Two weeks ago, I decided I’d take a short nap after struggling with Chapter Four of Halima’s Story (I need Jesus for that Chapter Four). Anyway, my nap was interrupted by a phone call, and that’s how I got invited to the Ignite Genius Summer Bootcamp for young people. (You’ll recall I did a post about it sometime ago.) I excitedly cancelled all my appointments for the next week, and mentally prepared myself to be away for a week. For a number of reasons, I was excited. I would be meeting and interacting with extremely intelligent and inspiring people (Google-able people), I would have the opportunity to inspire young people, which I absolutely love to do, and I would have close communion with the beach, as I’d been in hermit mode for too long.
So on Monday the 10th of August, I took the five hour ride to La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, and fell in love. Nothing could have prepared me for my experience in the past week. I’m not sure that any of those teenagers was more inspired than I was. Everything. Everything was for my learning experience. Even the young folks were like a breath of fresh air. It was lovely to interact with them, listen to them, and even learn from them. For instance, a 14 year old named Nnamdi gave a 3 minute speech on the Selma Bridge that I think would make Martin Luther King Jr.’s eyes more than a little wet, even in the grave. His words moved me so much, first thing I did was download the movie after I returned. Another 13 year old, Ochuko, talked about life, what it meant to him and how best to deal with life, and I was in awe. Some 30 year olds would live better lives if they listened to him speak, I’m telling you. I mean, the crux of his speech without mincing words, was that life is what you make out of it, and that a person needs to work hard and deal with challenges to make the best out of life. Then there was Angel, who had published two books at the age of 14. She’s 18 now, and gearing up to surmount Chimamanda’s feats in writing.
I met and interacted with Tosin Otitoju, mathematician, poet, novelist, lecturer and wunderkind actually, because it’s difficult to place her in one definitive box. I also met the founding partner of Ignite Genius, Anthony Alagbile, a widely read, extremely cerebral individual with plenty degrees to show for all the reading. He took the kids through the theory of Multiple Intelligences, helping them recognize all their innate abilities, and then teaching them effective techniques for the harnessing of said abilities. There were other outstanding individuals who made inspirational appearances at the camp. (My naughty friend keeps calling it booty camp, lol). There was also a young architect, Hassan Anifowose, whose plan is to take over the world with his 3D designs, and he looks like he will too. He had the briefest most inspiring presentation I ever saw, and then he drew lessons from his life story and his business, and blew all of us away. Later, when I asked the kids to share with me their top three sessions at camp, more than half put the young architect on their list.
There was another young outstanding individual, a lady this time. Miss Omotola Fawunmi, who fights for girl rights and is doing so much with women and young females. She told a story about a young girl whose parents were going to give her out in marriage to an old man, for N250, 000! She talked about how outraged she was, so much so that she kidnapped the girl before the said marriage date. A couple of the young people couldn’t stop joking about that, but nobody missed the real message of courage and passion that came through in her story. The girl did get married off, and that incident marked the birth of Omotola’s foundation. A Competent Communicator, Social Advocate, Human Resources Professional and Life Strategist, Omotola’s working experience across Media, Human Development, Human Resource Management, Telecommunications, Sanitation, Management Consulting belies her age. She believes value should be passionately delivered with every interaction.
Tosin Otitoju (We were lucky to get her to look at the camera)
L-R Omotola’s friend, Omotola Fawunmi, Tony Alagbile and Dada Omotoso
Ochuko, in all his wisdom and glory
There were also the Be Attitude sessions that catered to personal/attitudinal development, and Super Smart sessions, where the young people learned learning skills(You see what I did there?) My very good friend, former colleague and big brother Dada Omotoso and his very experienced partner Chris Agina handled these sessions. You know, it’s amazing the things you don’t even know as an adult. For several reasons I think these kids are very fortunate. One cannot have access to the kind of information at their disposal and not be a revolutionary. That’s why I’m going to do everything I can to ensure that more people attend the next edition of Ignite Genius Bootcamp, of course by spreading the word. It wasn’t all seriousness though, there were meals by the beach, boat rides, aerobics mornings, ball games, I think I’ll stop there. More pictures…
Folarin (The Foodie)
Mrs Kenny Omojola, founding partner, Ignite Genius
The Ignite Geniuses themselves
The girl I don’t know, she didn’t want to go home..
So that’s last week in one post, by now you know I had fun. More importantly I learned too. My mind was blown, completely blown at booty camp, sorry bootcamp. The most important lesson for me was no matter what it is you’ve set your sights on, you can do it. With hard work, perseverance, a commitment to excellence, etcetera, it can be done. Most importantly, mediocrity is not your friend. Fight it, and stay winning.
Sayonara my lovelies.
Be geat, always.