Creating a better Mzansi through sport and development
The word UNIQUE seems to be an understatement when describing yesterday’s training event for the youth leaders, courtesy of Youthzones and the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE). The level of responsibility and innovation exhibited by the leaders proved that the core objectives of Youthzones are being realized. Slowly but surely we are getting there!
Part of the strategy devised by Doc, as we later realized, was for nobody to give us any instructions for anything hence we had to initiate activities on our own, be it cooking, sitting arrangements or anything, just to prove and gauge our leadership abilities. As he deliberately delayed showing up, it was heart-warming to see all the leaders coming together and kick-starting the program. We went through the homework Doc had given us prior to the event thereafter we shared experiences from our communities. The tranquil environment at the new office was a masterstroke as we went through our activities with freedom and without any fear of getting mugged etc. By the time Doc showed up, I am sure he was very impressed and satisfied to see the positive effect of the work that he and his passionate team have been doing with us over the years as the leaders were already down to serious business.
As he took over the platform, his words were not so many but were pregnant with inspiration. He challenged us to step up our act and take charge of our destiny so as to develop our communities and us. The main emphasis of his training was to further instill the sense of ownership in us by enlightening us that Youthzones is not a program but a network of relationships and creating opportunities for others and ourselves. He was very direct in his approach and drilled into us what the Youthzones logo stands for and how we should remove ourselves from social isolation. He told us of the need to activate all 4 aspects of Youthzones namely Sports Participation, Computer Skills (IT), Life-skills and Enterprise Development. We evaluated and saw that most of us are excellent on sports participation but we are still being found wanting on the other 3 aspects hence the need to improve forthwith. Doc further emphasized that he coming in of partners like GDE and their invaluable support will make it possible. By networking through Internet and our website, we will learn from each other and also get exposed to the world and get valuable connections. Among us there are some who have managed to get employment and some are running their own businesses so we should be inspired. Life-skills booklet will always come in handy to make us better people and team players and will be employable eventually. On Enterprise Development, without hesitation, we came up with several business proposals that we shall present to FSSA for support. Teamwork was encouraged for us to achieve our goals. Hard work and diligence will always be rewarded. We are also to give constant and honest necessary feedback of our achievements and challenges as well. We should never stop learning and doing what is right so that we add value to our lives, our teams and our communities at large.
To wind up the event, we had a wonderful braai that further consolidated our togetherness. All leaders were given sports and IT equipment like soccer balls, netballs, USBs and beanies for their teams. The renewed sense of hope and belonging was evident as we returned to our respective areas. As I write, the networking has already taken strides as, in addition to our Youthzones website, we already have a Whatsapp Chat Group and Facebook page namely Youthzones GDE Sites, where we will continue networking from now onwards.