A WPC addressed the youngsters at Teen Services yesterday. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
A WPC addressed the youngsters at Teen Services yesterday. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22: A group of schoolgirls this week started a two week ‘boot camp’ designed to prepare them for the pressures of teenage life.

The programme — for girls aged 11 to 14 — is aimed at developing self-esteem, giving them ways to cope with the stresses of teenage life and teaching them how to avoid the perils of early sexual activity, drugs and alcohol.

Carmilita Curtis of Teen Services, which is running the camp dubbed Precious Gems and based on the Rites of Passage programme, said: “We’re hoping to build coping skills encourage them to be stronger. They are at a sensitive age. This is a guidance programme for helping them get through the later teen stages. They might be exposed to sexual pressures, drugs and alcohol.

“We are aiming to give them the verbal and non-verbal skills to be able to avoid these things and build the confidence to deal with the pressures of life.”

Sessions will include dealing with peer pressure, body image, social media, careers advice and cooking lessons on how to prepare healthy meals.

Volunteers from Gibbons & Co will also pitch in with lessons on how to deal with teenage acne, while a make-up artist will teach them how to apply age-appropriate make-up.

Brown & Co has also chipped in with discounted books, which the girls will discuss in daily sessions.

In addition, the girls will learn about team-building and leadership with a day out at Snorkel Park in Dockyard, where they will negotiate an obstacle course and take part in paddle boat races, while the Sandys 360 leisure centre will host a health and fitness day.

Also included will be arts and crafts classes and journal writing on a daily basis to record what they have learned over the two weeks.

A group of around 10 girls will take part in the course, which started on Monday and is due to finish at the end of the month.

Teamwork

Ms Curtis said: “We also want them to experience teamwork and working together so if they have a friend going through personal problems they can cope with that.

“There’s a lot of practical stuff and we hope they enjoy it and learn valuable lessons about how to cope with life as they prepare for adulthood.”

The programme is headed by Teen Services executive director Michelle Wade, backed by Nina Jones, Lorna Reid, Zena Francis and Ms Curtis.

Teen Services is a charitable organization, supported by Government cash as well as corporate and individual donations.

Over its 45-year history, it has helped more than 4000 young people develop the skills needed for life.