In keeping with the National Trust’s commitment to create a community throughout the Turks & Caicos Islands that is knowledgeable and engaged in heritage preservation, the organization hosted two camps to cap the summer season; one in Providenciales (from August 12th to 16th, 2019) and another in North Caicos (from August 19th to 22nd, 2019).
Leadership & Cultural Youth Camp
The Turks and Caicos National Trust partnered with the Edward C. Gartland Youth Centre and hosted a camp specifically geared towards the youth aged 13 to 20 years old. The theme and focus of this camp were youth empowerment, trust, motivation, valued heritage and identities, collective and cultural meaning, among others. Campers were presented with strategies and activities that were designed to make them think critically about what it means to be Turks and Caicos Islanders, and their role and responsibility to collective community. Director of TCNT Winema Sanders-Penn taught and challenged the youngsters to become better stewards of history and culture in the TCI by becoming leaders in the community and by protecting the history, culture and environment. Campers were also treated to an interactive lecture by Mr. David Bowen, Culture Ambassador, who challenged campers to stay true to their cultural heritage and to the authenticity of TCI culture. He said, “With such a diverse make up of people flocking to our shores for work, and visitors wanting to enjoy the beauty of our country, it is important to identify and give meaning to authentic TCI culture, know what is your cultural identity and what makes you bonafide Turks & Caicos Islander”. Mr. Bowen then challenged campers to define TCI culture, to which top answers mentioned by the campers included food, dialect and junkanoo.
Youth participants also visited the Cheshire Hall Plantation and the Turks and Caicos National Museum, where they were immersed in the history, artifacts and daily life of the ancestors who came before them. Equally important, campers also learned about environmental heritage. Mr. Roddy McLeod of the DECR took campers on a guided tour of the DECR’s museum and gave insightful information and lessons on protecting environment and marine life. Campers then cleaned up Princess Alexandria National Park, where Rocky (Rock Iguana mascot) made an appearance and cleaned with campers, demonstrating the importance of keeping the environment clean, for generations to enjoy.
Children’s Cultural and Environmental Summer Camp
Children in North Caicos enjoyed a week of fun and informative activities as the Turks & Caicos National Trust, through its main sponsor, Fortis TCI, hosted a cultural and environmental camp. This initiative was birthed out of TCNT’s efforts to reach the collective communities of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the need to teach our children about their unique cultural heritage, while at the same time having summer fun.
Held at Horse Stable Beach in Whitby, North Caicos, campers were taught interactive lessons and demonstration by local intellectuals, teachers, historians and volunteers. At the camp, participants got to plant their very own plant, shuck corn and sampled the foods that the ancestors harvested before them. Cultural Ambassador KacyDee Higgs brought samples of corn, peas, grits, cornmeal and other food stuff that are grown locally. On the last day, campers were treated with an old fashion grill pit, where children roasted corn, burgers and smores.
This camp is usually held on Providenciales each year. But next year, the National Trust is planning to extend the camp to Grand Turk, Salt Cay and South Caicos children.