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By Karen Laurie

MUMBAI, MAYIMG_1485 10, 2016: With the Games of the XXXI Olympiad – the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics – less than 100 days away, sport is the flavour of the season. Staying true to the motto of the Olympic Games ‘Citius – Altius – Fortius’, youth at Don Bosco institutions are participating in different summer camps, striving to be ever ‘Faster’, reach ever ‘Higher’ and become ever ‘Stronger’ in their pursuit for sporting and academic excellence.

Don Bosco Recreation Centre at Don Bosco High School, Matunga in Mumbai organised two camps running from April 12 to 29 and from May 2 to 18. Despite the searing summer temperatures, youth from across the city have come forward, in their numbers, to compete in a host of sports ranging from football, athletics, advanced and basic gymnastics, cricket, roller skating, lawn tennis, basketball, fencing, judo, abacus and table tennis. Those more inclined to fine arts, have enrolled for courses in vedic maths, calligraphy, music, dance, art, speech and drama.

Shruti Raut, whose sons have enrolled in the basketball camp says, ” They love the camp. I was requesting them to please stay home this summer. I get tired to drop and pick them up in this heat but they enjoy the camp.”

Don Bosco institutions across the Mumbai province have been ‘trendsetters’ in providing youth with world class sporting and educational facilities and infrastructure to help them hone in on their skills.

Barrington Serrao, Sports Co-ordinator at Don Bosco High School, Matunga says, ” Parents appreciate that there is no place like Don Bosco. We have the grounds and the facilities. Our fees are also very less compared to others. The parents also say they benefit, while their kids are playing at the camp, they go for walks on the school grounds. Its a win-win situation for all.”

Amin Khan (14) has enrolled in the skating, basketball and personality development and public speaking camp at the Matunga campus. Though he attends weekly skating sessions throughout the academic year, practising daily at the vacation camp gives his an extra edge. ” I am gearing up for a world record challenge in May and at the camp I have been practicing intensely,” says Khan.

The Salesian-run institutions at Andheri and  Matunga in Mumbai, Nerul in Navi Mumbai and Yerwada in Pune are among the first to install astroturf facilities to train youth in hockey and football. The facilities are also available for the public for seven-a-side competitions.

Little Salesian parishioners of Sacred Heart Church, Yerwada used the astroturf to show off their basketball ball skills at the parish summer club. Football matches, language enhancing sessions, treasure hunt, dance competitions are among the events organised to help make the vacations lots of fun. In keeping with the pedagogy of Don Bosco, values are woven into this fun learning experience.

Bother Joyston Machado, organising the summer club says, ” Our theme for the summer club is 4G- Gather, Grasp, Glow and Grow. We stress on the virtues of Dominic Savio, as his feast on May 6, is during the summer club. We tell the children holiness consists in being cheerful; doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way, like doing the simple tasks assigned to them very well; to participate and give their best. We have just completed a trust building exercise, where we blindfolded the participants and asked them to walk on a brick line, only by following the guidance of their team mates.”

Under the careful tutelage of experienced Salesians and professional coaches the aspiring Usain Bolt’s, Steven Curry’s, Roger Federer’s and Dominic Savio’s of the city, participating in the summer clubs this year have made the most of all the facilities on offer.

Our lady of Fatima church, Jaitala in Nagpur inaugurated its Don Bosco Summer club in April with around 100 youth. They recently held a cultural event to create awareness of the various cultures of India. Children dressed in different cultural outfits and spoke in the language of the culture they represented. The aim was to inculcate respect for all cultures among the children.

Be it the tiny tots learning to throw the ball into the basket or the adolescents showing off their talents in arts, Don Bosco institutions have it all. And, what better time to put your skills to test or to sharpen your acumen, than over the summer holiday. Like Cliff Richard’s rendition goes,

Everybody has a summer holiday …
Doing things they always wanted to …
So we’re going on a summer holiday …
To make our dreams come true…
For me and you!



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