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Kulcha Konnection Camp - 'Cum ketch a lickle kulcha'

Published:Friday | July 6, 2018 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
One of the field trip of the camp will be to the Institute of Jamaica where they may see historical facts such as these items that were recovered from Port Royal.
A replica of one of the ships used by Christopher Columbus on his journey to the West Indies, on display at the Institute of Jamaica.
Lesley-Gail Atkinson Swaby

There is no better time to learn about your culture, history, and identity than during the summer break . That is what Lesley-Gail Atkinson Swaby, PhD student at the University of the West Indies (UWI), is using to attract persons to the inaugural Kulcha Konnection Camp under the theme 'Cum ketch a lickle kulcha'.

As the founder and director of the summer camp for children as young as six years old, Atkinson Swaby has taken on the challenge of educating the curious minds in a new and activity-filled way."

The idea was to host a culture-based summer camp, and the idea came out of doing a presentation earlier this year, on the earliest inhabitants the Tainos, as well as the indigenous plants and animals for Jamaica Day," Atkinson Swaby told The Gleaner.

She added: "It was awe-inspiring what children at the grade five level were not exposed to. And so, after much thought and planning, came the summer camp.

"It will be hosted at the UWI Mona Geology Museum but includes two field trips each week to museums within Kingston and St Andrew, including the Institute of Jamaica from Culture camps in Jamaica usually offer an encouraging environment for the participants to express ideas through art, dance, and music forms, but for Kulcha Konnection, lessons on the contributions of various ethnic groups will be executed through information-packed presentations, traditional folk music, storytelling sessions, interactive games, and arts and craft.

Amina Blackwood-Meeks is one of the featured storytellers for the camp. According to Atkinson Swaby, who is currently a doctoral candidate in Caribbean anthropology, many times, parents expect the schools to teach the children every cultural detail. She said that the camp projects will allow the children to write and deliver on any of the topics or artefacts learnt in scrapbook form (with pictures, models, or any way the children choose)."

Kulcha Konnection came out of a need to teach the next generation about how each ethnic group contributed to their own culture and being not just promoting it, but as the future safe guardians of local culture," she said. "Even if only five children are registered at the start of the camp, I am going to work with them."

It is the aim of the culture camp to have children leaving and gaining knowledge that will impact their futures in a fun and interactive way.