South Africa still has a great number of communities that totally have no access to information sources in exception of the school books granted by the government. This creates a challenge to the young and potential leaders of tomorrow. Lack of useful information also impairs the intellectual capacity and therefore recreates a stream that yields nothing but poverty trap to those living in such designated areas. It is of vital importance that all government and private stakeholders take the social responsibility initiative in assisting learners from rural areas by providing mentorship and relevant information to help them deal with challenges and barriers that hampers them from accomplishing their goals.
Despite the impairment of intellectual capacity and other consequences mentioned above, lack of information to high school learners (such as about different careers fields and the diversity of jobs available to those who hold tertiary qualifications and also different sectors that one can aspire to work for, as well as bursary opportunities available) leads to even more challenges to the community at large. Some of these challenges are:
Loss of interest on the chosen field of study – This is mainly because learners have got no prior clear overview and understanding on the career they choose to follow. This then leads to learners having to negligently choose anything they deem appropriate so as to get admission at universities, only to find the degree content to be nothing as expected and therefore loose interest.
Funding problem – learners from rural areas hardly have access to bursary application forms (especially with the introduction of the online application process that many funders are adopting). From my past dealings with learners from rural high schools I personally have come across a child who had not applied for anything (It was saddening that it was already during June and after many of the funders have already started with their selection processes). Because the learner achieved good grades the only help I could give was to get him into UCT, could not find a formal funder but only a sponsorship from a local business man).
Lack of motivation- Some learners just however have no motivation since only a few people from their communities, and even at their own homes seem to be successful ( The possibility of crossing the success line seem to be almost impossible to them)
With the challenges discussed above one can see the seriousness of it, as such may lead to university exclusions (due to poor performance or on financial grounds) and drop outs.
Purpose, Mission and objectives
This project is created to take initiative in countering the contributing factors towards challenges described above, which is depriving young individuals the opportunity to partake in developing the country with resourceful, high quality skills that education has to offer.
The Leadership Camp is aimed at bridging the gap between universities, high school learners and the corporate world. It will help learners to set realistic and clearly defined goals for their future. Through the provision of various activities that enable learners to engage and enhance the skills required for them to be able to stand the competition that comes with every opportunity.
Post camp motivational talks will also be organised at random school visits.
The first step to a clear goal is self-discovery. This camp will offer a 3 days esteemed self-discovery and improvement experience to 48 selected learners from selected schools in grade 11 and 12. This event will give learners a chance to discover themselves as they engage in different group activities (such as debates, talent shows, talk shows, problem solving activities and many other group activities) and mingle with their peers. Learners will then be rotated within groups each day of the camp.
This camp will be hosted at one of the Nazarene School of natural sciences as this is a centralised place that may easily be reached by all targeted school learners. A backing up venue will therefore be one of the boarding schools in the province.
During this camp, seven students from different universities will be recruited to serve as mentors and share their experiences and success stories. At least one prior years top matriculant in the province will also be invited to be part in the talk show held at this camp. Successful local business and self-employed individuals with humble and poor background/beginning will also invited to give motivation to the learners. As for career information, at least two universities will be invited to provide a comprehensive explanation on different career fields that learners can choose from.
Some of the traits and skills to be learned and acquired from this camp are: strategic and innovative thinking, Time management, self-confidence, team work, career planning, self-discipline, ability to work under time pressure, study skills etc.
Further administrative issues
Learners will be required to fill in an attendance form, produce an academic report card at entry of the camp site (This will help with future tracking of the learners’ progress and the effectiveness of the project). Two of the mentors will be responsible for capturing the data on these documents into a spread sheet documents for record keeping and future references.
The two documents will then be given to mentors to allow them to have a clear understanding of the mentees at each group. The documents will then be given to the camp director at the end of the first day.
Mentors are also provided with the assessment form that will reflect a detailed report on the learner’s performance and participation during the camp. Each mentor will submit this form on the last day of the camp and this will be used for record keeping and awarding purposes on the last day of the camp.
As many of the funders require some form of community engagement services, learners will also be encouraged to participate in voluntary community services such as at hospitals or orphanage visits during one of their school holidays. Different public and community institutions will be contacted and therefore learners will be divided into groups and assigned dates to visit these institutions. This will also help learners realise that they can also be of great motivation despite their age and backgrounds.
The above community engagement services will serve as a criteria of readmission to future camps (learners who undermine or choose not to be involved in these activities will forfeit future invitations and acceptance to this project in future years).
Mentors are encouraged to act as big brothers and sisters to the learners by providing post camp mentorship and guidance. On that note each mentor keeps the contact details of the learners in their groups and vise versa.
At the end of the camp all learners must fill the camp evaluation form.
After the camp, the camp director will also contact different companies and institutions to provide at least a day work exposure to the learners. Learners will then be contacted and placed to different companies, depending on their choice of study.
Application forms will be requested from selected universities beforehand and completed by those in their final year of high school during the camp and then sent as a batch to the respective universities. As each mentor will be allocated to a group, each mentor will supervise and provide guidance during applications to his/her respective group.
As a vital aspect of any person’s success, academics cannot be left out of the puzzle. An hour of interactive session will be run per subject on the first two days of the camp where selected teachers (preferably with a past record of producing outstanding matric results) will provide guidance on challenging topics (voted by learners) in the challenging subjects (mainly Mathematics, Accounting and Physical sciences). It should be born in mind that this will not be a tuition session but one to provide the skills to tackle challenging questions during tests and exams (subject topic questions may be touched for demonstration of principles).
This activity will serve as entertainment whilst at the same time building confidence to the learners. At this event three external members will be invited to serve as judges. Learners will be allowed to perform individually or in groups. Prizes will be won by the top three performances that will be announced on the final day closing ceremony.
Learners will also engage in debates on practical social and economic issues such as:
- The impact of the use of social networks and the internet in general on their personal lives.
- The challenges faced at school- lack of facilitates, teacher relationships with learners, and the importance of a clean and active classroom environment, use of alcohol and drugs at school premises, peer pressure etc.
- Parental or guardian challenges faced at households, etc.
An hour talk show will take place on the second day of the camp where a business owner, 2 executive representative from two institution (preferably from a finance orientated company and one from a science background) and prior top matriculant will be invited to be interviewed and share their experiences and strategies that made them succeed and become who they are. Learners will also be given a chance to ask questions during this time.
During this session learners will get into a group discussion under the supervision of the mentors on the social challenges they face every day (This will be issues like, Dating, finding it hard to stick to personal study time tables, exam anxiety or extensively issues like abuse and addictions)
Learners will also be engaged in group interactive activities and other brain challenging activities that require arithmetic and situational judgement skills
At the last day of the camp, a closing ceremony will be help at which learners will be awarded with a certificate and medals based on different categories such as participation, the wining group per each activity (where groups competed against each other).
In future times learners who show dedication to their school work and achieve outstanding results will also be awarded. An award will also be given to the most improved learner.
Principals of each selected school will therefore be requested to submit a list of top learners. A set standard and benchmark need to be met for the learners to be awarded. Included in this required standard is a minimum of five distinctions (Maths and English are compulsory distinctions required), the learner must prove to be a perpetual outstanding achiever (i.e. learners are not necessarily recognised at their first time of achieving excellent result- this will encourage learners to accelerate and strive to exhaust their full potential).
The project will be offered to 48 learners from 4 chosen schools in Limpopo province. Each school will select 6 learners in grade 11 and 6 learners in grade 12. Three learners from each grade should be from the Accounting stream whilst the other three in the science stream. This total number is however expected to increase to 72 by June 2015 as two more schools are anticipated to be added.
The project director will oversee the overall running of the camp, strive to ensure that every conduct and event delivers the intended skills, message and achieves the set goal with integrity. He also will be in charge of the ordering, bookings and authorisation of purchases of materials required for the camp.
The head Mentor assists the director in facilitating the works performed by the other mentors. The head mentor will also evaluate the works of his/her core mentors and provide feedback on the last day of the camp
The other mentors will provide guidance, supervision and facilitate the events that the learners are engaged in. They also will have to provide a detailed feedback report on the performance and participation of each learner in their respective groups.
Main control objective
All transactions and items to be purchased as well as the use of these items should be in line with the stated mission and funds must be used wholly and exclusively to the interest of the project and its mission.
2014 Scheduled camp provisional dates
17 July- 19 July
(It should be noted that this are only provisional dates and may therefore be altered should a need to do so arise)
Sustainability and future forecasts and targets
- The project aims to work closely and obtain partnership with at least a total of 6 schools in the province by June 2015 (this means a total of 72 learners from such schools)
- The project aims to also pass on to 1 more province in the country (preferably one of the top poorest provinces in South Africa i.e. Limpopo and Eastern cape) and adopt two more schools from such province in 2016. This project will be piloted in the above mentioned year with the main focus only on a maximum of 30 learners from the selected schools.
- It also aims to partner with public service institutions (such as orphanages, hospitals) for community services purposes by the end of 2015.
- At least 80% of the matric learners involved in this project should manage to get a bachelor pass and an admission at a university.
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