Thu | Jan 26, 2023

Supermodel Stacey McKenzie giving back to communities through The Walk Camp

Published:Saturday | August 20, 2022 | 12:07 AMKerese Oakley-Williams / Gleaner Intern
Supermodel Stacey McKenzie with members of The Walk Camp.
Supermodel Stacey McKenzie with members of The Walk Camp.

Supermodel and TV personality, Stacey McKenzie, hosted the third year of The Walk Camp Jamaica from August 8-19. The camp, which is dedicated to the self-development and empowerment of girls in inner-city communities, sought to engage students with learning and hands-on activity at the Half-Way Tree Primary School. Throughout the free camp, each participant was allowed to be mentored by various moguls and accomplished businessmen and women in their respective fields. This included radio personality Nikki Z, dance choreographer Orville Hall, artiste Nadine Sutherland, and many more.

McKenzie shared with The Gleaner that she was excited and pleased with the proceedings and outcome of the camp. She created the camp to inspire the youth in Jamaica through giving back. “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,” she shared.

Upon returning to the communities in which she was born and raised for a portion of her life, it dawned on her that there was a need for a ray of hope in the lives of the children who now resided there. “It started when I went to the inner-city neighbourhoods that I came from, Allman Town and Slipe Road. And, when I went to Canada, I grew up in Glendower. So, what I would do is, I would go back to these neighbourhoods and speak to them. 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’,” McKenzie explained.

It was this conversation that inspired her to self-reflect on more ways in which she could give back to her community and children in need. “I decided that I was gonna create something to give back to the youth, starting with the girls.”

LIFE GOAL

Establishing a new mission and goal in her life, she spent months working on her plan, ensuring that she finalised details on who she was going to inspire and how she was going to do it.

“What I did was, I created The Walk Camp and what happens is that, each day, they have a different mentor in their respective fields. There are mentors from the fashion industry, business, finance, entrepreneurship, health, and wellness. There are mentors in all of these fields and they tell their stories that talk 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,” she said.

“I didn’t want them to pay for anything, and, if they do pay for something, I want them to get it back. I want them to hear from other people. I want them to learn from other people. I made a list of people who I have worked with, my connections, and people who I don’t know like that. I made a list of as many people as I can think of. It took a couple of months for me to just sit there and focus on it,” the motivational speaker said. “For my company, ‘Walk This Way Workshop’, which is training aspiring models, I was known for my walk. But, when I created The Walk Camp, I looked at it deeper and I was like, you know what, it is not just about me having a great walk, it is more than that. It is about the journey. It is about the obstacles and the challenges they face. It is about the good and the bad and the ugly of their walk, which is their journey in life,” she continued.

McKenzie looks forward to the expansion and outreach of her camp to children in each parish across Jamaica, as well as the entire Caribbean. She is also aiming to engage the young boys in inner-city communities to inspire them to know that the sky is the limit and they are more than capable of achieving greatness.

kerese.williams@gleanerjm.com