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Campers relish Lagos Sports summer camp, Edo 2020 heroine, Idrees-Matepo shares experience

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Facilitator, Aminat Idrees-Matepo (third left), with campers at the Lagos Sports Summer Camp in Ikorodu


Children at the second phase of the Lagos Sports Summer Camp, which ended in Ikorodu yesterday, expressed delight at the opportunities offered them by the Lagos State government to learn a sport or skill during the vacation.

The camp is a centre for children between ages nine and 14 given access to learn other skills in sports and vocations while still facing their education. It is organised by the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s office and facilitated by the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC).

Skills learnt include art and craft, tie and dye, makeup, hairdressing, hat making, how to make power bank and power bank battery. Speaking to The Guardian during the week, some of the campers, who expressed fulfillment at this year’s camping, however, expressed willingness to also be part of next edition to learn more skills.

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Narrating his experience, nine year-old Oluwanimilo Adebowale David described the exercise as very nice. “I have made a lot of friends from different schools and tribes,” he said.

According to him, “the facilities in the hostel are very good and also the hall for the sports is big enough to accommodate all the sports that I participated.”

He said, “I would have loved to learn taekwondo as a sport, but because of the temporary pains it causes, I left it and later settled for the dart game, which will not cause any pain on my body. Aside from the dart, I am also thinking about the basketball sport.”

To 11-year-old Miss Itoro Oghenetega from Landmark College, Ikorodu, “I was never interested in any sport until I came to the summer camp. I decided to try volleyball and I think the sport is great because it makes one to be fit.

“I also learnt make up as a vocational skill because I want to make people happy. I equally made new friends from other schools, which I think is a nice thing,” she said.

Fourteen year-old Miss Kumat Oyebamiji, who said she wants to make a career in track and field, focusing majorly in 400 metres, said she wants to be like Falilat Ogunkoya, who won laurels for the country.

“Coming here was a better experience for me because I had to learn things I did not know before. And these are the things I can always fall back on for income in the future. I love other things that we were taught here at the summer camp.

“In sports, I have passion for the 400 metres because of what I heard of Falilat Ogunkoya, I also think I can be successful like her.

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“Other track and field sports I was exposed to included shot put, javelin and others. But I think I need to focus on the 400 metres event so that I can become a legend. The tie and dye is the vocational skill that I learned and I think that can also be useful for me as another source of income in the future.”

According to JSS III 13-years-old Ogbe Peter, the summer was an eye opener, adding that he wants the state to add more sports to the ones offered at the camp.

“I learnt a lot from this summer camp and I want to thank Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for this idea. I benefitted a lot from making friends and learning new skills, which I never thought was possible.

“The idea of how to keep fit is what I really like, especially when my sport is the 100 metres. It was a good session that I really enjoyed and I will adopt it in order to always make sure that I am fit before running it.

“Other things they taught us apart from sports is how to make a power bank. The idea behind the camping is a wonderful initiative by the government and I will want the governor to provide more funds so that we can learn more things in the next year’s summer camp. This has been a wonderful experience for me and I hope to come a better person at the end of this camp,” he said.

One of the facilitators, who won a gold medal in the Mixed Poomsae category in Taekwondo at the Edo 2020 National Sports Festival with eight months pregnancy, Aminat Idrees-Matepo, spoke on the children on “Sports and Leadership.

According to her, they can achieve any height in sports as long as they put God first. “I told the kids that there is nothing that cannot be achieved putting God first, then practice when it comes to sports,” she said.

“I didn’t just wake up one day and say I want to go into sports with pregnancy; it is something I have been doing right since I was a child. So, consistency is key, also consulting the right personnel and having a good role model.

“I told the kids that when they have a good role model in sports and who can guide them on what to do and not what to do, then they are on the right path.

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“And another thing is to consult the medical practitioners. If I am not medically fit, I might think I can do this, but if the doctor diagnoses and says no, sorry madam we have examined you and you cannot do this. That means you can’t. But if you go against doctor’s advice, you are on your own.

“These are things that should be learnt as an athlete and most importantly, pray to God for guidance and also work hard for success. During my talk I made it interactive, I asked then questions and they all responded because I believed they understood what I tried to tell them,” she said.

Another facilitator, a medical doctor at Lagos State Teaching College of Medicine, Dr. Azeezat Yishawu, who is the founder of Ethics and Political Leadership Foundation: Kids Health, Career and Leadership, said she is an education advocate dealing with young people on civic leadership and responsibilities.

“I was here to speak to the children about civic leadership and that will mean being a leader in the community as well and my focus was to help the kids identify opportunities where they can be leaders, opportunity where they can impact their communities.

“My discussion with them was identifying with the type of leaderships and identifying opportunities that will give them the platform to be able to do more and impact those in their communities and I think that this programme is a good opportunity for young people, particularly in Lagos State.

“They learnt some other social skills and other responsibilities that we believe at the end of the day will mold them to becoming desirable citizens for the state and country at large. I am very happy to be here and I hope sincerely the kids will be able pick one or two things that I told them. I am very proud for what I have been able to do here today,” she stated.

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