Junior Shapers Africa (JSA), the premier male youth personal development organisation in all of Africa focused on grooming and mentoring boys to become responsible future men as part of its programmes for the year, held the 3rd edition of the annual JSA Future Men Boot Camp from 25th July to 4th August 2019 at the Salvation Army Territorial Headquarters in Osu – Accra. This year, the Bootcamp hosted 19 young boys between the ages of 6 and 18 years with participants from Nkoranza and Kumasi in the Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions respectively.
This year’s Bootcamp commenced on Thursday 25th July 2019, with an orientation and welcoming of participants. The boys were briefed on the activities scheduled for the week and the code of conduct was outlined to them encouraging them to be of the best behaviour throughout their stay at the camp.
Participants were at the Winamzua Creative Hive in Kokrobite on Friday 26th July for a shea butter skill training session. They learnt how to make soap, body butter and lip balm using shea butter and other products to raise funds for the annual JSA SDGs project at Somnyamekodur D/A Basic School, in the Lower Denkyira District of the Central Region. This year’s project is “Library Project/1 year Supply of Sanitary Towels Project” whereby the boys will be providing a yearly supply of sanitary towels to less privileged girls in the school and also refurbishing the school’s library.
The next day, 27th July was the maiden “JSA Phenomenal Abrantie” Show, a new addition to the annual Bootcamp held in collaboration with Media General Group’s 3 Foundation at the TV3 Executive Theatre to showcase young males with gifted hands and unique handiworks. The Phenomenal Abrantie Show held on the theme “Building Better Men through Life Skills” had Hon. Cynthia Mamle Morrison, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection as the Guest of Honour and also included sessions on sexual and reproductive health by Marie Stopes International and a panel discussion with seasoned men in their respective fields sharing the inspiration behind their achievements.
At the end of the program, Bryan O. Quansah, a participant of the Bootcamp and a student of Day Spring School in Dansoman was adjudged the historic first winner of the maiden JSA Phenomenal Abrantie Show. Bryan emerged tops out of a total of about 30 young male participants in the exhibition of gifted handiworks with his unique design of an eco-friendly city plan project and electronic theft control mechanism. He exhibited thoroughness in his presentation and invested thought, time, and energy to design a futuristic eco-friendly city plan for Accra. He further convinced the judges why we must redesign our city to ensure the safety of citizens as well as boost tourism maintaining his poise, confidence and focus throughout the show. For his prize, Abrantie Bryan received a cash prize from Junior Shapers Africa to invest further in his skill, a gift bag from StarLife Assurance, and a gift bag from The Spelling Bee; presented by Kwabena Adu Asare-Darko, the 2019 Spelling Bee – Ghana Champion. Abrantie Bryan will be introduced to relevant mentors to enhance his skill and will be an Ambassador of JSA for a period of one year. During this period, he will organize a mentorship seminar for boys in a chosen borstal home and will be campaigning for better conditions for them through a fundraising event.
The boys were at the Salvation Army church on Sunday to fellowship with them and give thanks to God for his grace and mercies.
On Monday 29th July, participants were at the Launchpad Training Center in East Legon where they had a session on self-discovery and goal setting. The boys were taken through a 10-year personal development plan for themselves and taught financial literacy to enable them to adopt the habit of saving early. It was a very revealing session and they learnt a lot of things that will help them in their future career development and planning.
The next day, the group was at Databank where they first had a session on financial literacy and investment. They were also enlightened about the activities of Databank Foundation which is set up to give back to the less privileged in society. From there, the boys were taken to meet some of the beneficiaries of the Databank Foundation project at the children’s ward of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital.
On Wednesday 31st July, participants were at the Autism Awareness Care and Training Centre in Kokomlemle to learn how to relate with autistic people. They sang, danced and socialized with some of the autistic children there and it was a very touching experience for them. From there, the group was at Fay International, the producers of Faytex Sanitary Products where they gained insight on the female menstrual cycle and the changes girls go through during the month in order to be more sensitive towards issues affecting girls in society. They also had a tour of the factory and were taken through the processes involved in the production of sanitary pads.
The next day, the boys met and had a mentoring session with the Managing Director of Graphic Communications Group Limited; Mr. Ato Afful. He shared his life story and advised them to work hard to achieve their future goals and ambitions in life. Some of the boys were also interviewed by the media team about their fundraising for the annual JSA SDGs project at Somnyamekodur D/A Basic School to enable them to reach a wider audience. They spoke about their life skills training at Winamzua Creative Hive where they made shea products (shea cream, shea lip balm, and herbal soap) to raise funds for this year’s project. The media exposure will shed more light on the initiative and serve as a great avenue to encourage more boys to support projects targeted towards improving the welfare of the underprivileged in society. On Friday 2nd August, the participants were at the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) where they met with the Commissioner-General, other Commissioners and staff of GRA to gain an insight into taxation in Ghana and revenue generation by the Authority.
The Green Butterfly Bazaar was held at the W.E.B. Dubois Center on Saturday 3rd August and the group was there to market and sell their shea products (shea cream, shea lip balm, and herbal soap) to raise funds for the annual JSA SDGs project of providing a yearly supply of sanitary towels to less privileged girls and also refurbishing the library at Somnyamekodur D/A Basic School. This fundraising adventure helped to build their confidence and equipped them with good marketing and public speaking skills.
Apart from the inspirational places visited during the Bootcamp, participants also engaged in other daily activities such as spiritual development, aerobics sessions, recreational activities (football and other indoor games), reading, journal writing, etc. during the camp to give them a holistic training.
To climax the Bootcamp on Sunday 4th August, was the closing ceremony with parents of participants in attendance. The boys each took turns to share some lessons and experiences from the Bootcamp while some parents also offered advice to the boys. Prizes were presented to all the participants and some of them also received special awards for their outstanding behaviour and achievements to officially end the 2019 JSA Future Men Bootcamp.
Representatives from the Bootcamp paid a courtesy call on Mrs. Beatrice Agyemang Abbey, Group CEO of The Media General Group, and Hon. Cynthia Mamle Morrison; the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection on Tuesday 7th August 2019 after the Bootcamp to say thank you for their endorsement and immense support towards the maiden JSA Phenomenal Abrantie Show held during the Bootcamp. They were also at Pulse Media Ghana to share their camp experiences and raise funds for the SDGs project.
Overall, the boys acquired a lot of knowledge and gained a variety of life skills at the Bootcamp and with this exposure and practical opportunity they will be able to make an impact in their society.
Thank you to the JSA team, parents, sponsors and partners; Winamzua Creative Hive, Launchpad Training Centre, Databank Foundation, Graphic Communications Group Ltd., Autism Awareness Care and Training Centre, Ghana Revenue Authority, the Media General Group, 3 Foundation, StarLife Assurance Company Ltd., Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Pulse Media Ghana, Faytex Sanitary Pad, Goil Ghana, Vaettel Mineral Water, Flexy Yoghurt, Food 4 All Africa Programme, Marie Stopes International, The Spelling Bee, Ocalf Stationery, Jayset Consulting, The Delse Shop, Mastermind Art &Technology Foundation and Divine Mosquito Repellent for their support and contribution to make the JSA Future Men Boot Camp 2019 a massive success.