Supermodel and TV personality, Stacey McKenzie, hosted the third year of The Walk Camp Jamaica camp, which is dedicated to the self-development and empowerment of girls in inner-city communities and at the Half-Way Tree Primary School, with each participant encouraged to be mentored by business people in their respective fields.
An excited McKenzie said: “The Walk Camp is a camp that I give to 20-30 girls every summer. It kick-started in Canada, then I brought it back home to Jamaica because I saw the importance of giving back to the youth.”
On returning to the communities where she was born, she knew there was need for a ‘ray of hope’ for the children there. She explained: “It started when I went to the inner-city neighbourhoods of Allman Town and Slipe Road where I came from. While I was in my old neighbourhood, this little one came up to me and said, ‘You’re the only one that ever comes back and come look for us’.”
The conversation would inspire her to find more ways in which she could give back to her community. “I decided that I was gonna create something to give back to the youth,” she said, “starting with the girls.”
She then worked on a plan - on who she was going to inspire and how she was going to do it.
Stacey recalls: “I created ‘The Walk Camp’, where each day they would have a different mentor in their respective fields, including fashion industry, business, finance, entrepreneurship, health, and wellness, who would tell their stories about what it took for them to get to where they are today. It gives the girls a hands-on workshop on how to get into the industry.”
“I want them to listen to, and learn from, other people. I made a list of as many people as I can, to be motivational speakers. For my ‘Walk This Way Workshop’, which is training aspiring models, I was known for my walk. But creating the ‘Camp is about the journey.
“It is about the obstacles and the challenges they face. It is also about the good and the bad and the ugly of their walk, which is their journey in life.”
Looking forward to the expansion and outreach of her camp to children in each parish across Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, Stacey McKenzie is also looking to engage the young boys in inner-city communities across Jamaica - to inspire them to know that the sky is the limit for them - and that they are more than capable of achieving greatness.