For 21 year old Shelly- Ann Mills, 30 years is a long time, but she can certainly identify with having fun and that is what she associates with the Hellshire Summer Fun event.
The event is a project spearheaded by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and involves a treat for approximately 1000 children, each year, from age 6 months to early adulthood. The children are taken from protective and childcare institutions from across the Corporate Area.
On Shelly-Ann’s first taste of Hellshire Summer Fun, she found it to be “full of entertainment, especially the singing and dancing”, or ‘concert time’ when the youngsters display their talents. Young Miss Mills is just one of many wards of My Father’s House, who is avidly looking forward to the 30th staging of the Hellshire Summer Fun.
This year’s staging will be from July 21-22, 2010 at the Fort Clarence Beach, which has served as its home since the inception of the programme. The event is set to treat children from fifteen (15) institutions, including Walker’s Place of Safety, The Nest, Jamaica Christian Boys Home and Mary’s Child.
The Early Years
In reflecting on the colorful history of the event, Miss Lorna Clarke, Corporate Relations Manager of the UDC noted that the Hellshire Summer Fun (HSF) was born out of an idea to provide organized activities for the many boys who played in the harbour along the waterfront in downtown Kingston. In subsequent years, the programme was organized and extended to include several child care and protective institutions across the Corporate Area- and thus commenced a long tradition of fun activities, gleeful children sharing long lasting memories.
Shericka Hines of Walker’s Place of Safety said that the event was the high point of her summer and she looked forward to it even during school. The fourteen year old said that she “found it exciting and very good”. “I was especially impressed by the talent pieces from the very small children” she related. Both young ladies expressed the hope that the UDC would continue to host the event for many years to come.
The programme’s survival over the many years can be attributed to the support that it has received from its partners. Continuing the tradition of public/private sector partnership are this year’s sponsors, GraceKennedy Limited, Nestle’ Jamaica Limited, National Continental Corporation, Coldfield Manufacturing Limited and Mega Mart. The Jamaica Urban Transit Company too, has been involved over the years, facilitating the movement of the children from the homes to Fort Clarence Beach at affordable rates.
Other partners critical to the staging of the event are the House mothers and fathers from the various child care and protective institutions, who have ensured the full turn out and disciplined participation of their charges. Numbered among these are, Maxfield Park Children’s Home, Walker ’s Place of Safety, The Jamaica Christian Boys Home and Best Care Lodge who have been present year after year.
The UDC staff members as well as summer workers have also played an integral role in ensuring that the youngsters have an enjoyable experience. They too usually walk away with memorable experiences.
The UDC acknowledges the support of all its sponsors over the years, without whom it would have been impossible to stage the programme and look forward to their continued collaboration in bringing a day of fun to many more children.