Point Fortin pupils take part in two-week camp
An apiary in Chatham and a meat-processing farm at Erin were the unconventional summer vacation destinations for 21 pupils enrolled in Point Fortin’s Finest, the bursary and leadership development programme created by LNG production company Atlantic.
The pupils were participating in the Juniors Version (13-15 year-olds) of the Point Fortin Finest annual Leadership Development Vacation Camp.
For the juniors, the theme of this year’s two-week camp was “Advancing our Heritage.”
The camp’s activities aimed to foster in the pupils a greater appreciation for the cultural and industrial heritage of Point Fortin. Throughout the camp, professionals, artists and musicians visited the students to speak about the history of Point Fortin and the trials the borough faced in its journey to become an industrial centre. Life skills and team-building sessions were also conducted by camp organiser, The BARCAM.
Marlon Grant, Team Lead, Sustainability, Atlantic, explained that the camp was created to broaden the students’ horizons beyond a focus on academics.
“The Point Fortin’s Finest was originally created to give bursaries to the top ten SEA students in Point Fortin and environs every year,” Grant said.“But we wanted the programme to be more than just bursaries and scholarships. The annual leadership development vacation camp was introduced in 2005 as a way to build a cadre of future leaders for Point Fortin and Trinidad and Tobago. We wanted to create a group of bright young men and women who would have received a holistic experience in education and personal development because of their involvement in the Point Fortin’s Finest programme.”
The camp’s field trip to Erin Farms Ltd in St Francis Village and Nature’s Best Apiaries in Chatham exposed the students not only to the operations of these farms, but also to the importance of agri-business to the local economy. At Erin Farms, the students received first-hand experience with pigs, piglets and the production of pork and processed meats. At Nature’s Best Apiaries, many learned for the first time about the importance of bees to Trinidad and Tobago’s ecosystem.
Naparima Girls' High School student, Kezia Gaskin, 13, said the Point Fortin’s Finest programme was helping to give her a clearer vision of her future career. “Thinking about the future is not as scary, knowing that I would have this programme to help me,” she said.
Jeneal Cunningham, 13, of St Joseph's Convent, San Fernando, admitted that at first she expected the vacation camp to be more fun and games, but realised that it was geared at her development. “It was different, but it was good,” she explained.
Established in 2000, the Point Fortin Finest is an educational initiative sponsored by Atlantic which annually “recruits” the top ten SEA performers from Point Fortin and environs. The students receive annual bursaries throughout their secondary school career and for attainment of their first university degree.
They also participate in the two-week development programme during the summer vacation, which is run for Juniors (13-15 years) and Seniors (15-18 years). With the 2012 intake of ten students, 116 students now participate in this programme.