Camp offers fun and learning

Matthew Pierre, community liaison officer, bpTT and national coach, Jilli Dana Gomez, shows these MPPA Camp Fun-da-mental students the proper way to ‘bump’ a volleyball.

SOME 150 primary and secondary school students from Mayaro have started a six-week vacation camp where they will be engaged in a diverse range of educational, sporting and extra-curricular activities. 

Organised by the Mayaro Past Pupils’ Association (MPPA) in partnership with perennial sponsor energy company BP Trinidad and Tobago, Camp Fun-da-mental has its base at the bpTT Mayaro Resource Centre.

Started off initially as an avenue to introduce successful SEA students to the expectations and challenges of secondary school, Camp Fun-da-mental has been transformed over the years to an all-embracing initiative catering to both primary and secondary school students. 

“This camp is really timely. It is actually a godsend. I have three daughters attending the camp. They range from ages four to 12. They have attended the camps in the past. I don’t have to worry about them during the vacation period. They are in good hands and they catch up on their schoolwork, and also get to do fun things, make new friends from other schools and go on field trips,” said Judith Bruce of Pierreville, Mayaro.

Bruce’s daughter, Kerdisha Bethelmy, 12, a successful SEA student who will enter Mayaro Secondary School at the start of the new academic year, is eagerly looking forward to getting an insight into secondary school life. “I am glad to get the opportunity to understand what ‘big school’ is all about. The tutors here will introduce us to the new subjects and what to expect when we enter secondary school. We will be better prepared this way,” said Kerdisha.

Matthew Pierre, community liaison officer, bpTT, said the expanded Camp Fun-da-mental filled a void in the vacation period in the Mayaro region. “It is important that these youngsters are engaged in worthwhile activities during this long holiday period. They will be properly supervised and will take part in fun activities, games, education, and various sporting disciplines. Their parents will also be relived to know that their children are properly taken care of. BPTT is proud to partner with the MPPA, for yet another year, to assist in the development of our young people,” Pierre explained.

Tesila Manoe, MPPA member and camp coordinator, said the initiative provided a safe and welcoming environment where learning is fun. “Especially for the new secondary school students, this exercise will help to reduce the stress normally associated with entering school for the first time. They will be introduced to subjects they will encounter at their new school and the kind of environment they will experience,” Manoe explained.

According to Manoe, Camp Fun-da-mental should again live up to its name, with the varied mix of activities keeping their children’s brains active and energised during the vacation. “We also hope to heighten an appreciation for sport among the students, not only for their improved health but also to build teamwork capacity and fair-play. Like pervious years, we expect everyone to have a wonderful time,” added Manoe.

Camp Fun-da-mental is run by 15 tutors and three volunteers from the wider Mayaro region. They all have training and experience in various disciplines, academic and sporting. Sporting disciplines taught at the camp include football, basketball, tennis, netball, cricket and badminton.

Most of the tutors are recipients of bpTT Brighter Prospects education scholarship awards. “I was a Brighter Prospects ‘A’ Level grant recipient and it really made a difference to see a company caring so much for the young people of Mayaro. As a tutor at this camp, I see this as a great opportunity to give back to my community and to help other young people fulfill their potential,” said Sarah Mahabir, of Cedar Grove, Mayaro, a student in Management Studies at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.