Welcome to Activate Youth Camp 2015 Day Two- Sit, Learn, Reflect, Run, Shout, Leap, Jump, Dance .. 

The Day 2 activities started with a rigorous drill in the early hours of Monday, 27th July, 2015. The drill was very much needed as it availed the children and mentors the opportunity to stretch their limbs and shake off malady, before commencement of the day’s activities.
Lest we forget, all the campers were divided into six (6) teams on the first day of camp. The teams are Amber, Emerald, Jasper, Opal, Ruby, and Sapphire. All the teams broke out into groups and each of them initiated a slogan to identify with throughout the camp period. The chanting of the slogans was quite intriguing, as it facilitated team bonding.
The commencement of the 2015 edition of Activate Youth Camp was officially declared open by Her Excellency,  Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, First Lady of Lagos State at about 9:00am. The opening ceremony was packed with: Arrival of invited guests; Arrival of Her Excellency , Opening prayer; Introduction of key dignitaries; Welcome address by the Convener; Short documentary of previous AYC Camp experiences; Special Musical presentations; Goodwill Messages; Key note address; Vote of thanks; Group picture. Her Excellency in her key note address, admonished the children to remember that the essence of the AYC15 Camp is to bring out the hidden talents in them. She therefore implored them to feel free to pursue their respective passions, skills and vocations, be it cooking, weaving, baking, hat making, handcrafts, dressmaking, hairdressing or indeed any other. Her Excellency gave a resounding commendation to the convener, for deliberately focusing on public schools amongst other things. Before her departure from the camp, the children expressed their appreciation to Her Excellency, the Convener and her husband, including all mentors, and as well as themselves for being a part of AYC15
Next in the activities for the day was the ‘Skills Class’ segment. This is one of the most educative segments of Activate Youth Camp. The children and mentors have the hands-on opportunity to practically learn the skill of their choice, ranging from dancing, shoe/bag making, tailoring, photography, bead making, Ankara designing, art and craft, batik, to t-shirt production. The skills class, which is still at the introductory stage, is adjudged world-class, according to the participants. They have access to core professionals in every chosen skill class. This is indeed a rare privilege. 
The series ‘Journey of guided learning’ rolled into Day 2 of the 2015 edition of Activate Youth Camp, as Mr. Abayomi Ogunfowora, a Farmer,  and retired CEO of a Stockbroking Firm started by asking the children what each and every one of them aspire to be. He gave some of the children opportunity to answer his question. Interestingly, their responses were loaded with great aspirations. This geared the facilitator to share the story of his life. How he started identifying with mentors at a much younger age, to be a better person. He also talked about his journey through school from one level to another, and how he diversified into other areas of interest simultaneously. He said he never lost focus of where he was going. In discussing further, he made the children realise that, environmental factors are great determinants in one’s life. He opined that these factors can either make or mar one’s future, depending on how you want it. Meaning that one can decide how he/she wants his/her life to go against any environmental factor. These were the words of Mr. Abayomi. He made the children understand that everyone has their strengths, and implored them to use it to walk in the path of their dreams/aspirations. This is the reality you must face, he said. He satisfactorily answered the questions of the children. The session was ended with a powerful quote from him, “God is for everybody. If you leave Him, He will leave you”. Meaning everyone needs God to excel in their endeavours.
Without an iota of doubt, the sport/games session was indeed interesting. Beyond the imagination of many children, they had the opportunity to choose from variety of sports/games. The types of sport/game available in camp are: Volleyball; Handball; Athletics; Basketball; Aerobics; Football, Table tennis, Scrabble, Ayo olopon; Ludo; Chess.Many children used the opportunity to try out a new sport type that is different from the ones they are very familiar with. Apparently, there was never a dull moment for the children and mentors during these activities. Believe me, mentors too seized the opportunity to keep fit physically and/or mentally. It was indeed energising for all.
Now we can boldly declare: If you are not at the 2015 edition of Activate Youth Camp, you are nowhere! Indeed great things are happening here. The camp hall ambiance during the comedy night was amazing, as Seyi Law, a seasoned Nigerian Comedian, baptised the children and mentors with laughter in abundance. He was the Special Guest for the night, there was never a dull moment. Seyi Law did not only make the audience laugh, he also shared some life stories for them to learn. Pointing to the fact that he did not get to where he is today at once, it demands a process that has taken so much of commitment and hardwork, he said.The comedian told the children how vital education is for them if they truly want to attain their goals in life. Seyi opined that to attain success in life, the following must be considered: Talent; Action; Determination; Mentorship; Hardwork; Humility. All of these coupled with God, will help sustain the attained success. The children were represented from each team to showcase their creativity in comedy. Just like in every other aspect, they never disappointed the audience, including Seyi Law, as they came up with interesting and brilliant acts. When the Guest Speaker was to give his verdict on their performance, he couldn’t stop applauding them for jobs well done. He advised them on developing self confidence and as well declared all six (6) teams as winners. In Activate Youth Camp, everyone is a winner!

Day One- The Experience, the Engagement and the Empowerment

Welcome to Activate Youth Camp 2015 Day One- The Experience, the Engagement and the Empowerment
Some 300 youths signed in, an increase from 200 last year and their learning experience started from the check-in desk where campers carried their bags themselves and chose a specific skill to learn for the period of the camp from a range of Batik/Adire making, Tailoring, T-shirt production, Make-up, Photography, Dance and Knitting

Do you know what happens when the person sitting next to you is a stranger? Don’t guess. At Activate Youth Camp 2015, it was simply impossible to be seated next to a stranger as participants were geared by Ms Mosun Dosunmu from Health Services to get to know at least five new names and make five new friends before beginning her health and safety session. Now ask yourself what happens when everyone sitting next to me is my friend? Ms Dosunmu kick started the day’s session training the campers on health and safety; on how they should control their interactions at home, on a visit and on camp.

Mrs Ruth Goma built on the foundation to charge the participants with the champions guide and creed.  Which states:  
“Finally champions, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are lovely and whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things”
“I will think right, think fast, talk right, walk right, act right and live right because I am a Champion, thank you Lord for perfecting all that concern me.”
To increase the fun and inspirational atmosphere, Mr Kola Oyeyemi took the campers on a “a Journey to guided learning” prompting the kids to look beyond their current limitations and see the big picture in their lives. Questions arose from the participants one of which was “you told us to look beyond our present to the future, and it’s a popular saying that as you lay your bed, so you will lie on it… what should we do? And the inspirational Kola Oyeyemi refered him to the Bible saying “…My grace is sufficient for you…

The peak of sessions were “words of encouragement, empowerment and  enlightenment” by the ever passionate Child protection consultant and activist Mr Taiwo Akinlami who allowed the inspirations flow freely from his wealth of knowledge and captivated the participants.

Upon his closing, one of the kids delivered a stunning vote of thanks but words were not sufficient as he urged everyone to give a standing ovation to Mr Taiwo for his session which will no doubt change their lives forever.

Finally, all mentors/volunteers introduced themselves as the participants echoed after them.
You cannot beat the experience, the engagement and the empowerment of Activate Youth Camp 2015; and this is just day one. 6 more days of fun, learning and impact to go.
Take home for Day One
Develop the attitude of always talking to your parents
Be careful with strangers
If you are going somewhere, ask.
Before you talk, think.
Eat healthy and wisely
At every level, there is a follower and every follower will one day become a leader
Appreciate the beauty God created in you
No matter your background, aim higher
Respect the God-factor and your parents
Read and study
To bring about change… start from yourself.

Bedtime, Lights out. Day Two Starts in a bit!

ACTIVATE YOUTH CAMP 2015 – Mentors In The House

Mentors In The House
It is Saturday and Activate Youth Camp 2015 themed “the Awakening” is going to be like never before. For a start, we had to do some unpacking, fixing and bonding until the doors opened for volunteers and staff training with two training sessions. The first was “Listening” by Champ Ruth Goma to prepare the volunteers in the art and act of listening. The second session was a combo of knowledge on child protection rights/policy and inspiration for volunteers.
On Listening, Champ Ruth defined it as a process of paying rapt attention to an individual; it also involves receiving and constructing what is verbal and non-verbal to make right judgment. Highlighting the principles of listening she stated:
  • Be quiet
  • Prepare yourself to listen
  • Put your speakers at ease
  • Remove distractions
  • Empathise and try to understand the other person’s stand point
  • Avoid prejudice
  • Listen to the tone
  • Be patient
  • Listen for ideas
  • Wait and watch for action
In rounding, volunteers and staff were urged to debunk common listening misconceptions which are:
  • It is difficult to listen
  • I am a natural listener
  • Intelligent people listen more
  • Hearing is the same as listening
  • Gender affects listening.
The atmosphere was on high when Champ Ruth rounded her session and assured the barriers to effective listening can be  eliminated one child at a time if we listen more, not multi-task or pre-occupied with other thoughts and dedicate our time to the kids.
In the second session, Taiwo Akinlami (a Child Protection specialist) enlightened the volunteers on the need to understand child protection policies and protecting the children against Physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and emotional abuse through sharing life stories. He defined a child as “a person between the ages of 0-18 or an adult who acts as a child”. The child is protected under four rings which are:
  • The family
  • The community (where volunteers and staff are categorized)
  • The state
  • The international community
He summarised the meaning of CHILDREN to mean:
C – Care
H – Heritage
I – Individuality
L – Leadership
D – Delightful
R – Respectful
E – Engage
N – Now
The time is NOW to better the life of the child, build their capacity and healing will come. The best gift by parents is not in giving birth but in the training and raising the child because the future of humanity is in their hands. To validate this, a child protection Code of Conduct for Activate Youth Camp 2015 was developed.
At night, Mentors brainstormed on a fun reward system for campers in various teams to eliminate positions and make competitions friendly.
Get ready all, this is a new special: ACTIVATE YOUTH CAMP SOCIAL MEDIA PARTY on Tuesday and Wednesday nights to tell the world what we do and how we do it. Remember the hash tags for our social media  channels are -#ActvateYouthCamp #AYC15 #theAwakening and the official hash tag for twitter is #ActivateYouthCamp.

Get ready to awake the giants in the kids and let the world connect to the vision

To be!

I have heard that beggars have ridden horses.

And that servants who once served have risen to be served upon.

I have read of homeless children who became saviours of the very country that

deserted them

I know of  a boy with no shoes, who later ruled a nation on the African continent

There is a president growing on the inside of a young boy.

There are Leaders in the next generation.

Children who will be great, who will sour to  heights unknown.

I refuse to fold my hands, to be a casual onlooker

I long to be part of something bigger,

I want to get it right where the generation before mine got it wrong

I want to say of a truth,I was here, in this time and place.


Volunteer AYC 2015

Graphics by Orebiyi Ayooluwatunde
Volunteer AYC 2015