Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Expanding the Junior Camp Ghana project via Kalpohin Senior High School


 We have Ketasco students to thank for the formation of the +Junior Camp Ghana project. This project is to guide and mentor senior high school students in Ghana to give them insight and guidance on their academic and career ladders. You can read about the story of the first Junior Camp held at Keta Senior Technical School and it happened here. This event would borne out of what some Ketasco students (especially +nathaniel ALPHA) saw while attending +Barcamp Tema & +Barcamp Ho. It happened on January 30, 2013. The next one happened on July 13, 2013. In a school you would have never guessed. Kalpohin Senior High School in Tamale. Yes, I didn't know of this school until this year either. Big ups to +Naomi Selorm+Seyram Freddy Ahiabor and the +Barcamp Tamale team for making the event happen.

After the success of Junior Camp Ketasco, the GhanaThink Foundation was looking for opportunities to do other Junior Camps. After seeing a Tema focused Junior Camp (to precede Barcamp Tema) not happen, it became clear that it would be best to do these Junior Camps per school and not per town or location. So we decided to pick through senior high schools that would be interested in a career guidance event. They'd organize their students and the event and take care of the student related costs, we (the GhanaThink Foundation) would organize the mentors and take care of their costs. It reduces the liability on the GhanaThink Foundation but it also allows us to scale and build within our resources, energy and interest. The first real opportunity arose with Kalpohin SHS because Naomi wanted it to happen and it would be a great way to whip interest for an upcoming Barcamp Tamale.

We called for mentors to participate in Junior Camp Kalpohin. Initially, we were getting a lot of interest from people outside Tamale and had to focus the communication. We're not at the point where we can transport people over long distances to mentor students. That day will come :-) We made use of the Barcamp Tamale social media accounts and the network the team collectively had. We managed to get a number of mentors based in the Northern region, including one fine lady who's based in Wa. I personally couldn't go to Tamale for the event. There are able-bodied people to ensure the success of the event. Seyram, who had attended the Ketasco event, was in the Northern region on Operation Smile duty and was able to help guide the Junior Camp. Now, Naomi, +Mohammed Muntasir Nashiru and +Yakubu H.Yakubu all have helped organize a Junior Camp to go on and lead others in different senior high schools.

The July 13 event had 16 mentors and organizers. They were Seyram, Naomi Adeho, Nashiru, Rabi Salifu, +Karen Sagoe+maccarthy lomotey, Alhassan Abdul-Latif, Michael Kpiebaareh, Mohammed Yakubu, Lawal Rafiatu, Saddique Abdul, Abdul-Aziz Ibn Shiraz, Felix Osei-Tutu and Kofi Larbi. They mentored in various industries and disciplines - IT, Medicine, Education, Social Work & NGOs, Business, and Entrepreneurship, amongst others. The event started around 9am and ended around 2pm.

The Kalpohin SHS students loved the experience as they got the chance to ask many burning questions about the next steps in their education and about careers they were interested in. The mentors especially loved sharing insight, getting to see what is happening in a senior high school and imparting knowledge. The event met the expectations of many of the mentors and they were really happy to have the opportunity. The organizing team learnt to ensure that based on the interests of the students and what subject areas the school is more versed in determine more of where the mentors come from. It's always great to have some old students come back to their alma mater to participate as well. It was a great feature of Junior Camp Ketasco, acknowledging the old students.

You can see more pictures from the event on the Junior Camp Facebook page as well as on the Barcamp Tamale one. As mentioned before, this event happened mostly because of the work Naomi put in. We need more awesome and forward thinking teachers like her around the country, just like Gameli Adzaho too in Ketasco. If you know teachers like these, encourage them to also join this Ghana Educators Google group. More vim to all the educators out there ensuring young people in Ghana are being educated and exposed to make right academic and career decisions. They have the kind of vim and verve with which the Kalpohin students were shouting "more vim" on July 13, 2013. The students had been armed with information and insight to help them build skills and knowledge to become better students and citizens. Follow the Junior Camp Ghana project and stay tuned for when a Junior Camp comes to your area in Ghana or to your alma mater! 
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