Financial constraints limit Fruta Conquerors football camp to one week

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By Avenash Ramzan

The 11th annual Fruta Conquerors football camp is underway, providing an opportunity for in excess of 50 children from Tucville and surrounding areas to learn the intricacies of football and general life skills.

Quite unfortunately, the camp, which is usually held for two to three weeks, has been limited to just one week due to financial constraints.

President of the club, Colin Gittens, said: “Hosting this programme has become more than a tradition to us. We use this camp as a developmental tool for our kids and other kids in neighboring communities. We use the programme to scout new talent for our football academy and to meet parents directly to inform them of different programmes available to their kids throughout the year.”

One of the main aims of the camp is to keep youths away from societal ills by providing an avenue for meaningful engagements. President Gittens said the club has been able to make progress in this regard.

“Once we make the club opened up to the youths, they come, and one of our greater success stories has been (national player) Jeremy Garrett, who recently gained a scholarship to the LSU (Louisiana State University) and has been doing well for himself. We have other success stories- kids who made it from this area into the national team and other opportunities in getting scholarships,” Gittens shared.

Participants pay rapt attention at a session on Wednesday

Coach at the club, Sampson Gilbert, said the camp is geared to use the game of football as a vehicle to impart valuable life skills to the youths.

“We have people from the Bel Air Lions Club coming to speak about volunteerism. We have the Environmental Protection Agency coming and speak about pollution in the environment and how the children could actually operate with best practices to save and alleviate the stress of general pollution. We have various issues in the society about youth and their conduct, so we will deal with all those issues with respect to their discipline, respect for females and using the game to ameliorate themselves,” Gilbert explained.

Due to the interactive nature of the camp, Gilbert said the response from participants to the information shared has been great. “Having fun is most important in sport generally,” the coach posited.

Former president of the club and current head of the Guyana Football Federation, Wayne Forde, said he is pleased with the progress the camp has made over the years, as more components were added since the initial start-up.

He reflected that initially the camp was strictly focused on football, but that has changed over the years, with the addition of an academic component.

Guyana Beverages Inc., through its Fruta juice brand, has been a long-standing supporter of the club, and that partnership has been extended to capture this camp as well. Paying a visit to the camp on Wednesday was Brand Manager of the company, Angelica Rodney.

“We have been committed to sports, especially football over the years and we’re so happy to be onboard with Fruta Conquerors Football Club summer camp. We see it as a way of giving back to the community,” Rodney stated.

Guyana Beverages Inc. and the Guyana Football Federation aside, the camp is sponsored by Prudential Industrial Technology, Demerara Harbour Bridge, Radar Security, Lions Club of Georgetown and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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