Tips For NYSC Orientation Camp in Nigeria

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    Avatar of Olatunde OgunbiyiOlatunde Ogunbiyi

    NYSC orientation camp

    The NYSC scheme is one of Nigerian undergraduates’ most sought after experiences. In this post, I share tips for the NYSC orientation camp in Nigeria. What makes the youth service in a graduate’s life more interesting is the opportunity to visit another state for the first time. Other attractions to the scheme include the mandatory 3 weeks of military orientation camp and of course the monthly allowance attached to the program. While some may dread the thought of leaving their comfort zone, to some of us; it is the opportunity for an adventure like never before.

    What is NYSC?

    NYSC is an acronym that stands for National Youth Service Corps. It is a youth-oriented program that began in the post-civil war era in the year 1973. It is the brainchild of the military head of state General Yakubu Gowon.

    The NYSC program was a scheme that was created to foster unity amongst the Nigerian youths after years of civil war, it gave fresh university graduates the opportunity to visit states and regions other than their state of origin in order to learn the culture and tradition of the people.

    Eligibility for NYSC

    The NYSC scheme had 3 major goals during its creation. The military government saw it as an avenue to reconstruct, rebuild and reconcile the nation after the civil war. To qualify for the Nysc service year, one has to have obtained a degree from a tertiary institution within or outside the country. The fresh graduate also has to be under the age of 30, those who graduated before the age of 30 but skipped the year or service are still eligible for service.

    After the mandatory 3 weeks of military orientation camp, the corps members are then posted to different local governments in the state and issued their place of primary assignment. After successful completion of the service year, the corp member will be issued a Nysc discharge certificate and then sent into the labour market to get employment.

    Preparation tips for the NYSC orientation camp in Nigeria

    Preparation for the NYSC orientation camp in Nigeria begins long before you step into the campgrounds. It begins with weeks of continuously checking the Nysc website to verify if your name is on the graduation list and NYSC portal. After you have confirmed this, you can then begin registration for your service year. After registration, potential corp members are expected to check their dashboards a week or two weeks later to check their state of deployment.

    Required documents for validation on the NYSC Orientation Camp

    After confirming your state of deployment, the corps member has a week to gather all necessary documents, clothes and other accessories needed at the orientation camp. Documents needed for validation at the camp include:

    • An original copy of your statement of result or certificate.
    • Birth certificate.
    • A copy of your call up letter.

    Other important documents might be required depending on your particular circumstance but the above are the basics.

    Clothing items

    Necessary clothing items include:

    • White vests.
    • White shorts.
    • A pair of white shoes.
    • Sunday wear.

    Other clothing accessories would be provided at the orientation camp. You are required to come with a waist pouch to keep items like your phone and power bank, plate and spoon for your meals.

    Arrival tips for the NYSC orientation camp

    After confirming the state of deployment which in my case was Kano state, corps members have a few days to arrive at the camp. In my case, it took a 24 hours bus trip from Lagos state to Karaye camp, Kano state. A journey I thoroughly enjoyed because it gave me the opportunity to meet awesome people and also see some of Nigeria’s beautiful sites. I and my fellow sojourners and corps members arrived at Karaye camp on a hot Thursday afternoon and were immediately subjected to a mandatory COVID-19 test.

    After confirming that we were COVID-19 negative, we were then subjected to a mandatory search by the camp security. Those who were found with one banned item or the other had the item seized before they were allowed into the camp gate. Immediately after entering the camp gate, you’re expected to officially sign in.

    After completing the signing-in procedure, you’re required to go to the hostel where you will be assigned a room and sleeping materials. After getting to my room, it was left to me to look for the most convenient sleeping materials.

    After successfully securing my bed space, it was time to commence registration. This process involves validating all your documents, thumbprinting and then getting yourself assigned to a platoon. Your assigned platoon becomes your new family throughout the orientation camp, most assignments or tasks given would be carried out together with your platoon. Camp regulated uniforms will also be distributed by the platoon heads, who will also issue you your official identification card and register your account number.

    One of the first things you will notice when you get to camp is how regulated the activities are. Activities begin as early as 5:30 am and do not end until light out at 10 pm. Save for food breaks, you have almost no time for other activities. Nothing prepared me for the cold weather at the camp, corp members who were not with warm clothing were left shivering all through the morning activities.

    The daily activities begin with the sound of the beagle at 5:30 am, believe me, there is no getting used to that sound. The morning activities begin with morning devotion for Christians and a visit to the mosque for the Muslims. Afterwards, the Nysc anthem and National anthem are recited, and the public relations officer for the camp then comes forward to announce the itinerary for the day. The military personnel then begin the military drills for that morning, these drills consist of some exercises and parade rehearsals.

    After the morning drills, corps members are expected to go for their bath and breakfast, and then commence morning lectures. Morning lectures last till about 2 pm after which the corps members go for their lunch and siesta. Evening drills and parade rehearsals begin at exactly 4 pm and do not end till 6 pm. Dinner is served at 7 pm and then followed by social activities which end at 10 pm. The activities are repeated every day till Saturdays, Sundays are secluded for religious activities and personal activities.

    Other fun activities during the orientation camp except for the military drills and parade rehearsals include the swearing-in and end of the camp ceremony, inter-platoon drama and dance competition, debate competition, parade competition, sports competitions including football matches, volleyball games and athletics, carnivals and the cooking competition. Winners of these various competitions are awarded cash prizes.

    One thing I learned during my rigorous three weeks at the camp was that like everything in life “This too shall pass”. It took a whole lot of perseverance to not break down physically and mentally. My advice to potential corp members is to prepare yourself emotionally, physically and financially. You will be tested by harsh weather conditions, soldiers, other corp members and general bad living conditions. Keep in mind that it is a once in a lifetime experience and make the most out of it.

    You might also be interested in 15 Tips For Surviving the NYSC Orientation Camp.

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