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inspiration…
September 19, 2011

“Every minute, every second, every step of the way!” I think of Camp Kayak and Carriacou. The Green Machine’s anthem is hard to get out of my head- it’s so catchy! “This is our team, the Green Machine!” The second session was all about team spirit and collaboration. Each color group had a team name, mascot, motto, and even song that the children themselves produced with Mr. Emi, aka “Afro Em.” Each group was rewarded either gold stars for team work, good attitude, helpfulness, effort, and creativity, or thunder clouds for the opposite.

In the end, the Maroon Maurauders stormed the Carnival stage and won the color competition. In their inspiration cards to each other, they wrote comments like “I wish you were my brother.” It was very touching to see such a strong sense of connectedness between the campers.

I feel lucky to have worked with so many gifted professionals and educators. Miss Erin, an enthusiastic biologist came all the way from Wyoming, straight from a job at Yellowstone National Park, to work with the children of Camp Kayak. She taught the children about conservation and used recycled materials and materials from nature to make art projects. The campers got to go on fun and informative hikes with Miss Erin and Miss Crystal, a Peace Corps worker also working in the area of conservation in Carriacou. It was fun to learn from the counselors, but the children were great teachers as well. Amanake found many birds’ nests and pointed out dangerous plants, ones I made a note to avoid!

Mr. John who recently was deployed in Afghanistan came and took charge as the fitness director. He was a drill sargent only in making sure the kids had fun, in addition to a good work out. Miss Michela’s therapeutic art projects drew in as many staff as children. Mr. Gabriel’s cyanotypes prints magically changed color to a deep ocean blue when exposed to the sun. Mr. Adrien came all the way from Paris to share his painting skills. He and the children sketched the landscapes outside, meditatively, getting back to the roots of teaching art- the natural world was always the original classroom.

Mr. Bongo kept the beat alive with the constant drumming. I was so impressed at the rhythms the children were able to create on one single drum. It was as if they had more than two hands! And Mr. Devon’s boat making class was one I participated in. Miss Michela and I carved out our own little boats for the regatta display, in the cool shade of the tamarind tree, as we laughed with the children about the imperfections of all of our boats that eventually made them so perfect.

My video and photography class collaborated with Mr. Emi’s music production class and Miss Samantha and Miss Nicketa’s dance class and made an amazing music video, “Bust a Tune!” We had so much fun making it- it really captures the spirit of Camp Kayak.

And somehow, I was able to bring back the ninjas from the first session play, “Once Upon a Time in Carriacou” in a faux news cast about Mr. Foster’s stolen donkey. It was a very spontaneous production, but it came out so cute and funny, and again, we had a blast making the video.

Now that I am back in the States, I think about the beautiful island of Carriacou and the beautiful, talented children of the island who inspired me as much as I hope I inspired them. In one project, I took a group to a local business and we interviewed the business owner of the famed snow ices across the street from L’esterre School. Then the children made a collage about the history of the store and the things that inspired Miss Sophia, the shopkeeper, and the next day, presented it to her. She was so touched- she studied the collage carefully and said she would hang it in a very special place in the store.

That for me sums up my experiences at Camp Kayak. It is a special place in which creativity and community inspire the campers, the counselors, and the amazing community of Carriacou. Thank you Miss Victoria for bringing us all together, a wonderful community of artists and an equally amazing group of young, beautiful children eager to learn and play. I am already counting down the days until summer 2012. “Bust a tune, there!”

Arin Yoon – Camp Kayak’s Creative Media Director

Color wheels…
August 26, 2011

The past two weeks have been exciting, fulfilling and so much fun! Teaching the children of Crarricou and Petite Martinique is truly a blessing and continual learning experience for me, one that I carry with me in my own continual art creation process and in teaching back in the States.  This summer we focused on local legends and folklore. These were very interesting and the inspiration for illustrative class painting. The study of color and hue developed these paintings. I was amazed at the precision and beauty of the color wheels the children created, that they will bring home to help remember the methods of color mixing and continue to use in their future painting. I will travel home to Providence invigorated by our students energy and excitement for the arts and new experiences!

Anna Greene-Smith, Painter / Camp Kayak Teacher

Last Days Session 1 – 2011
August 22, 2011

Summer 2011 – session one

The summer is full underway…and it has been grand so far! We’ve tried a new formula this year: more campers, more staff…and longer sessions! WOW! What a wonderful expansion we have had. 65 students from the ages of 8-12 yrs. joined us on the first day of Camp Kayak on July 11th, along with 10 CIT students (with past camp experience) and 18 foreign teachers & local volunteers – our group is more than 90 strong! Wide-eyed and ready for an exhilarating day, we gathered at the assembly tables for roll call. Some faces were familiar…. there was Darren from Petite Martinique, and Tamara from Petite Carrinage, Anntoya from Lauriston, and Edwina from Mount Pleasant, but for the most part the students of 2011 are new, anxious to learn what Camp Kayak is all about.

Studios in Photography, Film, arts and craft, music, dance, sports and cooking kept us all busy that initial week…classes of 8 were assigned their colors and excitedly headed off to learn something new! The children in the film and photo classes – manned with cameras and new perspective photographed each other, the campus, and their teachers. They scoured the grounds finding shapes of letters in nature, to spell out their names. Dances were choreographed and music was written by the campers. Paint pots were filled and a variety of projects undertaken…the campus was buzzing!

Each day we sit down to a big nutritious meal…we have dined on Lasagna, and fish, meatloaf and stewed chicken….The camp favorite of course, was Tuesday when the “Lazy Turtle” restaurant sponsored Pizza day – the children vied to work in the kitchen and cook that meal themselves! Everyone joins in to help, teams of children have been busy washing wears, serving meals and generally keeping watch for what they can do to be of use! I am very proud of them all. One team in particular stands out from the crowd…Green Team has exhibited exemplary skill at helpfulness – they know who they are – winning prizes for their team’s organization and cooperation!

One the last set of days all campers joined in to write and perform a camp play….”Once Upon a time in Carriacou” – a fairy tale based on local folk stories and Cinderella. It was fabulous! I loved the sets, the costumes, the dramatic acting…and most of all – everyone was involved. Our audience, comprised of parents and local community sat enchanted by the actors and actresses…for 40minutes! I am sorry to see this session end. Everyone had a wonderful time and left camp on the last day changed for the betterment of their experience! Thank you session one – 2011 we loved our time with you! See you Sept. 3rd for Parents Day wrap up!

Regards and Blessings,
Victoria Armentrout – Camp Director and Founder