Young artists from Haliburton and Mexico alike are learning, playing and performing together at the cross-cultural Camexicanus summer camp July 2-6.
Students from Mexico are joining with local kids for a one-week arts experience at Camp Adelaide. The camp’s classes include music, dancing, acting, visual arts and language, culminating in a camper showcase at the end of the week.
Founder and director Greg Sadlier said the 24 campers are breaking through barriers with the power of art.
“We see the power of young people, meeting each other for the first time and realizing that they have more in common than they have that’s different,” Sadlier said. “Even if language is a barrier, culture is a barrier, to watch them sing the same songs, dance the same dance.”
Camexicanus has run since 2015, previously in the Kitchener/Waterloo area before shifting to Haliburton this year. Its Mexican students also tour and perform across Ontario, which will happen again this year following the camp.
Mexican camper Jose Siller is back for his second year with Camexicanus. He said it is a way to create bonds between countries.
“Nowadays there’s a lot of conflicts,” Siller said. “We need more strengthening of our bonds.”
He added the camp offers a unique learning experience in a different country.
“This camp is bringing opportunities to a lot of students from Mexico that are interested in arts to go to Canada and live a whole experience,” Siller said.
Haliburton-local Finn Tentrees is an assistant program director at this year’s camp. Tentrees said it is a good way to expose kids to more diversity.
“It’s always good to have something that supports art,” he said. “Putting kids from Mexico with youth in Haliburton I think is amazing actually. Not a whole lot of diversity up here.”
“For kids, they have this ability to reach out and to form relationships and art is just an incredible backdoor for that,” Sadlier said. “Art is the expression of humanity. It’s the expression of youth.”
Camexicanus will hold its student showcase at the Haliburton Highlands Museum July 6 at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children and students.