Children converge onto sports facilities as summer break starts
School children from across Gibraltar converged onto Gibraltar’s sports facilities on Tuesday morning as the school summer break started.
It was a quick transition for many from school and into the GSLA Summer Sports Programme and different sports camps being made available this summer.
With school having ended on Monday, and the sports programme opening its doors in earnest to all school children on Tuesday, there was little break between the two. The sports programme become an immediate replacement for school activities as parents sought to provide alternative activities for their children.
The programme, which this year opened its doors at the earlier time of 9am meant that for many parents it was a mere change of route. Whilst keeping to a routine they had already become accustomed to during school terms.
Having provided a temporary programme for three schools which had closed early for the summer meant that tweaks to their procedures had been made for the first day.
The GSLA had been able to see how the earlier opening times had worked in real-time and assessing weather changes were required.
Among one of the key changes parents were to discover was the fact that the registration area gates remained closed until a quarter of an hour before opening time to ensure that children were not being left alone without supervision. Something which officials indicated had been seen during the previous week with some parents leaving their children at the stadium early but not waiting for supervisors to be present.
Volunteers and leaders worked from early in the morning to prepare for the influx of children arriving. Many of the activity areas prepared before opening time. The weeklong of practice they had already had in a real-time scenario providing a routine for personnel which saw an easier transition from the start. A calmer atmosphere on registration experienced this year in comparison to previous years as even the newcomers into the programme had already gained some experience.
The GSLA programme saw a large number of children take up the sports train programme once again this year. Concerns that the numbers would be too high to manage adequately were not to materialise. This aided by the fact that basketball, gymnastics, football and beach volleyball had each also offered their summer camp programmes at the same time. This allowing for a spread of children across a wider cross section of activities.
Basketball, offering the Chus Mateo academy programme saw what has now become a regular large number of participants starting early.
Similarly football was to see a large number of participants although the programme was adjusted to take into account that the main pitch was not available due to the UEFA Champions League match taking place on the same day.
The Gibraltar FA taking their camp to Europa Sports Complex as an alternative whilst at the same time maintaining its youth development programmes going at the small pitches at Victoria Stadium.
The sports programme was also to see the start of the now popular Stay and Play programme.
Although the programme started in what was already becoming one of the hottest period of the summer the popularity of the GSLA’s sports programme was evident. As one grandparent commented “it has become the alternative place to leave the children whilst parents work, without having to worry about cost and importantly the children’s security.”
Even for those paying out to have their children at camps such as the Chus Mateo Basketball Academy, the alternative to struggling to find a way to cater for their children without taking time off work was much better, as many parents pointed out. Whilst at the same time gaining new skills and experiences.