Dynamic December

An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Selina Isaboke, 18, knows this only too well. TONY MOCHAMA caught up with the teen he calls ‘the ultimate intern’ who tells us how she has spent her holidays in the last year. SHIRLEY GENGA then gives you plans for your ‘holz’...

The holidays are a wonderful time and a nice break from books. It is a time to enjoy a change of pace from school and to instead focus on different productive interests or activities that you do not have time for during school.

Here are some activities you can indulge in:

Volunteer work

Find a place to volunteer whether it is church, a hospital or at an NGO. Volunteering is an avenue than enables teenagers to become active members of a community. Some of the benefits include:

Selina Isaboke

enhancing development, proper time management, teaches life skills and encourages a life-long service ethic. Clementine Mwende, a banker, remembers her high school holidays fondly.

"I attended St Georges Girls’ High School, Nairobi and I was never one to stay idle. I was in the first aid club and if we were not having first aid training session at school during the holidays, we were volunteering in hospitals. While in Form Two in 2002, we volunteered at Kenyatta National Hospital during my December holidays. Our first aid club partnered with Red Cross and that was how the opportunity came about.

On the first day, we were allocated to different sections of the hospital and were required to report each day in our school uniform. We would volunteer from eight in the morning to around one. It not only kept me busy but it was also an eye opener. I met people from all walks of life and it helped me appreciate the life that I had. It is something I would advise young people to get involved in during holidays instead of idling at home," says Clementine.

Go camping

Many churches and organisations have camps for young people. Camping provides a great opportunity to learn new skills and meet people from all walks of life. Pepea International Risk Free Youth Camp for Forms One, Two and Three is one of them that will be happening this December. The charges are Sh12,000 and it will run for three days from Thursday, December 8. There will be life skill sessions, swimming, games and a cultural night at Kivu Retreat in Nakuru.

Another one is Ignite iCamps for Children and Youth for those between eight to 16 years old. There will be a junior camp (ages 8-12) and a teen camp (ages 13-16). The six-day camp promises to engage participants in a programme of indoor and outdoor learning at a luxurious tented campsite in the hills of Kajiado for one week. There will be lessons in the basics of cooking, managing chores, housekeeping, table setting and gardening.

Job shadow

You can also spend your holiday job shadowing. It is arguably the next best experience to interning. Job shadowing is a career exploration activity that offers an opportunity to spend time with a professional currently working in a person’s career field of interest. Young people get to experience first-hand the work environment. Also, not only do job shadowers get to observe the day-to-day activities of someone in the current workforce, they also get a chance to have their questions answered. Even though job shadowing is limited in that it allows students to only observe, through it one gets to network, get a glimpse into a company or profession and it also helps to determine ones interests. You can job shadow your parent, a relative or a family friend.


Internship encourages a young person to test his education in the vicinity of official environment. An internship is basically an arrangement that enables a participant to work in a company or organisation for a fixed period of time. It offers valuable insight into a particular field or career. Most internship is unpaid or offers little pay but the experience is good for ones CV. Look for one that matches your course in college.

Work on your talents or learn a new skill

If you are good in sports or artwork, work on ways to improve. For example, if you are creative, ask your parent to buy you beads and make some jewellery, which you can sell to family and friends and thus make some pocket money, or give out as gifts.

If you like to dance, Sarakasi Trust offers free dance and acrobat lessons every Saturday.

Find, read, hear, watch or do something exciting, stimulating and entertaining. You will probably be more fulfilled if you learn something.

Find a new hobby, such as knitting, drawing, playing an instrument, cycling, cooking or photography. If you are particularly good at one skill, you could teach others to do it.

Start a life list and accomplish a new thing every day, or week.