By Grace Munyi
After school activities offer the chance of a different view on life and the development of different skills, as a few of Kenya’s clubs for youngsters have proven, by offering a path into their own specialist areas led by enthusiasts keen to inspire youth in new and specialist fields.
Muthaiga Junior Golf Club
This is the club where Nelson Mundanyi, one of Kenya’s top professional golfers, started his career journey. It is also the club where the country’s top ranking young golfers, such as Mutahi Mbugu, and the leading female golfer, 16-year-old Kellie Gachaga, as well as Kenya’s youngest golfer, David Murigi, aged 13, are members and train.
“Muthaiga Junior Golf Club trains and nurtures boys and girls from the age of four and a half years to 18 and provides them with an opportunity to play golf competitively,” said Nelson Mundanyi, who is also the Resident Professional at Muthaiga Junior Golf Club.
For Mundanyi, the club exposed him to the international scene allowing him to take part in tournaments that launched his career.
“The club organizes training clinics and camps. When schools are in session, the clinics take place every Saturday from 8am to 10 am over a period of six or four weekends in a row. During the holidays, training takes place from Monday to Thursday every week for two hours.”
More than 200 children have participated in the club’s clinics, which focus on basic golf techniques, rules and etiquette in addition to physical, psychological and social attributes that help in child development, including muscle memory, strength, hand-eye coordination and balance. Kids also develop patience, determination and self-esteem as well as teamwork and good sportsmanship.
“Training children in golf should be carefully balanced in terms of difficulty and challenge so as to keep them engaged. A lot of technical instructions will likely bore the students, but too little practical training can also leave them without the skills necessary to succeed, which leads to frustration,” said Mundanyi.
The club’s coaches have many years of experience working with young children and are experts at creating a fun learning environment for all young players.
The six weekend course costs Sh10,000 while the holiday training weeks cost Sh5,500. For young beginners, golfing equipment such as the golf clubs, golf bag, a putter, golf cart, as well as the club’s golf uniform, are fully provided. For more information contact: Mr. Nelson Mundanyi 0725 587 0027.
The National Archery Organization of Kenya
During the 2016 Olympics, archery was one of the most watched sports, rated second on TV to swimming. It was also the first Olympics where Kenya was represented by a female archer, Shehzana Anwar, a member of the National Archery Organization of Kenya since she was 13 years old.
“Becoming a member of our club and setting off on the interesting path that is archery is an easy process. The club offers training to those with previous experience that are seeking refresher training and for those new to the sport, the beginner Archery class is equally beneficial. It is a two-hour course that teaches range rules, safety and the fundamentals of archery,” explains the Kenya Archery Association Club website.
The club trains archers at the Strathmore University Grounds in Madaraka Estate, which is its main training venue, from beginners aged eight years and above, to young adult and parents.
“The reason we have a minimum age limit is because the sport needs concentration and focus, it is like driving a car; you need to focus so we cannot train a three year old,” said Anwal, the club’s treasurer.
“Starters have to buy their own arrows. As a beginner, one can break so many arrows, so the club allows members to use their bow, but they need to buy six arrows, then eventually buy their own equipment.”
Through training from three World Archery Level 1 coaches, young archers in the club have gone on to participate and win in junior inter club championships, and the Commonwealth Games, as well as take part in the Olympics.
“My daughter participates in international championships and she would compete with women aged 45 and 50 years old when she was only 17,” said Anwal.
In fact, Shehzana Anwar has gone on to become the reigning African Archery Champion after winning in Windhoek last year and was the country’s first Kenyan to qualify and participate at the Olympics in Rio last year.
The association also organizes its own inter-club league competition where its members and other clubs bring their archers to showcase their prowess.
Currently, the club has over 40 members and opens every Sunday from 4pm. Charges are Sh500 per session and an annual membership fee of Sh4,000. For more information contact: Admin 0708 386685.
Art Club at the Nairobi Art Centre
Located opposite the Lavington Mall, this club offers creative children a chance to develop their talents in drawing, painting and pottery and is famously known for its different art programs targeting different age groups
The Toto art club is a class for beginners that serves as an introduction for three to six year olds. This young ones’ class does not have a fixed activities plan as it centers on playing in colour mixing, drawing things at the kids’ own level, collage and working with texture.
The junior class, which targets seven to 11 year olds, is an advanced class where children are taught how to express themselves creatively through art.
The Kibobo Art Club, targeting kids aged between 12 to 15 year olds, teaches teenagers how to perfect their art skills. Sketching, themed painting sessions, and moulding are some of the artsy activities involved.
The club also organizes themed holiday art camps that are meant to explore children’s wild and creative art side.
“Through these camps we want to encourage children to move away from the usual drawing of animals to do something ‘a bit crazy, a bit scary and fun’. We teach the kids how to exaggerate, using the same concept as in making cartoons,” said a teacher at the club.
This month’s April Holiday Kids Art Camp, dubbed Alice in Wonderland, will include activities such as drawing, painting, clay sculpture, creating collage, and canvas painting, based on the characters and adventures in the children’s book, Alice in Wonderland.
The classes run from 10 am to 1pm but there is a break during which children can take part in other non-art activities such as playing football, skipping rope and socializing. On Saturday, the club has a common activity for members selected by the instructors. Parents can also choose to enroll for an art class as they wait for their children’s session to end.
Charges for the classes are: Kinder and Junior Sh1,500 per session or Sh5,500 for four sessions. Teens Sh2,000 per session or Sh7,000 for four sessions. These charges are inclusive of juice and biscuits on a hot day or hot chocolate on a cold day. Charges for parents’ classes are Sh2,500 per session or Sh9,000 for four classes. For more information contact: Admin 0727 415678.