SNAP camp offers early intervention for school-aged children
The Department of Counselling Services (DCS) has completed another successful year of the STOP NOW AND PLAN (SNAP®) summer camp for school-aged children in need of effective strategies to develop emotion-regulation, self-control, and problem-solving skills.
The team noted that Nelson Mandela once said, ‘there can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children’. “The team at DCS holds this value close as we work hard to create and implement life-changing initiatives for the youth of the Cayman Islands,” said Ms Judy Seymour, Director DCS.
The SNAP® programme, which was implemented locally in 2017 thanks to the generous sponsorship of Rotary Sunrise Club of Grand Cayman, continues to benefit a wide range of families.
The programme is multifaceted in nature, and is offered within the clinical setting individually or in a 13-week group setting, as well as being offered in public schools.
Training opportunities are offered to school personnel to teach foundational SNAP® strategies and create a SNAP culture in the classroom. The aim is to create a more positive learning environment by increasing prosocial interactions and decreasing disruptive behaviour.
SNAP® is an evidence-based programme that follows a cognitive behavioural model and has proven to result in positive treatment outcomes among children between the ages of 6-11 with conduct and related behavioural difficulties.
The overall objective of the programme is to help children make better choices and control impulsive and aggressive behaviours that could lead to future contact with authority.
The annual one-week summer camp attracted 33 campers and eight peer mentors, and served as an opportunity to introduce the SNAP strategy to children through interactive activities, simulations and hands on “in-the-moment” coaching.
All camp staff and volunteers are highly-trained in order to assist campers in developing and maintaining positive peer relationships while also improving emotional awareness and regulation.
Additionally, maintaining a high level of engagement with parents during this process was critical in order to reinforce strategies taught within the camp in the home setting to further support their children.
Ms. Seymour commented on an aspect of the SNAP Summer camp that has been particularly rewarding for the team, she said, “One of my favourite things to see are kids who were campers in prior years who come back in successive years as peer mentors, having themselves become equipped with the skills to help new campers through stressful situations. This is a huge testament to the power of the programme, and is a clear indication that we are building resiliency and leadership among our young people.”
Minister for Health and Wellness Hon. Sabrina Turner said, “Every parent wants to see their child succeed. When our children struggle this can be a heartbreaking ordeal and it can be difficult to know how to help. What we do know is that to encourage long-term lasting change for children experiencing challenges, a programme needs to address intrinsic motivation not just external triggers and consequences. I am proud that the DCS team through SNAP and other initiatives does this so well. The Ministry is committed to supporting the department through all of its early intervention and wellness programmes to ensure every Caymanian child has access to the future they dream of.”
Ms. Seymour said the many testimonials received from parents and guardians of camp participants have kept the team at DCS highly motived.
One parent wrote, “My child is blossoming from the mentorship received at camp. Thank you for working with all the children and for giving them the tools they need to accomplish their goals and to move forward with a more positive way of thinking.”
Another remarked that her grandson was “using his SNAP techniques in the home setting” which made her “one very thankful grandma”.
This year’s programme sponsors are Rotary Grand Cayman Sunrise, Subway and Burger King.
On a visit to the camp, Stacy Parke, the immediate Past President of Rotary Sunshine said, “The progression and growth of youth in the Cayman Islands is something very near and dear to our hearts. Through the youth arm of our club, we aim to support initiatives like these year round. Where opportunity for growth exists we want the opportunity to be a part of it. It was an easy yes for us.”
Family Resource Centre (FRC) Programme Coordinator Charmaine Miller said, “The positive feedback from parents has been extremely validating as we look forward to expanding this programme further over the next few years. While SNAP camp is delivered over a short period of time, we work diligently with families once camp has ended to encourage continued participation in intervention services with the Family Resource Centre in order to more adequately equip them with effective parenting strategies that will improve their family relationship and overall quality of life”.
The SNAP programme is offered throughout the year. Families interested in registering for the September cohort are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 949-0006.
For more on services visit: www.dcs.gov.ky/frc/
Submitted by: Ministry of Health & Wellness (CIG)