Rose-Act Saturday School held another successful Holiday Club for its learners in the July holidays.  As before, the event took place over five days at Altrek, the sports and recreation centre in Alexandra.

Louise Cameron, Rose-Act co-ordinator, explains: “A few years ago we decided to concentrate our Saturday academic teaching to just two subjects, English and Mathematics.  We believe that these are the core subjects that children in Alex need to concentrate on to improve their academic skills and their ability to progress beyond school.  But this left a gap in terms of non-academic subjects such as Lifeskills.  For this reason we added extra-curricular activities on Saturdays after classes as well as two Holiday Clubs each year.  These also give us the opportunity to introduce Christian elements and values into our teaching, as per our mandate as an outreach of the Rosebank Union Church.”

The theme this time was “Who am I?/Who are We? What are our stories?”  This was chosen to fit into the national “What’s Your Story” campaign initiated and driven by the Heartlines Media Company and adopted by the Rosebank Union church.  “Children need to examine their own stories in the light of the stories of other children,” explains Louise.  “What are the differences between us? How do I feel about these differences? How can I be more accepting of other people who are different from me?”

An important change this Holiday Club came when the group leaders – key players in the success of the event – were chosen from the ranks of the Grade 9 learners in the school.  “This was a big step.  Normally leaders come from post-school adults, many of whom went to Rose-Act themselves.  Putting a Grade 9 child into a leadership position was an important move.  To assist these young leaders, we used four supervisors who were experienced in leading groups.  Each supervisor managed four groups.  All in all, it went well and the young leaders rose to the occasion.  They learned a lot from the experience,” says Louise.

A highlight came on the Thursday, when YFM 99.2 FM radio station set up a three-hour live outside broadcast from the Holiday Club.  This was part of its Mandela Days partnership with Rays of Hope, whereby 2 000 blankets from listeners and corporate supporters of YFM were given to Rays of Hope projects, including Rose-Act.  “It was a great success,” says Louise.  “They played music and in-between interviewed some of our leaders as well as other senior staff members of Rays of Hope, including its director Sihle Mooi.  Then all the students gathered around and sang their newly-learned Holiday Club song, ‘You’re a V-I-P to G-O-D.’  It was amazing and the YFM DJ’s were bowled over.”

Our annual 4-day camp is coming up in October, which has similar objectives to the Holiday clubs. Students have worked all year accumulating points through their attendance and participation to be invited to attend this prestigious event.

After which, it is time for the consolidation of academic work in anticipation of the excellent results in November. “These children need to get real help with Maths and English and Rose-Act is the place where that happens,” says Louise.