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Holiday Venture Schemes in full swing 6 August 2008

THE Department of Education’s Holiday Venture Schemes are in full swing.

The schemes started on 28 July and run through to 29 August and offer an array of indoor and outdoor activities for eight to 12-year-olds.

This week, children at Douglas Youth Centre are spending the week learning lines, building sets and painting props in preparation for a spectacular production of Peter Pan on Friday. Holiday Venture Scheme

Next week will see them involved in innovative art projects. They will create body art in a day-long workshop that will end in a fashion show. A Soapbox Derby scrapheap challenge is taking place, with teams given two days to create something on wheels that will transport a member through an assault course. A beach art and environmental sculpture project will be held, weather permitting.

Banner and kite-making workshops are also planned, with the results going on show at a Summer Extravaganza at Douglas Head Amphitheatre on Sunday 17 August from 2pm.

At Cronk-y-Berry School, children have staged a talent show, played games and been on trips to the MSPCA and the Western Swimming Pool.

On August 18, the Holiday Venture Schemes move to the Phillip Christian Centre and Peel Youth Centre for two weeks, where they are being run in conjunction with the Isle of Man Children’s Centre.

Youth and Community Adviser Mike Clague said:

‘The schemes are celebrating their silver anniversary this year, having first been held at Douglas Youth Centre in 1983. They were established to give young people exciting and interesting things to do during the summer holidays and to reach out to some of those who weren't already using the Youth Service's clubs and projects. An added bonus, of course, was the help they offered to working parents.
‘Activities include kite-making, pottery, face-painting, video-making, comic design, treasure hunts, litter picking, computers and a talent show. In the gym at Cronk-y-Berry School, games include dodgeball, badminton, table tennis, 5-a-side and benchball. And if that isn't enough, trips are arranged to loads of places such as swimming pools, trains, the Energy From Waste Plant, Castle Rushen, the Airport fire station, plantations, the Wildlife Park, Onchan and Poulsom parks, the Fish Hatchery, the House of Manannan and even crabbing in Peel! Daily trips to the Ardwhallan Outdoor Education Centre are also arranged.'
The schemes take the place of the Department’s 18 play clubs and 22 youth clubs, which open for 42 weeks of the year but close for the summer. Mr Clague said: Holiday Venture Scheme 2
‘Quite a few clubs have tried opening in holiday times, but have found that their members don't come along in the summer evenings. The Holiday Venture Schemes, on the other hand, have been very successful. In the early years we had to put an announcement out to the media asking parents not to send any more children!’ Mr Clague said.
‘In recent years many more opportunities for young people have become available from within the Government and the private sector, such as Manx Sport and Recreation's sport sessions, the Isle of Man Children's Centre's Out2Play activities, drama courses and others. Last year nearly 300 young people from a very wide range of backgrounds attended the Holiday Venture Schemes’ outdoor activity courses and arts weeks. Interestingly, boys outnumbered girls two to one.
‘It always amazes me when I hear people say that there is nothing for young people to do on the Island. Schools themselves have a fantastic range of after-school activities and we are so lucky to have the number of opportunities that can be found within a 40-minute journey,’ Mr Clague said. ‘The number of sports available to take part in is outstanding, as are the chances to participate in all sorts of music and dance.
‘If that wasn't enough, Department of Education clubs and projects for young people can be found in most villages and towns and voluntary sector schemes such as Scouting, Girl Guiding, the St John Ambulance, the Youth Motor Project, faith groups, the Army Cadet Force, ATC and Sea Cadets all have high membership.
‘The Holiday Venture Schemes help to extend the range of things to do during the summer and the feedback we receive each year from those who take part is really positive.’

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