Raptor Social Responsibility, Education and Rehabilitation Program
Overview: Included in the RAPTOR portfolio is a nature school to train Eco-Scouts and Nature Guides. Within this niche we feel that social responsibility has to be taken a step further, by, not only, taking individuals out of lower socio-economic communities from the rural areas and putting them through an Eco-Scout course that will benefit the wild flora and fauna, and, help with community anti-poaching policing – but, we will also provide a facility for the rehabilitation of challenged inner city individuals through the medium of a nature oriented training course to turn out people that are motivated and have the skills, training and qualifications, so that they can go back to their communities and become leaders, or, empower them with the skills and potential to become useful members of society that are able to make a contribution to nature and the environment, either as tour guides, nature guides or the tourism and hotel industry. “Our aim is to give hope, training, motivation and a second chance for life.”
The Facility: The facility is set within a small game reserve with wildlife, and comprises a main lodge, with large water feature, which also caters for tourists, a lounge, bar, pool area; a shop, reception area, dining area and kitchen; a business lounge and twenty well appointed lodge rooms and staff offices. The training and rehabilitation facility will include five self contained units housing twenty trainees each and a dorm attendant. Two people will share one room and each dorm will have a study area and recreation room with shower and toilet facilities.
Five classrooms will cater for 20 students/trainees, with tutorial offices, a common room, staff consultation rooms and sick bay/infirmary. A five tent camp on raised wooden platforms, staff quarters; ancillary buildings will include a barn for horses and bicycles, garage and parking area and tool, workshop sheds incorporated into a barn for farm equipment; animal husbandry outbuildings also. The facility will have horses with a training ring, farm livestock including chickens, cows and goats, so that the lodge will be as self sufficient as possible. The horses will also be used for therapy, work and recreational purposes. Twenty bicycles will be used for exercise and work; two game viewing vehicles and two anti-poaching vehicles; one 4x4 pickup for farm and game duties; tour bus and tractor plus trailer; two quad bikes; four rifles; four handguns; one gun safe; four horses; an indoor multi gym with weights a treadmill and indoor bicycles. An outdoor field for softball, football, hockey and a running track included into one; a tennis court with basketball, volleyball, badminton and stands next to the tennis courts. There will also be a small farming area for growing vegetables, an obstacle course and shooting range.
Staff: 1x bushman tracker, 1x senior field guide, 1x field guide, 1x lodge/restaurant manager, 1x nurse, 1xphysical education and nature guide teacher, 1x assistant manager/nature instructor, 1x caretaker, 3x teachers, 2x cleaners, 1x cook, 2x restaurant assistants, 2x security guards, 1x hairdresser/grooming specialist.
Benefits: How will the nature courses benefit the trainees? Our aim is to motivate, teach, educate and give the tools (mental, physical and intellectual), needed for the trainees to make something of themselves, ‘Giving them a second chance in life’. Making a difference to their futures and giving them something to strive for. Changing their mental attitude and turning out individuals oriented and committed to nature. . .
How will the courses benefit the Eco-Scouts? The Eco-Scout will be drawn from under-privileged communities that lie in areas prone to poaching. They will be individuals that are interested in preserving wildlife and nature. The courses we will provide will give them the skills to go back into their communities to teach others about nature, and also, to act as protectors of the environment, giving them salaries and bicycles and a purposeful life. . .
In both cases we will instill skills that are marketable and will strive to give each individual work experience at other lodges, game parks and reserves; using an internship placement process.
Sports and activities: The incorporation of exercise and sport into training and therapy is very important, as not only does it cleanse the body of impurities and promotes better functioning of the body and a clearer mind, but it also promotes a better team spirit and important social interaction and friendships. Horse riding not only teaches a skill but also empathy and understanding of other creatures. An important part of this interaction is also the care and grooming of the animals. Bike riding will improve stamina and muscle tone. The obstacle course, individual motivation and teamwork; running will promote fitness and will detoxify the body and mind, promoting cardio-vascular fitness. Team sports such as football, softball and volleyball build team spirit and an, ‘All for one and one for all’, attitude.
Each Scout/Trainee, will be provided with gym shorts, shirt, sweatpants, socks, sneakers, etc, and will be trained by experienced enthusiastic instructors.
Eco-Scouts: They will primarily be drawn from under-privileged socio-community levels in strategic areas, particularly those areas that are prone to poaching. Potential Eco-Scouts will have to pass a selection process so that only those committed to nature or have an interest in it will go on to the next phase and nature camp. Eco-Scouts will have a structured grading system as they progress, so they may go on to being full nature guides, receiving training and qualifications through RAPTOR. Eco-Scouts will then return to their communities with an environmental purpose – to teach environmental principles and morality, to preserve South Africa’s wildlife, flora and fauna and to report any potential threat to wildlife, and, to act as a monitor in their respective communities. After passing they will be paid a salary and have the opportunity of further training to improve their grade.
Trainee Guides – Second Chance Candidates: As a necessary social responsibility we will provide nature therapy and training for those individuals who, due to circumstances and social background, have led less than exemplary life-styles, leading to anti-social and destructive life patterns and habits. These candidates will be given a second chance, utilizing nature, wildlife and domestic livestock, plus work experience and ethics, a structured training program that will stimulate both body and mind, and one that will build character and give meaning to their lives. The trainee guide candidates will have the opportunities to better themselves through the study of nature, giving them a course credit and valuable work experience, or, a qualification in nature work.
Nature Therapy: Taking people out of harmful environments or environs that have induced certain anti-social habits and responses, we will, utilizing nature, for example; the production of vegetables in a farm garden; the care of livestock and collection of produce, milk, eggs, etc; the understanding and care of wild animals, including tracking, veterinary care, the provision of water and grasses; the rehabilitation of farmland into natural bush land; nature camps; bush safaris, pony trekking and mountain bike trails; learning about nature and its needs, and, how we, humankind, are destroying it; our responsibility to nature, to restore and protect and preserve it; a campfire at night, the night sky above and Bushman chants, the strumming of a guitar and soft chatter. All these points provide pieces to the puzzle of life. We will endeavor to change their mindsets, imbuing a different set of responses to the external stimuli such individuals react to. Eco-Scouts and others will also benefit psychologically from such exposure and experience, as nature therapy is open to all. . .
Employment and internship: RAPTOR shall seek internship for the trainees at lodges, parks and game reserves, and, where possible, find positions for the trainees that are tapered to their skill, interests and qualifications.
Orientation Week: Orientation week will give the trainees operational guidelines, imbued health and basic knowledge on grooming, see as follows: Each trainee will have to adhere to a grooming policy, ie; brushed teeth and hair, shave, tidy appearance. (a) Trainees will receive haircuts and styling. (b) Trainees will be shown how to groom themselves, teeth brushing, showering, nail care, deodorant etc. (c) Trainees will have to take care of their own living area, make own beds in the correct manner, clean their clothes, iron and repair them, clean boots and running shoes, ie, washing, cleaning and polishing, keeping their clothes and equipment ready for inspection. (d) They will be shown how to clean and maintain the equipment they will use, ie, vehicles, grooming of horses, feeding of animals etc. (e) There will be a run each morning before breakfast and exercise during the day. (f) Each trainee will be required to muck in with duties, ie, food preparation, laying of tables, cleaning up etc. (g) Each trainee will be outfitted with a basic kit of shorts, shirts, boots , socks, epaulettes, training guide, sports kit, jacket, thermal cap and ballcap. (h) Males and females will be billeted in separate dormitories, with a resident dorm master or mistress.
Basic Duties: All Trainees/Eco-Scouts will have basic rostered duties, ie: vehicle maintenance and cleaning; horse grooming and feeding; cleaning of stables, ground and sports area maintenance; rehabilitation of land where needed; assisting with the smooth running of the facility; cookhouse duties – cooking, cleaning, laying of tables and washing up; assisting with new inductees; assisting coaches, teachers et al.
Each trainee will receive a broad spectrum of experience, from basic cleaning to upper management, as all will be an integral part of the organization.
Second Chance program: By teaching how to care and look after themselves and others, through work, exercise and hands on experience and training, we, and they, will strive to turn out useful members of society. Individuals that are now motivated to accomplish something with their lives and themselves. . .
Educational programs: The main areas of focus will be those aligned to tourism, encompassing: Transport, restaurant food preparation and serving, accommodation, nature guiding and anti-poaching, tour guiding, bush tracking and field craft, bush and wildlife knowledge, arts and crafts, music and traditional dance.
RAPTOR will stream and provide training for the second chance trainees and Eco-Scouts, having on hand relevant qualified instructors. Exams and certificates will be handled by the relevant existing structures. The duration of the courses will vary from weekend courses to year long courses, all tapered to meet the needs of the Scouts and Trainees.
Motivation and diet: these two aspects of life are of great importance to an individuals functioning. The body is a living machine and needs the right mental and physical oil to sustain it for a better life. The diet, exercise, educational, self reliance and nature oriented therapeutic programs will instill self motivation and a re-examining of life and lifestyle, with the end product of nature educated and oriented self reliant individuals, who are not self centered, but are team players. Thinking about how their actions will affect others and the nature around them. . . They will also have the opportunity to interact with international tourists, giving them insight and an outlook to a brighter future. . .