-Classroom sessions to highlight social issues
With the aim of educating young minds on social issues through football, the Fruta Conquerors Football Club on Monday morning commenced its eighth annual football academy in blazing sunshine at the Tucville Ground, Greater Georgetown. The camp had initially catered for 40 young boys and girls from Tucville and surrounding areas, and on the first morning there was exactly that amount, much to the delight of the organisers.
Although the camp has been able to attract its intended quota, Secretary of the Fruta Conquerors Football Club, Daniel Thomas, pointed out that late signings would not be denied entry. In giving a comprehensive overview of what has been crafted for the next three weeks, Thomas divulged that the camp will not just enlighten the youngsters on the fundamentals of football, but also edify them on crucial life skills and social issues.
Among the topics to be delivered by experts in the respective fields are Drug and Substance Abuse, Domestic Abuse, Peer Pressure, Anger Management, Conflict Resolution, HIV and STIs, environmental issues, and media relations. Some of the presenters confirmed to conduct the classroom sessions are Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum, Senior Superintendent Angela Harding, University of Guyana lecturers Deon Frank and Dr Carolyn Walcott, former Director of Prisons Dale Erskine, Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association’s Renuka Anandjit and US-based Guyanese Britney Brathwaite.
Football training will be spearheaded by the Club’s Head Coach, Calvin Allen, and a battery of coaches, who will deal with specific areas. “This camp is going to be fun, it will not be just about school work, but we’ve tried to ensure that we cover a wide range of topics. As you know, it’s from age seven to 17, so we wanted to do things that are going to help you and be beneficial to you later in life,” Thomas explained to the eager group of participants.
The Club has been hosting the camp with tremendous levels of success over the years, and Director of Marketing and Communications at the Guyana Football Federation, Rawle Toney, was quick to point out the Club’s contribution to the game in Guyana. He lauded the Club’s executives on choosing pertinent topics, and for encouraging youth participation in football, which can only serve to enhance the development of the game.
The National Milling Company (Namilco), a major supporter of the Club’s programme, has thrown its support behind the three-week academy, as well as Scotia bank, which is on board with the Tucville-based Club for the first time. Both sponsors’ representatives, Affeeze Khan and Jennifer Cipriani, were delighted to partner with the Club, and they both left strong words of advice for the youngsters. Khan urged the youths to treat the camp as a form of schooling, adding that they should grasp every bit of knowledge that is disseminated by the presenters and coaches. He also spoke of Namilco’s ongoing partnership with the Club.
Representatives of the Fruta Conquerors Club, the GFF and sponsors display the footballs that have been donated by Namilco for the three-week camp.
“We [Namilco] have always been supportive of this Fruta Conquerors Club. On day one, they had approached us for help and from day one we have been not the backbone of the support, but we have been very supportive of the backbone,” Khan said during an animated presentation. He added, “We want to wish you well. When … [coming] to these classes walk with a pencil, walk with a book, walk with a little dictionary in your pocket…borrow one from somebody. When somebody says a word write it in your book because you may not understand what he or she is saying. When you get a chance, go to the dictionary and find out the meaning. That’s going to help you to become a good scholar at school.”
Cipriani, in her address to the participants, noted that the programme’s content is one which “prepares you for life.” “It’s life skills you will take away at the end of this camp,” she noted. “And there is one thing I want you to remember; you need to have a plan for yourself. You’re not too young to think what you want. ‘What do I want to be when I grow up? Where do I see myself when I grow up? What do I want to do?’ And don’t let anyone distract you from your plans. Remember that, have a plan for yourself.”
Classroom sessions will be held from 09:00h to 12:00h and football training from 13:00h to 15:00h daily. The academy, which ends on August 21, has received tremendous support from corporate entities such as Namilco; Scotiabank; Guyana Beverage Company; Digicel; Farfan and Mendes; Food For The Poor (Guyana); the Education Ministry and the office of the Director of Sport.