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Summer Camps: Ensuring Children Exercise their ‘Right to Play’ for Holistic Growth


rdt published date June 15, 2024    rdt published author rdt

 

Every summer feels like a festival for children. Boundless fun, laughter, and reuniting with friends make the holidays fly by in the blink of an eye. It’s the time when the days blend with unforgettable memories, contributing to their physical, mental, well-being.

Children’s participation in sports and physical activities creates a conducive environment that facilitates a holistic learning atmosphere, just as the summer fun does! That is why Summer Camps, through sports and physical activities, create a common ground for all, regardless of any barriers of gender, age, or social and economic backgrounds, enabling an inclusive environment.

With a focus on creating access for children to exercise their ‘right to play’, Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA), the sports for development initiative of the Rural Development Trust (RDT), organised Summer Camps in nine different sports namely Archery, Athletics, Cricket, Football, Hockey, Judo, Kabaddi, Softball and Tennis at 36 grassroots clubs, 4 development centres across the Anantapur and Sri Sathya Sai districts and the ASA residential centre. ASA works with the primary vision of ‘leveraging the power of sport to achieve social change in rural communities in India’, acknowledging the limited resources in rural areas.

The summer camps, offering opportunities for the children to nurture sport-specific and essential life skills, are an initiative of ASA in partnership with Generalitat Valenciana to enable children and youth in rural areas. This year, from May 1st to 22nd; 3,395 children from across the rural Anantapur and Sri Sathya Sai districts came together and relished their summer vacations, making it a celebration of reunion with friends.

“I learned many skills after participating in the ASA’s Athletics Meet last year. It also opened many doors for me, leading to the opportunity to participate in the Andhra Pradesh Inter-district Athletics Championship, held in Guntur. Returning to the summer camps this year, I have not only improved my sports skills but also learned many essential life skills, including leadership skills, communication skills, and organisational skills”, says Sivalingamma, a 14-year-old athlete, expressing her experience in the summer camps.

In addition to sports-specific training, the summer camps at ASA also focused on equipping the children to make informed and confident life choices through various awareness sessions and activities. These sessions and activities contribute to enhancing their confidence, leadership qualities, and cognitive abilities, and, most importantly, foster mutual respect between opposite genders. ASA Summer camps also allow children from different villages across the Anantapur and Sri Sathya Sai districts to come together, build their friendships and celebrate their holidays to the fullest. 

The ‘right to play’ is vital for the holistic development of children. Through sports and physical activities, they not only grow physically but also develop intra and interpersonal skills. Summer camps create invaluable opportunities for children to engage in sports, enabling overall well-being and preparing them to lead confident, healthy lives.

Text and Images: Kailas Khanna KR



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