheena Talma, part of the Environmental Team, was the Camp Coordinator/Facilitator this year. The Seychellois bundle of power had discovered her passion for children during the previous North Island CITW programme. For 2011, she planned all activities, environmental games and educational angles in conjunction with Environment Officer, Linda Vanherck. Human Resources Manager Fiona Denis organised the staff welfare for the duration of the camp and Cate Procter and Jens Kozany were responsible for the logistics, team briefs and structure of the event.
From 11-14 December 2011, North Island closed its doors to paying guests once again to accommodate and host a group of Seychellois children for another CITW Camp in collaboration with the National Council for Children (NCC). The participants numbered 30 children between the ages of 10 to 16 from various regions and districts on the main island, Mahé. Most live with their families, while a few are resident at local children homes. The three-and-a-half day camp was filled with memorable experiences for the children, including the observation of a sea turtle nesting one afternoon on East Beach and, to crown it all, on the final day of camp just before their departure, the children danced with joy to the chant of “Chica racka chica boom!” as they watched 19 sea turtle nestlings head out to sea and ride the waves. For the first time in their lives, 30 children were able to see the wonders of North Island that had previously been out of their reach. Their screams of delight and laughter could be heard for miles as they were propelled into a world of luxurious fun and educational activities, which included singing, dancing, tree planting, teambuilding, tug of war, and lessons on how to resist peer pressure and say “no” to drugs and alcohol abuse. Eight guest villas had been put at their disposal to offer an authentic camp experience. The children particularly enjoyed the afternoon dip in the swimming pools as well as dining each night in North Island’s restaurant, where they partook of healthy, exquisite and delectable food. The programme was specifically designed to increase the children’s awareness of the history of the Island and its function as a Noah’s Ark Project protecting vulnerable species – ultimately inspiring a passion for the environment both on the Island and back on Mahé. At the same time, the programme aimed at developing life skills necessary to actualise every participant’s potential and restore their sense of hope and pride as well as build up their self-esteem. Most of the children attending the camp were also involved with the National Council for Children’s Living Values programme.
“It’s not every day one gets a chance to live on such an island, it’s a dream come true and from the bottom of my heart I would like to thank all those who made this a reality”, said Deje, a young member of the programme, who had been presented with this rare occasion to discover new things and live a dream.