When it comes to racing cars on a professional circuit, crossing the finish line first is all that matters.
But for dozens of under-privileged children in the Bahamas, the journey to the track is far more important than winning.
This month, Wealth, Creation, Preservation and Donation Inc. (WCPD) made a contribution to an innovative program in the Bahamas known as Edukarting. Running for two weeks in August, this summer camp goes into government schools and teaches the fundamentals of karting to at-risk youth.
The students learn mechanics, design, money management, marketing and fundraising for their respective teams.
“This program is about learning to win,” said Victoria Sarne, director of Karting Bahamas and Edukarting.
“Today, we pit the older kids in charge of the track. We stood back and allowed them to marshal, and they ran the cars on the track and did a darn good job.”
Since Educarting was first instituted last year, four government schools with automotive programs have continued to offer a Kart Club. The karts, along with tools, spare parts and racing suits, were all shipped to the Bahamas from the United Kingdom thanks to donations. Two instructors also flew in from the UK for the program.
Edukarting is run by Bahamas Speed Week, which hosts dozens of race car enthusiasts each year in Nassau, Bahamas. The participants come from all around the world and bring with them rare, vintage cars worth millions of dollars.
Grand Isle Resort & Spa, in Exuma, helped sponsor the annual event last year and later hosted its organizers at the resort.
“Edukarting is important because it gives young people in the Bahamas a skill and discipline to focus on,” said Peter Nicholson, the president of WCPD Inc. “Whether they stay in motor sport is not important. What is important is developing valuable life skills.”
According to Sarne, Edukarting featured 20 or so teenagers during the first week, and another 30 or so younger kids in the second. Many of the older kids had actually been to the first Edukarting experience in 2013, allowing them to become mentors for the younger generation.
The program involves both classroom teaching on mechanics and design, as well as hands-on experience working with the karts.
“We had a little competition on who could change a wheel the fastest, for example,” Sarne explained. “We also have courses on road safety and first aid.”
On August 12, President of the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FiA), Jean Todt, personally toured the summer camp after attending a press conference that morning with local government officials.
Bahamas Speed Week is close to finalizing plans for a professional race track in Nassau for the 2014 season.