Africa Culture Camp is aimed at promoting healthy communities using arts to promote self-esteem and an understanding of diverse cultures and identities. Most years, it is a one-week, day camp open to Black children, children of African descent and to families who would like their children to have a diverse cultural experiences.
Working closely with community based partners camp is a fun way to interact with stories and history from Africa and the Diaspora the can shape and inspire youth of today. A leadership model of camp has naturally grown alongside the camp experience, engaging youth and teens in a cascading mentorship experience allows older youth to grow into a fuller experience of their own heritage as they learn to mentor and lead the younger kids. Conversely, the younger children see themselves reflected in camp leadership, in a way that inspires them to think in a fresh way about what is possible in their own lives and futures.
Ten years ago we set out to provide African kids with abundant reasons for them to be proud and confident of their heritage. Bring on the Sunshine, Adventure for Change, the African Canadian Association of Waterloo and Region (ACAWRA) and the University of Waterloo African Students Association (UWASA) joined us to deliver this yearly event.
Our camps have been a wonderful mixture of music, creativity, dance, storytelling, mentoring, modeling, crafts and celebration. Over the years our programming and attendance has grown, while many of our kids have matured. Today, some who first joined as campers are making their way into leadership roles at the camp, with all the challenges that can bring.
Children coming to Africa Camp participate in learning about Africa and African Culture through a range of activities from people with lived experience of both worlds. Dance, music, stories, sports, games and crafts, all focus on the constructive use of time as children learn to use their own using creativity to entertain and communicate.
Developmental assets included in the camp program are: Interpersonal and Social Competencies, Positive Values of Integrity. Equality and Social Justice are components of the camp program through the value of “Growing up Global” encouraging children and youth to become responsible global citizens.