A MENTOR … AND A MENTEE: A STORY OF TRANSFORMATION


I have it in me, I will never allow anyone to tarnish my point of view”
I graduated with the hope and aspiration of rising to fame but to my dismay, challenges almost crumbled my great dream. Glory to God, all the challenges are gone now, but I asked a sincere question: What went wrong? I discovered that my environment and I contributed to a whole lot of things, so I accepted my part of the blame.
Meanwhile, I came back from memory lane when I met with a 14 year old girl, Jemima Adedoja (not her real name) at the Activate Youth Camp 2015. Her story reminded me of the beginning of my predicament as a child.
Jemima, a Junior Secondary School (JSS) 3 student, is my mentee and a member of my team – Amber. She is a very brilliant and good looking girl with a promising future, but lacks the courage to relate and express her mind. In short, she had low self-esteem. I took time out to concentrate on Jemima after series of complaint from her parents and other mentors in the camp.
In my interaction with Jemima, she said “I always keep quiet so that I will not make a mistake. My parents and teachers in school believe I cannot do anything. Most times, people ignore my suggestions and I feel I am worthless”. Of course, you are very brilliant and as a matter of fact, I have never seen a young girl speaking with such dexterity like you, I responded.
Afterwards, in all our team meetings, I ensured Jemima contributed to the team discussions. Guess what? The team started adopting her suggestions without hesitation. At a time, Jemima volunteered to be a lead vocal at one of the camp’s singing competitions. Also, she expressed her interest to write about her experience in the camp, immediately, I encouraged her to go ahead. Amazingly, Jemima wrote an article which the editor considered the most suitable article for the moment. You don’t mean it; Jemima exclaimed when I informed her that the article had gone live!
I have it in me, I will never allow anyone to tarnish my point of view, Jemima expressed with a dauntless smile. I will pursue my passion of becoming a renowned blogger while I study hard to earn a degree in the Arts. I was moved to tears because I never thought 7 days could be enough to change a young girl’s perception about life.
Osho Ademola Joel
Mentor, AYC’15

Editor’s Note: I am looking forward to being introduced to Jemima’s Dad to help her channel her path to being an inspirational and world-class blogger

MY STORY …AS A MENTOR, A CAMPER, AND MENTEE

If this piece doesn’t cause you to stop and ponder, nothing will 
Activate Youth Camp is Plugged in again, this is the third season in a row. Although I was not part of the first two seasons, I was only privileged to have known about Activate Youth Camp through a mentor, a friend who has been so inspiring and dear to my heart. The theme for this season ‘The Awakening’ does not only apply to the campers but also to me as a mentor in particular. This is so because some silent questions I have been seeking answers to have been answered somewhat during the course of lectures and sessions meant for the campers. I call the mentees campers as if am not a part of them also. Funny you would say am I too not in camp?
For these teenagers this period will be a defining moment in their lives. They will look back years from now and say “AYC 2015 marked a new turn in my life”. This camp has offered the opportunity to these teenager’s who have in one way or another been hindered, deprived by the society and some by their families from expressing themselves. They have been given the freedom to think, act, make decisions for themselves, although this will be done with proper tailoring by facilitators and mentors. More so, these seven days have been so fulfilling and inspiring; given that it was like I relived the childhood I really missed. I was quickened to the enormity of the task that has to be done in making better the lives of children who have somewhat been deprived by society. 
AYC is a forum where every child is allowed to air their views without a stint of condensation and are set on the right paths to becoming whom God has destined them to become. Thus Awakening the Sleeping  Giant in
Every Child… I for one as a mentor, sessions meant for the mentees has also enlivened me. This has allowed me to have a rethink about my own life. 
The Journey of Guided learning session with Mr. Timon Oviawe, spurred my having a rethink about my life and where i would love to be in the nearest future. It’s important to state at this point that, this is my first Activate Youth Camp, and if given the opportunity, I will do it again to help build a better world and great leaders of today.
I know I have been activated! My apologies to my mentees for sharing in their experiences.

Robert Auta
Mentor, AYC’15

DAY FIVE- ACTIVATE YOUTH CAMP 2015 #THE AWAKENING

Whatever you think of, whatever you imagine, you can achieve – Nancy Isime

BODILY EXERCISES
Day 5 started with the usual morning drills for all the campers and mentors at about 5:45a.m. This is to help everyone stretch their body and prepare them for the activities of the day.
TALKING THROUGH IT
The six teams on camp had a meeting after their breakfast. During the meeting, the mentors in each team commended the children for their performance at the Dance Night the previous day, and for giving their best in the contests so far. They further encouraged them not to relent in giving nothing but their best in subsequent endeavour. Afterwards, the children were informed of the tasks ahead of them for the day. The tasks were ‘action at home presentation and drama night presentation’. This made it imperative for all the teams to rehearse and prepare themselves.
WORDS OF WISDOM
The general session was facilitated by Timon Oviawe, an I.T Expert. He took the campers through the topic: ‘Be the best you can be’. Before commencement on the topic, he asked them to write their dream aspiration at the top of their note, and what might impede them from getting there. He shared inspirational stories and then urged the campers to write a letter to themselves in their future, congratulating themselves for what they have become in ten years time. It was inspiring to hear what the children wrote when being called out to read their letters. He advised them to value their potentials and build a solid foundation for the future using the 4Ds: Determination; Dedication; Discipline; Diligence.
ADDING VALUE TO SELF
The DAY 5 skills session were indeed educative for participants in all the classes, as the children and mentors continued from where they stopped the previous day. The breakdowns of the activities are highlighted as follows: 
T-shirt Production Class: The participants in this class designed t-shirts by themselves, using ink and mesh
Bead-Making Class: The participants in this class made bracelets with crystal beads, and were also taught the processes involved in making earrings.
Tailoring Class: The participants in this class continued from where they stopped in the previous sessions on simple skirt making. They were able to make skirt for themselves, using brown papers.
Shoe Making Class: The participants in this class added stealth designs to the shoes made in the previous days.
Batik and Adire Class: The participants in this class did something enticing by exploring their acquired skills to make designs for mentors and facilitators.
Dance Class: The participants in the dance class were introduced to Salsa dance in groups. It was so captivating.
Photography Class: The participants in this class were in the hall to view pictures of camp activities taken previously, and their performances were evaluated by the facilitator.
Arts and Crafts Class: The participants in this class completed the previous day’s work and did the finishing using spray.
All very enriching for the participants.
JOURNEY OF GUIDED LEARNING SERIES
The DAY 5 ‘Journey of Guided Learning’ was facilitated by Mrs. Okunnu, a seasoned Lawyer, who challenged the Campers on the importance of discipline and decorum. She explained the idiom “the shortest way is not always the quickest way home” using her life experiences. In rounding up her session she charged everyone to be all they can be without losing focus. She ended it with Lighthouse Family’s hit track; ‘I Wish’. The audience were thrilled! 
ACTION AT HOME
We live in a world that is challenged with numerous problems. Thus, the urgent need to start proffering workable solutions to these problems. With the crop of young adults opportune to be at AYC ’15, the zeal to tackle these problems head-on has been triggered in the campers. The teams moved on to present their call to action on global issues affecting their immediate community. Teams Sapphire, Ruby and Emerald did presentations on ‘Cultism’; Team Jasper presented on ‘Same Sex Marriage’; Team Opal dealt with the issue of ‘Child Neglect’; and Team Amber discussed about ‘Corruption’. This session was indeed thought-provoking for the audience, as mentors also learnt something new.
SPORT/GAMES
The sporting activities were a bit different from the previous ones, as campers and mentors played together as teams. The activities included outdoor games (football, basketball) and indoor games (scrabble, tennis, chess etc.). Indeed, it was a delight!
TIMEOUT WITH ABIOLA SEGUN-WILLIAMS
After stretching muscles, campers and mentors converged in the main camp hall for the final sessions of the day. The session was facilitated by Mrs. Abiola Segun-Williams, an Entertainment Expert. She shed light on issues pertaining to entertainment and drama, especially in Nigeria. She shared stories about her successes, challenges, academics and relationship with God. At the end, she admonished the campers on the essence of building a successful career, and how best to go about it. 
DRAMA NIGHT

The night was agog once again with the drama performance of all the teams. They acted stories on diverse topics that directly affect them. Everyone was delighted to welcome Nancy Isime, a Presenter of Project Fame West Africa. She was thrilled with the children’s Stage performances and did not hesitate to promise them her support in acting, should there be any opportunity anytime soon.. Before leaving the stage, Nancy shared a bit of her story to encourage the campers on the likely challenges they might face on the road to success. The night was brought to an end with group photographs and autograph signing by Nancy for virtually all the campers. It was really a night to remember. 

Another Camper chimes in …

I don’t even want to go back home!
Activate Youth Camp, hmmm, where do I start from. This is my first year here and to be honest, I didn’t want to come. I felt like I had better things to do, but from Monday, 27th – Friday, 31st July, 2015. It has been a whole lot fun. Right now, I don’t even want to go back home, for sure I am coming next year. When I came to AYC, I was very, in fact, extremely shy, but this programme has helped to boost my confidence now.

I can comfortably stand up to volunteer for any impactful activity taking place around me. AYC has also helped me to control my attitude and character to people, how to relate (etiquette), and how to never give up on my dreams.
For sure AYC has activated me to be who I want to be and how I can achieve it. Thanks to Mrs. Kikelomo Omooba for starting up the initiative.
Adekunle Anita

AYC15 Camper

Congratulatory Letter to Self …2025

You cannot beat the dreams and aspirations of #AYC15 Campers when prompted to write a letter to self,  to be delivered in the year 2025. Here goes Victor…
Dear Victor,
I hope all is well with you and your family. I heard that you are now the Chief Accounting Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, well it is a great pleasure.
I am very excited and happy that I have achieved this great success and my ambition which I have been longing for about a decade now.
Yes, one day Obi will surely become a man and now it has come to fulfilment in my life. I give thanks to God most especially for making this day possible and for making me to accomplish my ambition as the Chief Accountant of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Thanks to God Almighty.
Yours sincerely,

Victor.

I Found My Path in Life

Wow! #ActivateYouthCamp!! should I call it a blessing? or my manna from heaven! It has been four good days. I have heard words and I have met with distinguished people that I believe are God-sent. I thought #ActivateYouthCamp is one of those camps you go to and come back feeling dry, but no, this one is unique, one of a kind. 
I still have so much to learn and I am happy about the amazing people I am meeting. This camp has really started working in me. I am positive that God brought me here to ‘find my path’. I found my path here, right in this camp. Now I realise that God is for everybody and if you leave God, He will leave you.
I know that life is not that easy but if you have God you have the strength you need. ‘It is in me’. I will not give up on my dreams. I have my own path to create. I have it in me!
Christiana Ibiwoye

#AYC15 Mentor

A DAY OF INSPIRATION AND ‘SINGSPIRATION’

Day 4 was enthusiastic! We all woke up to the field for our drilling exercises. The day’s activities started with reminisce of yesterday’s event and sharing our inspirations. Going for team meetings, the task was to continue brainstorming for global problems and proffering local solutions then to rehearse songs for the night’s music competition.
The general session for Day 4 was “Pictures Galore”. We had group pictures where we formed ACTIV8 and various shapes in our teams. We took group and personal pictures of our friends and the photographers were at their best for the whole duration. 
Skills learning continued in earnest with campers learning skills in various Arts and Crafts, Make-up, Photography and Knitting and their creativity began manifesting since they needed time to take shape. Arts and craft made bags from looms and small jars from old newspapers. Knitting made berets and bags perfectly while photography class were in the field taking portrait pictures as assignments.

Mr. Adebola Odu-Onikosi in facilitating the journey of guided learning challenged campers to be at their best and strive for excellence. Using life examples of his growing-up and learning years in Mushin on his personal journey to excellence.

On Action Home, the children preferred solutions to global problems having local implications. It is always a delight when children within a short space of time can provide smart and innovative solutions to global issues.
The night session was the best of all as we had renowned gospel act Gaise Baba perform his hit song “ Awa O Tush O” getting everyone on their feet dancing to the glory of God. Gaise went ahead to challenge campers to maintain their virginity till they are married and to take the “Chastity Vow”. The night ended with singing competitions where all the teams put up a great performance

It is always anticipated that the next day would be the best of all!

DIFFERENT SETS OF BEAUTY

One of our amazing mentors shares some of her early experiences.. Be enthralled

I registered for the 2014 AYC camp but couldn’t make it because I couldn’t be excused for a week from work. However, that didn’t stop me from registering for AYC 2015. I am glad that I could take time off work to be here. My experience hasn’t been a bed of roses, but it has been laced with different sets of beauty. I had thought I was coming here to be a mentor and be of help to the campers, which I am doing to the best of my abilities. More importantly though, I have also been mentored as a mentor. We got here a day before the campers and had facilitators educate us on diverse topics that will enhance our role as mentors. I particularly enjoyed Mr Taiwo Akinwumi’s session and though his session was funny, it was enlightening. I understood that even trivial things might not be so trivial when it comes to raising the right kinds of teenagers and children. Even songs, words and ‘white lies’ shape them in one way or the other. They do as we do, not as we say. So we must not only speak right around them, we must do right. We must be right.

I paid with my time to be here, but I can say I have gotten a whole lot more. What is time without knowledge? As I earlier said, it hasn’t been a bed of roses. There have been times during the 3 days I’ve been here where I’ve been upset about a thing or two; but we’re humans and we err. What motivates me though is that we all are here for a great cause. We might not see eye to eye on certain issues, but we must keep our eyes on the goal; which is to raise a better generation. And that is exactly what we’re doing.
I’d definitely love to be a part of AYC 2016. Not just because I’d like to be a mentor, but because I know I’d also be mentored and will leave the 7 days camp a better person.I haven’t left AYC2015 yet, but I can tell that there’s also been a paradigm shift. 
Mobolaji Olorisade.

A DAY IN ACTIVATE YOUTH CAMP 2015

“… I told you it was amazing” 
Read this brilliant piece from one of our Campers
I woke up at 3am this morning with an agonizing pain in my left leg and did not know what to do because I did not want to wake any mentor at such hour, so I got up and walked around my block. Occasionally, I would walk back to my room and try to sleep. I fell asleep but woke again at 5:30am after 30minutes of sleep which is not exactly the best way to start your day but still forged ahead with hope; hoping  today will be amazing.
I was not disappointed. The day started with energizing drills that woke me up and somehow cleared my head. After that, I went into my room where my wonderful roommates and I got ready for the day with a breakfast of bread and stew. After breakfast, we were all taken to the hall where the camp commandant Mr. D addressed and gave us our agenda for the day. The first on the agenda was team meetings.
I am in team RUBY and our slogan says “We always stand out”. I got to meet my wonderful team mates and mentors who are gems to me. After team meetings, the opening ceremony started. Our special guest was the governors’ wife Her Excellency Mrs. Bolanle Ambode whom we nicknamed our grandmother. Of course, if we have a grandmother, we have to have a mother and this title was given to Pastor Mrs. Kikelomo Omooba the convener of Activate Youth Camp.
After the opening ceremony, we went for our skills training. My  chosen skill is make-up and from the way my facilitator Feyzo spoke and the kind of equipments she carried, I knew she was a professional. I had so much fun learning during her class because she was not boring and did not sound tired or afraid of talking to us. Our next facilitator was in the general session. His name is Mr. Yomi Ogunfowora, he spoke to us on “The journey to guided learning” and gave us advice based on his life experiences.
Later today, I took courage to see the  Camp Doctor who gave me medicine. I do not know what it is but I know he is certified because Activate Youth Camp coordinators only bring professionals so I was not bothered. All I know is that the headache went away and I was able to enjoy the next activity in sports. Our coach took us through different basketball drills after which we actually played and my team won, so you can imagine how happy I was. I also loved the fact that the mentors were participating as well.
Finally we had entertainment night which was comedy and our special guest was Seyi Law. He started by making us laugh and giving us important advice on success with his personal experience. After this, my team mates competed against other teams in a comedy show and we laughed a lot. Team Emerald won but we were all happy for them because we have been taught team work.
One of our mentors Champ Miles bought us a cake and we all had a taste of it after which we went to bed.
So my day started out with a terrible ache in my leg and a headache but it ended with smiles and laughter and a cake. I told you it was amazing.
Pereye Raine, 15years

Team Ruby.

DAY THREE- SELF ARCHITECTS, GREAT ETIQUETTES AND DANCE

A NEW WAY TO ADD VALUE
The fun learning on Day 3 began with the morning drilling exercise to activate campers for the activities of the day before moving to the hall for team meetings where team members had dance rehearsals from an in-house troupe and instructor chosen within themselves then proceeded to share knowledge on what was learnt from the  previous day skills sessions. 
The first general session was led by Mrs Ifunanya Onuh of the Etiquette Place on Teenage etiquette. Her first question; “Teenagers who are perceived as good looking and attractive perform better in class than those who are not. True or false?” stroked a conversation from the children to defend this stereotype. She summarised her etiquette session with the following key points;
  1. OUTER SELF:  dress sense, comportment, body language and manner of speaking.
  2. INNER SELF: Character, Confidence, feeling of self worth and values we assign to ourselves.
The following session was the ‘Skills learning’. 
Dance class perfected the seven steps choreography and learnt how to dance “Onyeoma”; Tailoring class learnt how to make skirts and the shoe making class did some practice from yesterday’s theory into shoes and also learnt the fact that a shoemaker’s hammer is lighter than a carpenters hammer. Make-up class transformed normal faces into beauties like models amongst themselves while the crème de la crème of today’s skills is the Adire and Batik class which started today and successfully complete designing beautiful wrappers.
On the Journey of Guided Learning, Mrs. Susan Oyemade taught the children on “You are the Architect of your Life”. She urged the children to imagine their future, find skills necessary to improve and put it to practice; immediately a child saw herself as a musician and came out to render a song with her sonorous voice. Upon ending her session, she gave them all an assessment to help identify where they are now, where they want to be and actions to help them reach their goals after which all the participants stood up to sing R-Kelly’s “I Believe I can fly”.
These inspired moods were transferred to the field for the adventure series and sports where everybody had so much fun. 
The final session was on dance with Mr. Segun Lawal who enlightened participants that every dance has a message, being unique breeds’ excellence and dance is important to life and to God.  Every team presented a dance performance and He judged the dance performance based on different parameters. Third place Team Emerald, Runners-up Team Opal and winners are Team Jasper!!! The Campers celebrated July birthday celebrants with a sonorous “Happy Birthday” song and sumptuous cake.