Partner Spotlight: Camda is providing a safe and supportive environment for at-risk youth
By: Jumpstart Staff
February 15, 2024
Our Partner Spotlight was developed to share the stories of the organizations we work with through our Community Development Grants and beyond. We are so proud of the amazing work they do to bring sport and play to kids across the country.
Featured Organization: Camda
Camda was founded by Leisa Washington, with the purpose of providing a safe and supportive environment for at-risk youth to participate in sports programs that promote physical fitness, teamwork and leadership.
This February, in honour of Black History Month, we chatted with them to learn more about how this team of passionate individuals is making an impact on the lives of youth and learned more about Camda’s leaders and how they truly exemplify Black excellence.
What role does Camda play in the lives of the kids you work with?
“Camda was created in an effort to empower the next generation of leaders and changemakers. We believe that sports can be a powerful tool to help young people build confidence, develop critical life skills, and achieve their full potential. Our programming is making a positive impact in the lives of youth and young people through sports, education, music and arts.”
What programming do you offer?
“There are two streams of programming that we have been focusing on. In these uncertain economic times, a lot of families don’t have the means to put their kids in organized sports.
Our MultiSport Program (MSP) minimizes that barrier to participation for these kids. We have been providing multi-sport programming to middle school kids in Durham region who attend school in the 7 identified priority neighbourhoods. This program places a strong emphasis on personal development. Participants engage in activities designed to improve communication skills, leadership qualities, and self-confidence. They have opportunities for goal-setting, teamwork exercises, and team-building activities that promote inclusivity and mutual respect.
The other stream of programming we have focused on is aimed at keeping girls in sport. Girls are tremendously underserved and left with fewer resources — especially marginalized and racialized girls. Jumpstart has allowed us to provide girl-centric camps, clinics, and even league play.”
Can you share more about the leaders who make Camda what it is?
“Mark Maynard’s passion for helping his community is what drives him in his role as the Executive Director of Camda. Mark started training and coaching kids basketball at a grassroots level 30 years ago. His past experience mentoring kids and using basketball as a catalyst to earn their respect and trust while working as a Youth Outreach worker for the City of Vaughan provides him with a unique position — offering context and perspective to the kids he now helps via Camda. Mark’s unflinching desire to make positive change and improve the lives of young people is infectious and helps bring the most out of individuals on and off the court.
What impact has Jumpstart made on your organization?
“The feedback from our participants, parents, teachers and other stakeholders echoes the sentiment that what we have done and continue to do is needed and appreciated. Jumpstart has allowed us to connect to a larger number of young athletes. We know for certain that the impact we have made is amplified by the support that Jumpstart has provided.”
To learn more about our Community Development Grants, please visit: https://jumpstart.canadiantire.ca/pages/community-development-grants
To learn more about Camda and the amazing work that they do, please visit: https://camdasports.com/