Camp Furaha, a day camp for Prince Edward Islanders identifying as girls who are Black, Indigenous or people of colour, is launching into its fall and winter season after a successful summer.
Group co-leader Claire Byrne said the idea for the camp came about after a women's luncheon sponsored by the Black Cultural Society of P.E.I. in February.
"We were thinking how do we recreate this space for youth," Byrne told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier, "knowing that people do feel isolation and do have these shared experiences and don't have a space that they can talk about them in a way that they feel safe."
The camp did not have any rigid plans to start with, or even a name. It was known simply as Girls' Group. Byrne said the girls guided what the activities would be. They spent a lot of time outside, they did crafts, they read stories.
"A lot of them just kind of want to dance for two hours. If that's what we do for two hours, that's what we do," said Byrne.
The girls in the summer camp also chose the name, Furaha, which means joy in Swahili.
'These kids are experiencing racism'
There was no plan for the camp to directly address racism head on. Rather, the plan was to simply create a space where those conversations could happen, and even if they didn't, where the girls could feel supported in who they are.
"The reality is these kids are experiencing racism in their lives. We know that for a fact, but we want to not make race kind of a thing they talk about that's heavy and complicated to talk about, because you might be seven years old," said Byrne.
"We can't do a lot in that space to talk about what's happening in the world but we can create a space where these youth feel supported and feel like they do have community."
Furaha received support from Wild Child, Sierra Club, Women's Network, Advisory Council on the Status of Women, as well as the Black Cultural Society.
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