Spady Museum campers Saeyana Walker and Yarvens Saint Aude enjoy themselves at the museum.


Courtesy of Spady Museum

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Youth who arrive at the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum this summer for camp will forgo the usual pool, zoo and park experiences, opting instead to learn the art, crafts and expression of their cultures.

The schedule will feature teaching artists, who will share how to create dolls, quilts, poetry and baskets – while imparting lessons of historical importance to the next generation.

The Youth Cultural Empowerment Camp (YCEC) will be held from 9 a.m. – noon on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from June 27 to August 3. There is a $50 enrollment fee per student.

The YCEC is a six-week intensive program that focuses on building self-esteem, cultural identity and social and civic responsibility in youth. The YCEC was created to address the need to provide youth with an arts and cultural heritage immersion program to enhance the Palm Beach County School District’s black history curriculum in a historical environment.

“We are trying to create a time and place for children to learn things they would only get from their elders. Everyone should know about their heritage, how their grandparents and great-grandparents communicated, built and shared,” said Tonya Akins, museum youth coordinator. “Our camp was designed to be different, something young people could only get from the Spady Museum.”

From July 18-20, the camp will feature the artistry of doll-making and the Gullah Geechee Tradition Sweetgrass Basket Weaving. The basket weaving is based on the most treasured Gullah-Geechee traditions of the Lowcountry in the intricate art of making sweetgrass baskets. This craft has been passed down through the generations for more than 400 years in Charleston, S.C.

The doll-making is based on the Ancient Egyptian and African culture dating as far back as 2000 BC, when wooden dolls were discovered in Egyptian tombs. The majority of the African dolls were used as a method of education, messengers of gods and ancestors and ritual tools.

From July 25-27, Kianga Jinaki will introduce the nine-patch quilt block as an introduction to quilting. The students will hone their sewing skills and begin creating the North Star Block, one of the blocks attributed to the quilt codes used by enslaved Africans seeking freedom on the Underground Railroad.

From August 1-3, Darius Daughtry will introduce the written and literary arts through “The Write Your Story: Poetry & Performance Experience.” Through creative self-exploration, students will learn to craft original poetry, create their own narratives and lyrically express themselves.

Located at 170 NW Fifth Avenue in Delray Beach, the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum is the only museum in Palm Beach County dedicated to sharing the African, Haitian and Caribbean-American cultural contributions to Florida and the U.S.

Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday and Saturday by appointment. Admission is $10; Members are free.

For more information, call 561-279-8883 or visit

WHAT: Youth Cultural Empowerment Camp

WHEN: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, June 27 – August 3, 2017; 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

WHERE: Spady Museum, 170 NW 5th Ave., Delray Beach, FL 33444, 561-279-8883

COST: $50 enrollment fee