Students given the space to learn, explore, tell their story, taste and create
The 10th Annual Space to Create summer camp sought to highlight that each person has a unique gift to offer the world, and each situation in life gives people a gift that is sometimes disguised by a challenge or obstacle. It’s camp this year was hosted under the theme “everything is a gift.”
The Space to Create Program works to help young people develop their talents and character through improving academic competency, learning the creative arts, community service and working together.
Held in Harbour Island, Eleuthera, this year’s camp had 85 campers. The camp has expanded over the decade and now is divided into five specialized programs — Space to Learn, Space to Explore, Space to Tell Your Story, Space to Taste, and the original arts program Space to Create.
Space to Learn is the academic enrichment program that has been offered since the inception of the program in 2007 to support students based on their individual academic needs and offers daily reading and math instruction focused on improving core skills before the school year begins.
This year, by partnering with West Chester University’s Special Education Department they were able to bring two educators from Pennsylvania, USA. The educators achieved remarkable progress in student reading and math competency in just a two-week period. They say some students reading assessments showed 90 to 100 percent improvement.
This is the fourth year of Space to Explore, a full-fledged environmental education camp offered through a partnership with The Bahamas Plastic Movement, an Eleuthera-based conservation organization. The program allows students to experience the ecosystems of the island of Eleuthera, through snorkeling, hiking and camping. Students conducted research on the health of local ecosystems and threats facing them. This year they paid close attention to the mangroves, sea grass beds, plastic pollution, sea turtles and shark conservation, and conducted coral reef surveys. Through partnership with conservation activist Shane Gross and the Cape Eleuthera Institute students were able to participate in a turtle tagging expedition and have a special presentation on shark biology.
Space to Taste is a program launched in 2014, by a program alumna Jammi Higgs, to give students another avenue of self-expression through culinary arts. Through the culinary arts program students acquired the basics of creative, nutritious, and safe food preparation. The students prepared several meals daily. The program specifically targeted students who have an interest in the restaurant business, food and nutrition. Space to Tell Your Story was this year’s pilot program. Students were given the opportunity to learn about documentary filmmaking by receiving hands-on training from experienced filmmakers. They learned about video camera and audio techniques, how to tell a story, and how to create their own movie. The course permits students to express their voice by sharing their stories and views on their island home. This year’s film topics developed by students were a focus on bullying and exploring the beauty of Harbour Island. Space to Create consists of dance, music, drama and art. Dance routines were created by Samantha Pratt of Passionate Expressions Dance Studio, New Providence, who returned to Harbour Island for a third time. Musician Kirkwood Cleare of Rock Sound directed an expanded music program that incorporated a wide range of percussion instruments and harmonicists. Cleare worked with a student from the Centre for Innovation and Training, Cornell Miller, who took the lead in arranging vocals. Toinette Mackey, a New Providence-based mime artist associated with Collage Entertainment instructed students in classical mime adding a new and exciting dimension to the performance.
Mime came under the umbrella of the camp’s drama program coordinated by Taimak Saunders, an Eleuthera descendant who works with Bahamas Artist Movement, a New Providence based theater organization.
In the drama course students explored the basics of drama, characterization, short comic scene development, which included a social message. Students worked cooperatively to develop scenes based on prompts provided by the teacher. In art class students practiced the fundamental skills of drawing, using simple techniques in color and pattern.
Students were encouraged to embrace their gifts of uniqueness and express themselves however they pleased. The program was led by Jack Dorsett, Octavia Rolle and Lequille Cleare.
At the end of the camp students of the Space to Create program come together to entertain the community with a variety show with a powerful message. They addressed social issues such as childhood neglect, “sweethearting,” peer pressure and violent crime relaying the story of a young man who makes a series of unfortunate decisions, in many ways typical of the mistakes made by some young men. Each mistake came with a lesson and when given a second chance the protagonist turned his life around.
The show’s focus on topical issues and performances by students was the talk of Dunmore Town.
Dazzling Bahamian folk and contemporary dance pieces delighted the crowd of 300 plus spectators, along with inspirational songs and musical selections reflecting Bahamian heritage and culture.