Ikageng Itireleng Aids Ministry Soweto | Kwalata Adventure Centre – Dinokeng Game Reserve Gauteng
Camp Footprints specifically invited children from Ikageng Itireleng Aids Ministry based in Soweto to join us for 4 nights and 5 days of fun camp adventures, game drives in the Dinokeng Big 5 Game Reserve and the usual water, art, dance, drumming and song activities. This camp was extra special as Camp Footprints was being accredited assessed during the camp by our USA partners, SeriousFun Childen’s Network to be become a member in their Global Partnership Program (GPP). SeriousFun Children’s Networkwas founded by the well known actor and philanthropist Paul Newman and hosts camps for children with serious illness in 30 programmes around the world helping children and their families reach beyond their illness to discover, joy, confidence and new possibilities.
As this accreditation was essential for Camp Footprints’ acceptance into the internationally renown camp family, we knew that under the amazing stewardship of a fierce advocate for children’s rights in South Africa, ‘Mum’ Carol Dyantyi, these young people from Ikageng with their enthusiasm and high energy would make us proud and step up to the plate and join in to positively contribute to our successful accreditation which they did with aplomb.
We had a very special GPP team supporting and guiding us throughout the criteria accreditation process sharing their invaluable camp knowledge and skills with our Camp Footprints team. Thank you Tim, Rebecca, Sophie, Jared, Elizabeth, Mary, Dani and Christine! Our amazing camp crew also came up stellar with their energy and enthusiasm during the many training workshops in preparation for the criteria visit before this camp and during the camp keeping the campers entertained and upbeat. Finally to Dr Nicole Kucine and Zac Gannett who came out from the USA for the actual accreditation ‘test’. Thank you for making this final assessment process much less intimidating than we had anticipated and feared! After months of diligent preparation and many late night candle burning hours, Camp Footprints passed the SeriousFun Children’s Network and their Global Partnership Programme’s criteria assessment with full marks! The Just Footprints Team is delighted that Camp Footprints is now a fully fledged member of the SeriousFun GPP programme which is a serious feather in our caps. A score of 100% was achieved in all categories of this vigorous international camping benchmark – showing that Camp Footprints’ camp experience and expertise in hosting fun outdoor camps with intentional learning and play for children with serious health and life challenges and disabilities is up there among the best in the camping world!
At this camp and with great excitement we also unveiled our very own camper friendly ‘Med Shack’, our dedicated camp medical unit under the supervision of Doc Ed Jooste and our super nursing Sister Mbali Buthelezi who manned the clinic to give medical support to the camp crew and staff as well as the daily visits of the campers to the clinic for their medication and have any bumps, scratches, bruises and ailments attended to. Our sincere thanks to Kwalata Adventure Camp’s Trevor Keith and Daniel Kriel of Prodehl Projects who made this Med Shack happen under immense pressure and time restraints.
Samantha Clark, associate director of quality assessment and due diligence for SeriousFun Children’s Networks said of our achievements” Everyone here at SeriousFun is proud of your hard work and commends you on your performance. Preparing for a criteria assessment, and hosting your visit is difficult work, but shows the performance of the entire team working together, to make the best possible opportunity for our campers. You have passed your criteria assessment with a score of 100% on all 5 sections: Medical, risk, programme, HR and facilities. This is not an easy feat to accomplish, and I encourage you to take some time to celebrate with your Team”.
Ikageng provides services and support to children in Soweto who have been orphaned or affected by AIDS, as well as young people living with HIV. Many of Ikageng’s children live in child-headed households, where they take on the role of parent and look after younger siblings. Others have a terminally ill parent or live with a grandparent who struggles to get by on the small pension provided by the government. Ikageng’s holistic approach connects children to food, clothing, school fees, healthcare, life skills training, transportation and psychosocial support services to help them thrive.
Our Russian Jenya was again a major asset during the camp and the campers just loved her. She was like the Pied Piper with a string of campers following her every move.
Our thanks again to the Twinstreams team who made these camps extra special for the special children Camp Footprints serves.
Pictured above is the seriously pleased and happy Camp Footprints team with their coveted certificate.