The Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES) Programme focuses on children with commitment and potential who have been identified on annual Children in the Wilderness (CITW) camps and in Eco-Clubs as showing a particular interest in conservation and/or leadership potential. The curriculum in the programme is an extension of concepts introduced in Eco-Clubs and on annual CITW camps, with a greater focus on career guidance, leadership, team building, communication and further environmental education. The YES camps are usually smaller, with fewer children attending, allowing for focused work groups and increased participation of all children. The YES programme also allows the opportunity for mentors to spend more time with the children and identify candidates for the scholarship and internship programme.
These programmes, previously called Environmental Stewardship Programmes (ESP) have been running in Botswana since 2008, where they have hosted 144 children to date; they have now been introduced in other regions as well. This will allow the CITW programme to grow with the children and continue to provide them with environmental education and support. We are also currently developing a three year YES Club curriculum to be used on a weekly basis in the schools following on from the three year Eco-Club curriculum.
On our YES camps, we focus primarily on the following:
- Team work;
- More advanced environmental education;
- Careers: in tourism, hospitality, conservation and many others;
- Children making a positive impact or change in their community; and
- Children initiating environmental and/or social projects at school or village level.
The main objectives of the YES programme include:
- Growing and developing leaders with an understanding of the environment;
- Enabling children to work productively and positively in teams as well as on their own;
- Developing and enhancing communication skills;
- Enabling children to make informed choices for their future careers;
- Increasing environmental awareness; and
- Enabling us to identify potential tertiary scholarship and internship candidates.
In the end, the YES programme envisages taking children to the next level, preparing them as leaders and for careers in environmental conservation, ecotourism, hospitality and other exciting careers.