Harvest Centre nurtures future champs

Hout Bay MMA trainer Peter Michaels encourages Amber King between rounds during a Cape Fight League (CFL) kickboxing tournament in Saldanha Bay, at the weekend.

The Harvest Youth Centre at the Harbour is of of the busiest places in Hout Bay.  

On any given day, dozens of youngsters get in and out of its doors. Inside, one is likely to be greeted with different activities, from drumming, music and martial arts.

The centre’s chief executive officer, Helena Fagan, attributed this to the children’s enthusiasm to learn new things and further develop the skills they have already acquired. She said they run projects to develop children’s different skills and to develop their self-esteem. The main aim, she said, is to help them discover and further their talents.

“We run programmes in martial arts,videography, photography and arts, which include music and drumming. Each of these programmes have a full-time teacher. We have a number of activities lined up. Some of the children, for instance, will be given training on different skills sets. We are, for instance, planning to produce a music video, where the children will be taught a lot, including how to register their work and many more,” she said.

Fagan also stressed the importance of working with other NGOs. This, she said, was due to the fact that they do a lot of outreach work in different areas.

“Last week, for instance, we were in Langebaan, where our children got involved in a number of activities. Our martial arts team took part in the tournament in Saldanha Bay, where they did well,” she said. The organisation’s martial arts wing is called Hout Bay Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Trainer Peter Michaels said they took six fighters to the tournament in Saldanha Bay, and all of them came back victorious. “This is the sign that we take what we are doing seriously, that’s why the results went our way,” he said.

Before the trip to Saldanha Bay, some of Michaels’s fighters participated in the Ring Reloaded’s Charity Reloaded 3 boxing event at the Artum Centre in Sea Point. Michaels said he believes these are the kinds of experiences that would transform the youngsters into even better fighters.

He might have a point – in the space of about three years of its existence, Hout Bay MMA’s fighters seem to be making steady progress. Eight of the club’s members, including Michaels, for instance, will represent the province in the national MMA championships, which will take place in Johannesburg on Saturday June 8.

And the trainer is convinced they will come back with more medals. He also noted that being selected to fight in the national championships was a great deal to the members of the gym, as it is a sign that they were doing something right. He said they were also aware that it is not going to be easy as they will come up against the country’s finest. The club, having established three years ago, has about 18 fighters, aged between seven and 32. Michaels said it was easy to work with this group because each one of them can fight. “They just need guidance,” he said.

For more information about the Harvest Centre and its activities, call Helena Fagan on 082 784 5054.

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