“The Way To Get Started Is To Quit Talking And Begin Doing.” -Walt Disney
“The Way To Get Started Is To Quit Talking And Begin Doing.” -Walt Disney
Description of the camp
The Innovate and Excel Teens Boot Camp took place between the 6th and 12th of August 2017. It was Steering for Greatness Foundation First Residential Boot Camp. We were blessed to have Lead City International School partner with us as the venue for the camp, the school facilities made the quality of the camp very high. We had a total of 39 participants – 21 of these were on scholarship and most of them were chosen from public schools within Ibadan through our collaboration with Jumpstart Academy and MAYEIN Mobile Library in the Alaka Community of Ojo Ibadan. We had a fairly gender balanced camp with 18 girls and 21 boys in attendance. Each participant on registration got a camp bag, notebook and pen.
The overall objectives of the camp were to equip the teenagers with leadership, entrepreneurship and technology skills; to learn principles of excellence, innovation and empathetic leadership as they become transformation agents. Being a residential camp, it also provided them the opportunity to work collaboratively, relate with their peers from different backgrounds and develop meaningful friendships.
Skill Acquisition Classes
This camp laid a huge emphasis on learning by doing and ensured that each participant went home with the practical knowledge of one vocational skill. The skill classes they chose from were – Photography, Confectionery & Mixology, Coding and Fashion Design. The table below shows the breakdown of the participants into the classes. We are happy to report that the participants displayed great enthusiasm in the skill classes and were able to display on the final day of camp what they had each learnt to their parents and colleagues.
|Skill||Number of participants|
|Confectionery & Mixology||14|
The downside we observed towards the selection of skills was that there was no female participant in the coding class.
Each day of camp started with prayers and exercise. Some students also had the opportunity to share their personal stories in the mornings in order to get them to know each other better.
Facilitators and Volunteers
Camp was graced with very willing, enthusiastic and committed facilitators and volunteers. They knew their subject matter and facilitated passionately without intimidating the participants.
For the camp, we were very particular about the environment, so we had unconventional seating arrangements for the hall. We had different layouts for each session from U-shape, to circle, to V-shape and group seating.
Group assignments, chores and Collaborative Learning
On the second day of camp, the participants were split into groups and their first task was to choose team names. They came up with the following group names: Young Innovators, Excellence, The Daniels, The Incredibles, Evergreen and the Winners. Then we assigned cleaning, dish clearing and washing roles to the different groups. They also worked on together for their group assignments in the conflict resolution and design thinking classes.
With each passing day of camp, the teens were reminded of the need to embrace Gratitude, to share with others and show mutual respect for each other. After each session, they all stood up to recant the Camp gratitude – “on behalf of grateful LETers, we say thank you”. LETers was the name the decided to refer themselves, short for Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Technology Campers).
We are glad to report that the participants were so well-behaved we didn’t have any incidence of theft or fights between participants. Misunderstandings were well handled and they communicated their differences respectfully. It was beautiful to watch them do their chores of clearing and washing dishes, arranging and sweeping the halls in harmony. The bond between the boys was so strong that it inspired the girls to also organize a bonding activity for themselves in the girls’ hostel after the Thursday session.
We also used the camp post office (envelopes pasted at the back of the room that bore the names of all participants) to encourage them to share feedback, appreciation and encouragement with each other and the camp facilitators and advisors.
Wednesday 9th August was spent at Oluyole Cheshire home as the Community Service day. The teens were split into groups – painting, cleaning, washing, fetching of water. They were initially reluctant but it was beautiful to watch them team up and apply themselves to the service of the disabled people of the home. By the time they got into the heart of the work, they did not want to leave when it was time to go back to camp. The time at the home ended with the Matron of the home sharing the history of the home with the teens and praying for them.
Upon return to camp, we reflected on the experience at the home and most of the teens shared how the experience touched the depths of their being and challenged them not to be self-centered.
Highlights from the daily activities
These are the highlights of each of the daily activities as shared by the teens.
Day 1 – Conflict Resolution (the power of perspectives); personal mission and goal setting; next level leadership
Day 2 – Design thinking (they each designed their partner’s backpack); empathy in leadership; brought science to life through the it’s a gas challenge and worked together in their groups in the spaghetti and marshmallow challenge.
Day 3 – They had a session on entrepreneurship and formed 5 business groups with ideas ranging from recycling to sale of tyedye shirts, food retailing and delivery business. In the evening, they watched the Queen of Katwe, a movie about a girl from the slums who rose to become a chess champion.
Day 4 – Public Speaking, financial literacy and talent show were the highlights of the day. We discovered talents ranging a group that formed a camp song to dance to rap, comedy and dry jokes. The night ended with a general dance session.
Day 5 – A camp drew to a close, the teens had a session on story telling for impact, practiced their pitches, had a session on developing sterling character and wrapped up the last night in camp with a movie – hidden figures.
Day 6 – We had a general feedback session, where the teens shared their thought of the last 5 days. Then we had a closing ceremony with gift presentations.
Lessons learnt from outcome
Organising this boot camp was a great learning curve for myself and the team. The lessons of the pre-camp, camp and post camp outcomes are captured below.
Feedback from participants and volunteers
Apart from the daily evaluation, where the teens expressed their views on each day’s activities and what we could change or improve, we had a final evaluation on Saturday and their feedback are captured below:
Specific areas of improvements identified for next time by participants and volunteers are:
Success stories to share
We are delighted to share the following success stories from the boot camp:
The participants were so enthusiastic about their vocational skills that it was difficult for the facilitators to choose a best student in each class; all the participants in the fashion design class made beautiful high waist pleated skirts, with the only male participant going as far as stoning his skirt as a gift for one of the facilitators. The coding students also wowed everyone by building their personal websites from scratch.
One of the students, Tolu Adesina was so impressed and determined, she immediately started her cocktail & drinks business and has taken advantage of the mentorship platform of the camp. One of the participants, Simiat Agbaje shared her creativity with us by doing a visual caption of each day of camp.
We are thankful that there were no accidents or emergencies and the two health scares we had were handled by the first aid team successfully.
I really wish there was someone here to take a picture of my not so picture perfect self right now. But I can help create the image in your mind.
There I lay on the bed, legs folded, hands on my tummy, eyes swollen, laptop at my legs – open but now joined me sleeping.
So what’s the issue and what am I about to rant about?
It’s simple! Girls, Women, Menstrual cramps and productivity. In other technical terms, gender and productivity. I am not about to give excuses for being a woman, but wait a minute, this menstrual cramp is a real deal.
I wouldn’t normally take to writing about something so personal or using it as an example, but as I abandoned work to give my tummy attention, the wheels in my mind went to work. I remembered on October 11, the international day of the girl child, at Badagry, the speaker before me asked the girls if any of them wanted to change their gender and why.
A few of them raised their hands and one of the reasons was – “monthly menstrual cramp”. Then my mind went to the days I worked as a tax consultant and my monthly friend showed up angry (I hope you get the metaphor). Those days, I won’t be really useful at work till about afternoon.
You’ll either see me restless, touching my stomach every minute, walking back and forth. In summary, I was completely unproductive for the better part of the day.
But then the question is, does this make me as a whole, less human or of less value than my male counterparts?
I can’t really determine whether my monthly friend will come in angry or not but I strongly believe as a woman, I should not be judged because of how I am once a month for something out of my control.
I am not saying cut us some slack, or maybe I am.
I am saying cut the stereotype about women in the workplace or girls in school. Yes life cycle affects our performance on those days, but eh (as my Zambian and Namibian sisters would say), we are on top of our games despite it.
You don’t believe me? See I just wrote this article on a whim and with the pain and weak feeling.
Not all females at work or in class would get the chance to call off work because they just are not in the mood, that would be sacrilege but organizations should not make women feel less of themselves or doubt their abilities because they have to be a woman once a month.
So yes, I will get up from my not so picture perfect state and post this for everyone now. Hopefully you get the call to action embedded therein!