Learning to trust and understanding the value of teamwork were two of the major gains experienced by Vision AfriKa’s Grade 9 learners at their annual camp this year.
The camp, which was held in Simonsberg, near Stellenbosch, in mid-January, was attended by 36 students and eight staff members. It started on a Friday evening with the usual traditional “Boeresport” games such as tug-of-war and three-legged races.
But this year, the learners were also divided into four teams, each of which was assigned one of six words relating to Vision AfriKa’s values. These are:
Participants from each team were given a letter from the word they received and the group was then asked to put them in order. The first team to get all of the words correct was given a prize.
A ‘Life Map’ session followed, in which one of the teachers asked the students to use the words they had formulated to explain how they intended to progress with their lives and improve their academic results.
The final event of the evening was a night walk, in which everyone was told a scary story about the owner of the property who had passed away. They were also shown his grave. The aim of the exercise was to help build trust among the learners so that they would become more supportive of each other.
Trust and teamwork
After a good night’s sleep, Saturday began with aerobics and was followed by an obstacle course after breakfast. Through exercising teamwork, all of the students managed to finish it and were then able to go for lunch.
A guest speaker came up next. Ambesiwe Goje was a former member of the Vision AfriKa programme who is now studying at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town. She encouraged the learners to think about what they wanted to do in life as early as possible and to spend as much time studying as they could. Ambesiwe also advised them always to seek help if they were struggling.
The day’s sessions concluded with an evening concert put together by the learners themselves. They were given only half an hour to prepare, but came up with some impressive drama, dancing and singing to entertain everyone. Then after tea and biscuits, it was time for bed.
Sunday started off with an aerobics workout by the pool, but was swiftly followed by a goal-setting session. The students were asked to think about how they could set their own goals using Vision AfriKa’s six values-based words, an activity that led to them promising to work hard both individually and as a team.
In the final session of the day, the learners were given the challenge of climbing a wall. This exercise requires teamwork to both scale it and get down the other side, particularly as some of the students were afraid and needed the support and encouragement of their peers to complete the task.
But it was an appropriate ending to a camp in which the students learned to trust each other and to understand how much both their peers and the facilitators care about them.