Over the weekend of 30 June – 2 July 2023, the Inclusive Society Institute co-hosted the inaugural Youth Leadership Camp. The camp was co-hosted by the Athlone Development Action Collective and sought to bring together a broad collective of participating high-school learners from across the municipality. With more than twenty schools present through their learners and educators, the camp was able to introduce a diverse group and facilitate conversations that developed into friendships. The diversity of the group lent to a stimulating atmosphere and spirit of collective civic action. While the camp was a resounding success, it remains a pity that none of the former model-C schools or so-called white schools accepted the invitation to partake in a camp that had nation building as a premise.
The campers arrived on a rainy Friday to a warm reception, ice breakers and team building exercises. It took only minutes for the youngsters to settle in; it was immediately impressive to witness their willingness to learn and develop new skills. After a discussion on the values and functioning of democracy, the conversation turned to building community across the racial and cultural divides. The educators, one for every two schools present, closed the first evening when given the opportunity to reflect on how things have changed into the democratic era. It was impressive to witness the youngsters’ admiration and respect for those who came before them. The youth offer great promise in this troubled country of ours.
The Saturday was packed with learning, activity and fun. After a workshop on leadership and another on active citizenship, the group moved outside for team and confidence building activities. After dinner it was movie time, with film maker Nadine Cloete screening her celebrated documentary, Action Kommandant. The inspirational story of political activist Ashley Kriel who was gunned down by Apartheid police.
Sunday would be the last day. It started off with the group taking a stroll along the beautiful mountain slopes above Llandudno. Overjoyed, the youngsters did not need reminders to take photos. After breakfast, it was time the Constitutional training programme, developed and presented by the Institute. Together with the previous two days’ discussions, the programme was well received and engaged with. Altogether, the camp was a significant step in fostering an inclusive society marked by active citizenship. The Institute looks forward to initiating future, collaborative events that help build the nation.