Youth Camp

Youth Camp

The Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa has its vision to encourage an active and winning nation.  Against the backdrop of the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) in terms of programme 14, sport plays an important role in promoting wellness and social cohesion. In support of the above the Department hosted the inaugural 2012 National Youth Camp from 29 September – 6 October 2012 in all the 9 provinces.  The project is one of the key priorities as stipulated in the National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) 2012 - 2014 as approved by cabinet

In introducing Youth Camps in Sport and Recreation relative to the Republic of South Africa, it should be noted that this imitative as led by the Minister, comes at a time, when Young People in South Africa are beset with a plethora of challenges, which require concerted and creative efforts to overcome. With this hind side, the Youth Camps should therefore serve as a common platform for young people across the entire nation to come together and utilise the power of Sport & Recreation to tackle the complex subjects which challenge them today and explore various initiatives on how to overcome them.

The primary objective however, will remain to develop these young people, and empower them with the requisite values, soft-skills and knowledge that can assist them to become responsible, conscious citizens and to strengthen their sense of patriotism and national identity. For that reason and on an annual basis, each province will identify 250 of its “young campers for that respective year” in line with predetermined criteria, who will be sent to attend the national camp that has been devolved in provinces.

Due to its holistic focus on the broad spectrum of young people’s development, the camps will be led by the Sport & Recreation Department working in partnership with LoveLife and National Youth Development Agency and nine provincial departments responsible for Sport and Recreation.

Youth Camp – Sport and Recreation SA Vision

The Youth Camps as visualised by Sport & Recreation South Africa will focus mainly on the following five elements which constitutes the hallmark features of the Youth Camps and set them apart from a plethora of other existing initiatives:

a)    Sport: - As an enabler and utilising the power of Sport as a unifier
b)    Youth: - As target participants and taking into account the diverse sectors and strata
c)    Camp: - As strategic platforms through which Young People from diverse background can converge in one setting
d)    Social Cohesion & National Identity: - As strategic objectives to be achieved through the Camps
e)    Integration: - Different agencies and public organs working together in an integrated manner, through Sport as a transversal enabler, to address the holistic development needs of young people and channel them towards a single goal of an active and conscious citizenship.


The purpose of the camp is to: -

a)    Promote social cohesion, nation building and national identity among South Africans using sport and recreation as a catalyst;
b)    To address challenges of eliminating poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and other symptoms of under development;
c)    To eliminate racialism, xenophobia, sexism and other aspects of intolerance;
d)    To empower youth to make an active contribution towards sustainable economic environment through community projects;
e)    To achieve a legacy of lasting value beyond each Youth Camp by establishing a Trailblazer movement;
f)    To encourage young people to participate in sport and leave a healthy life style; and
g)    To encourage young people to formulate clubs at local level and community service.

Project Objectives:

•    Unlock adequate opportunities for positive social interaction through national youth gatherings;
•    Strengthen, in an organised and coordinated manner, the ability of young people to work cooperatively across race, ethnicity, gender, geographical location, class, language and creed;
•    Organise annual national youth camps to keep young people active, interested in life with increased self-esteem, promote patriotism and a strong sense of citizenship amongst the youth;
•    To contribute towards an active young population in South Africa which is cognisant of its situation and environment, mindful of its challenges and determined to overcome them inspired by their sense of patriotism, discipline and national identity whilst still proud of their youth and unique talents
•    Establish the Trailblazer Movement after the camp.



The 2019 Youth Camp will take place from 30 November 2019 - 08 December 2019




Not Applicable


This is an Outcome 14 Programme, inaugurated 4 years ago as an initiative by Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr Fikile Mbalula during an extended strategic planning session of the sport and recreation by national and provincial departments of sport, sport confederations and various federations.

The primary objective: Develop young people by empowering them with requisite values, soft-skills and knowledge that can assist them to become responsible, conscious citizens and to strengthen their sense of patriotism and identity. Primary Objective 2: Social Cohesion, Nation Building and Improved Race relations Programme further offers the youth an opportunity to learn and improve their own characters in a safe and conducive environment.

Trailblazers are all the youth that get as opportunity to take part in the National Youth Camp.

They are a non- partisan youth movement initiated back in 2012 by Sport and Recreation South Africa, its provincial departments and NGO partners with objective of growing young South Africans into worthy and able citizens.
The Trailblazer movement has three pillars that form the basis for all activities taking place at the youth camps:

Nation building – learn about and honoring our national symbols, our democracy, and our heritage.
Social Cohesion – learn about your place in the community and how to contribute to happy and abundant communities.
Leadership – learn about difference styles of leadership and how to be an effective leader that makes a difference.

Youth selected through the Olympiad System from districts to provincial level resulting in 250 participants per province in each youth camp, ranging in age groups between sixteen to eighteen years old. Due to the unique nature of the programme, not everybody gets to take part in a youth camp hence the Olympiads selection system gets conducted. This selection processes are held countrywide at district and provincial level, and applicants from selected schools who perform the best in the Olympiad have the honour to take part in the camps.

South African youth (between Grades 9 - 11) representing the diverse cultural groupings in line with the country demographics, who have gone through the olympiad test selection process.

This is a project of Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa and as such appears on the department’s Annual Performance Plan (APP). The provincial departments of sport are responsible for the logistical arrangements at the camps, the venues, and the actual running of the projects.
LoveLife provides the camp stewards who act as team leaders, and also prepare the activity programs and content of the camps.
Camp Navigators are managers in charge of the youth camps. These are mature adults and senior employees of provincial departments of sport.


This programme takes place annually during the first week of October. Takes place at camps and at venues in rural environments to ensure Trailblazers experience an authentic camp atmosphere.

Venues are carefully vetted to ensure they have up-to-standard and adequate facilities to cater for the two hundred and fifty young participants per province.

Life building elements including character building, leadership skills, social cohesion, cultural diversity and community service.

Mornings sessions are set aside for lectures, discussions, or debates. Brainstorming sessions focusing on life building blocks lead by the Camp Stewards. They also take part in outdoor activities inclusive of swimming, obstacle courses, zip lines, team sports, and indigenous games.

Trailblazers also get the opportunity to visit a nearby village and perform community service (i.e.) old age home or church to ether perform cleaning up, painting, planting trees, or being of services to community members.

Since its inception in 2012, thousands of young people have participated in this programme and benefited from the Trailblazer youth camps, returning well-prepared to serve their communities with practical skills they learnt at the camps. To be part of this life building skills exercise visit our website for further details.


Adv. Nkosana Mehlomakulu


Department: Directorate: Legal Services

Telephone: 012 304 5244



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