Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis (July 24, 2007)
The educational aspects of the Youth Department’s 10-day Summer Residential Camp were highlighted at the opening ceremony on Sunday.
The camp, which is in its 24th year, is attended by approximately 200 young persons. They are being supervised by 45 group leaders and other support staff.
The opening was held at the Zion Moravian Church as a tribute to the late cosponsor Renee Digiulio-Naismith. Renee and her husband Ian have supported the camp for many years raising money in their home state Chicago, U.S.A. Renee passed away earlier this year after a prolonged battle with breast cancer.
Minister of Youth Hon. Sam Condor told the participants that it was fitting that the ceremony was being held in a church as his character was shaped in large part because of the positive lessons and experiences gained at church and Sunday school.
He also cited the cultural and social offerings of the camp and described it as the premiere camp in the Caribbean. The deputy prime minister was extremely proud of the tendency to include children from throughout the region to participate and exchange cultures with locals.In the past, persons from Jamaica, St. Eustatius, and Grenada have participated. This year, 12 children and three camp leaders from Guadeloupe are here to enjoy the event.
Minister Condor explained that the government remains committed to partnering with private stakeholders to ensure the camp continues to lay the foundation for children to mature into productive and well rounded citizens.
Director of Youth Geoffrey Hanley noted that the contributions of the Naismith International Basketball Foundation (NIBF) and local supporters were important. He made special mention of volunteers who he said have been working tirelessly to assist the effort.
Director Hanley echoed sentiments expressed by Minister Condor which honored the contributions of Renee. He read from her personal diary to relay the message to the audience.
“February 20th she said, Lord with your help, I can get my strength and health back to go back to helping others and the kids at the camp. I love to do what I am doing,” Hanley read, adding the Renee left behind a wish list of stuff she would like to see done. “Ian and the team are striving to ensure that every item on the wish list is accomplished.”
Renee DiGiulio-Naismith died one day later.
The camp is being held at the Beach Allen Primary School. Participants will take part in a number of disciplines including arts and craft, T-shirt design, computer, video filming, drumming, dance, photography, basketry, woodwork, painting and tiling.
Tours to sites of interests such as Brimstone Hill and activities such as water day are also planned.