We recently hosted two fully fledged CITW Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES) camps at Return Africa’s Pafuri Trails Camp. The camp curriculum was set at a higher learning level than on previous camps. Eight boys participated on the first and 8 girls on the second camp. Children were invited to submit application essays titled “What I can do to improve the environment around my village” and selection for campers was based on these. Topics covered Leadership and Values, Diversity, Biodiversity and My Natural Heritage, Invasive and Alien Species, Sustainability, Our Solar System, Orienteering, Decision Making and My Future, Study Tips and Presentations, Appreciation and Giving Back in My Community. Game drives are always a highlight. The bittersweet highlight on the girls’ camp was seeing a live snared lion. This generated much discussion about poaching.
Despite the heat of the day, the boys enjoyed the Datura plant removal along a section of the Pafuri Airstrip. The girls got to pick up litter along the tar road in the Makuleke Concession of Kruger National Park. They each made their own anti-litter placards to wear during the litter pick up and displayed them every time any vehicle went past from Park staff, police, tourists and those using the park as a thoroughfare to Mozambique. Many of the tourists and lodge guests stopped to take photos of the girls and compliment them on their efforts and placards.
Some quotes from the children’s feedback forms: on ‘What difference has CITW made in your life?’
- It has taught me about my environment and it has made me aware of the environmental problems we face – Tracey (17)
- They made me to know history of our community and nature conservation – Request (15)
- It made me to know and discover myself. It made me know how to plan for my future and it has given me the fierce to care for my environment – Destiny (15)
- It gave knowledge and experience about many challenges that I could face in life and how I could overcome them – Thabo (18)