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NACCA holds Afrocentric summer camp in Newmarket for Black youth

Kuumba summer camp is taking place Aug. 5 to 19 for children ages 8 to 13, providing Black-affirming and fun-filled experiences
Yolanda T. Marshall
Author Yolanda T. Marshall will join campers Aug. 18 at the Kuumba summer camp offered by the Newmarket African Caribbean Canadian Association Aug. 5 to 19.

The Newmarket African Caribbean Canadian Association is holding an Afrocentric Kuumba summer camp with the aim of boosting self-esteem, confidence and knowledge of Black culture and heritage in Black children.

"Inspired by Black youth for Black youth," said NACCA chairperson Jerisha Grant-Hall of the "first of its kind" camp for children aged eight to 13 from Aug. 5 to 19 as part of the organization's ongoing focus to produce high-quality programming especially for the local African Black Caribbean community. 

The two-week camp at the NACCA community centre on Eagle Street will encourage positive self-awareness and resilience strategies with Black-affirming and fun-filled experiences, including a reading club, art, culinary and gardening workshops, outdoor adventures, indoor fun and games, swimming, wellness, and hair and skin care from the practical to the cognitive, Grant-Hall said in a news release.

Special guest and author Yolanda T. Marshall will join campers Aug. 18 to teach them about about Canada’s Caribbean Carnival. Her book, C is for Carnival, features a diverse cast of children in vibrant costume as they ‘play mas’ while dancing to Soca and  Calypso music.  

Kuumba, one of NACCA's guiding principles, according to its website, means creativity – using creativity and imagination to make our community better than what we inherited, "to always do as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it." 

Providing safe spaces for Black youth to develop safe identities has been a pillar of NACCA since its inception, Grant-Hall said, adding that primary focus will be reflected in the organization's upcoming strategic plan this September.

Three Black youth mentors will have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills by working to co-create activities for the program for their younger peers, she said.

“As NACCA is poised to deliver direct services to the community and is especially focused on Black youth, with an aim to empower, educate and affirm, this is one of many future programs to come.” 

Grant-Hall acknowledged the "tremendous support" for the camp from the Town of Newmarket, York Region  Food Network, Penguin Books, Tundra Books, the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Resilient Communities Promising Young People’s Fund and many volunteers from the Black community.  

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