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Cayman Islands: Traditional arts/Summer camp

Heritage Arts summer campSummer came early for a group of lucky youngsters in the middle of this month, when they got the chance to spend an entire day soaking up lots of Caymanian traditions, fun activities and creating scrumptious local sweets at a special Summer Camp Day produced by the Heritage Arts programme, run by Cayman Traditional Arts.

The Heritage Arts programme teaches participants a broad understanding of Caymanian culture, art and heritage through weekly interaction with local highly skilled instructors. Originally installed into the national curriculum two years ago for all year six students in government-run primary schools, the programme now also runs on Cayman Brac, in government high schools, in various private schools, the Lighthouse School and the Sunrise Adult Learning Centre.

The Summer Camp Day, held at Barker’s Beach in West Bay, was open to all Heritage Arts students and offered physical activities for the young people which their parents and their grandparents and those before them would have enjoyed, growing up in the Cayman Islands. These included snorkeling, fishing, learning the art of the bow and arrow, horse-back riding and traditional games. They even got the chance to ride in a traditional catboat, once one of the most important modes of transport for local residents in years gone by.

Chris Christian, who runs Cayman Traditional Arts, says they wanted the young students to gain a first-hand experience of life in the Cayman Islands, before electronic media took over keeping children indoors and preventing them from exploring the wonders of the outdoors.

“Young people need to appreciate their surroundings — it gives them a sense of history and perspective and, most importantly, it’s fun to enjoy the outdoors! We devised a day that was packed with so much entertainment that iPods and iPads could be forgotten for once!” he said.

Along with all the fun and games, students also had the opportunity to create traditional Caymanian sweets, such as coconut candy balls and peppermint candies, as well as enjoy some fritters.

“It was a great day out,” Mr Christian confirmed. “My thanks go to all the organisers and volunteers who helped to make the day possible.”

The Heritage Arts programme has the backing of the government and is sponsored by three individual ministries: the Ministry of District Admin, Tourism and Transport, the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Culture, each of which have recognised the importance of the programme for Cayman’s young people.


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