Imagine growing up in a community that’s so peaceful and quiet, that it actually becomes boring to be a child. We all know that a bored child is going to seek attention in one way or another and that’s when the community becomes a safety hazard for a child’s future.
Every day is a test in a young person’s life. These tests can either lead to more life or lead a child to a dark tunnel of bad decisions.
Well, we as the Youth Café Great Brak River Staff realised this and decided to take control and at least make an attempt to save the future of this community.
How will we do this? Through play! Yes, you read it right. We want to play, because it’s more than just games. See, we realised that the best way to connect with a child is to descend to their level of thinking. When we make play the foundation of learning, we teach the whole child.
Playing games with a purpose means the child learns new skills without them even knowing it. Skills that society is going to seek from them as they grow up, such as teamwork and communication, discipline and respect, as reflected through the games played during the holiday program.
We strive to make kids realise from a very young age that they aren’t alone out in this jungle and that more life exists wherever they plant their feet and that they should plant their feet with the hope of growing. It is for this reason that we decided to incorporate life skills into the September holiday program and deal with topics that even teachers at school tend to run away from.
We assigned three willing and capable individuals with topics that we believe needs to form part of the vocabulary of young kids namely ‘emotions, bullying and peer pressure’.
The topic on emotions was assigned to a clown named “Cluster” who discussed emotions with the kids and how to better express and overcome their feelings. The clown served as a symbol of happiness and perseverance because although the clown was always made fun of for being different, it’s actually being different that makes the clown happy with his life.
The topic of ‘bullying’ was assigned to “Zorro the Masked Vigilante” who painted a clear picture of what bullying is and what a bully looks like. He gave the kids the most amazing advice on how to deal with a bully without becoming a bully themselves.
Lastly we had a witch, but this witch was different from other witches. Even though she wore dark attire, all she wanted to do was be good to mankind. She actually spoke about ‘peer pressure’. She gave information about how a friend can secretly be your enemy and wants you to make bad decisions. She told us that if we don’t choose our friends wisely, we’ll get into a world of trouble. The witch really changed our minds. She served as a strong woman who can change people’s minds for the good of mankind.
We call this holiday program a success story because seeing a happy face on a child as he leaves the building is the best reward the Youth Café could ever receive.
That being said, we couldn’t have done it without the help of the community, businesses and various stakeholders such as the Mossel Bay Junior Town Council, Great Brak River Child Welfare and the Western Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (MOD) which sponsored food and sporting equipment without which success couldn’t be promised. Our gratitude goes to them in 50litre buckets of love and thankfulness.
We are super excited to see what the next holiday program will bring and the faces we’ll see on the premises. We wish to make social change a reality in our community but cannot do it without the help of our community. We will see you in December for another great holiday program.