It seems like a long time ago when GhanaThink’s Junior Camp programme was birthed at Ketasco. On that fateful day, mentors from different professional domains converged at the school to give students insights into fields such as as engineering, computing, entrepreneurship, and banking. The buzz generated on campus that day was like no other, leaving everyone clamouring for more. The Junior Camp train has since stopped at numerous destinations: Kalpohin, Pojoss, Presec, Krogiss, Labone, Armesco, Smasco, etc. Counting them all would be an arduous task! To sustain some of the benefits derived from Junior Camps, a GhanaThink team led by Thelma Boamah is developing the Junior Camp Internship Programme (JCIP).
After a few tries, the second Junior Camp Ketasco finally happened on 15th November. As usual, we had mentors from diverse backgrounds, from within the school to corporate Accra and beyond. I was especially thrilled to have new good friends, Tom Tagoe of GH Scientific and Heather Beem of Practical Education Network, around to guide students in science and engineering respectively.
The programme started about an hour later than it should. After welcome greetings, introduction, and the ice-breaker session, a team from Webster University (Philomina and Leonard) addressed the students on educational and growth opportunities open to them in that institution. They asserted that the international environment and liberal arts curriculum provided by Webster would prepare them adequately for the future. After this session, we had two rounds of mentoring. Students were free to choose from a wide array of topics, led by various mentors, as presented below:
• Agbenyegah Kirk – Software Development
• Thomas Tagoe – Neuroscience/Science
• Heather Beem – Engineering
• Emmanuel S. Amekplenu – Leadership and Banking
• Akpah Prince – Media
• Alorwu Noah – Mobile Learning
• Seyram Kartey - Game Development
• Daniel Owusu – Academic Excellence/Volunteering
• Yayra Tay Thomsen – Fashion/Personal Branding
• Leonard Suransky – International Relations
• V.N. Tamakloe – Leadership
• Philomina Abakah – Customer Service/Marketing
• Gameli Adzaho – Environmental Health
|Mentors introducing themselves to the gathering|
The gathering broke for lunch after the second mentoring round. Subsequently, we had two optional sessions. The first one focused on various educational experiences of mentors (Heather, Yayra and Tom) outside Ghana, while the second one dealt with transitioning from Ketasco to the outside world. I was with the latter group, and I must say we had very interesting insights shared by alumni who completed recently and those from earlier year groups. The original panel consisted of Junior Camp lead Nathaniel Alpha, Benjamin Boafor (medical practitioner), and Kirk Agbenyegah (software developer). Along the way we were joined by an enthusiastic bunch of old students who happened to pass through campus after attending a funeral in Keta. People like Ebenezer, Efo Dela, Setorli Tamakloe, Setorli’s sister, and Jeremiah, all shared their “dzolalian tales”. The take away, really, was to utilise various opportunities created in the school environment as these opportunities (for growth) would not be available in the future. I was pleased to learn majority of the panellists passed through the Writers and Debaters Club, a club I’ve been affiliated with since my Ketasco days.
|Nat making a point on the "life in Ketasco" panel|
Junior Camp Ketasco was a big success thanks to the efforts of the GhanaThink team, and also staff like Victor Tamakloe, John Attipoe, Noah Alorwu, and some students who helped to organise stuff around the campus. One-on—one feedback received from the mentors was positive. Someone said something along the lines of “you have a great school here”. The students expressed their delight too, as they shared useful new things they picked up from the sessions they joined. The Junior Camp programme is about awakening and nurturing the inner potential of Ghanaian students. The whole enterprise is led by Nathaniel Alpha, who was part of the very first Junior Camp team. It is gratifying to see what was started in Ketasco quickly scale to have national impact, led by one of the school’s products. That is the kind of confidence we want to build in the future generation.
Have you ever participated in a Junior Camp or mentoring event? What were your experiences?