Nassau, The Bahamas – Among the ‘B’ Category Junkanoo groups rushing on Bay Street on Boxing Day (December 26) is Foundation 4 Life – Building the Future with Youth, a 70-member strong organisation, led by Tyrone “Goose” Curry.
Comprising boys of ages 8-15 years old, Foundation 4 Life was formed in 1998 with over 130 students from Centreville and Albury Sayles Primary schools along with Curry’s former basketball team the Running Rebels.
“There are thousands of young men yearning for fatherly figures in their lives. In addition to coaching basketball for 39 years, I also did voluntary counseling for problematic boys at public primary and junior high schools, so that’s how this really came about,” said Curry.
Asked about the origin of the group’s name, Curry explained: “If you are going to build a structure you must first have a solid foundation. If you build it on sand you know what would happen if you build it on a solid foundation it will endure any turbulence.”
For two consecutive years a full sponsor funded the group. However today, even with some new supplemental financial assistance, Curry finds himself having to keep the organisation operational – providing meals, assisting with transportation, etc. – out of his own pocket.
“Everything in this group is free – the instruments, the tee shirts, the socials,” said Curry. “These boys come here every day and I go in my pocket in order to feed them. I have to drop them home late at night and sometimes before you get up in the morning and these kids are outside your door especially Saturday mornings. It’s difficult to run a group without a bona fide sponsor. We had a sponsor two years ago and they treated us good,” he added.
Included among those providing supplemental assistance are as follows: Wes Bastian, Subway; Nat Adams, Coca Cola; Rudy Moseley, Original Patties; Dionisio D’Aguilar, Super Wash; Evan Dean, Edgar Moxey and Craig Gomez.
The group’s costumes for the Boxing Day parade will depict the theme “The Amazing Nature Kingdom”, something Curry has always viewed as an “interesting” and “beautiful” topic. The lead costume is entitled “The Great Sea Chase – Magnificent Mammals of the Deep”. The theme for the New Year’s Day Junkanoo parade is “Follow the Rainbow – Life after Earth’s First Destruction”.
Having not participated in the 2007 Junkanoo parades because of internal problems, Curry describes this Junkanoo season as a ‘bounce-back’ one.
For almost three months the group has been rehearsing with practice sessions every Sunday at Fort Charlotte and small group sessions on other days. In addition to deputy leaders Stephen Cooper and Levi Bethel, senior group members who are university students and others who attend C.C. Sweeting and Government High Schools aid Curry.
“Out of the 15 cowbell shakers we have about 7 seven quality shakers who make up the strongest part of our back line. Some of our bass drummers are university students and we have 22-24 choreographed girls, lead by Edith Turnquest. We teach them everything – how to paste, decorate, beat the drums and we have a strict color scheme,” explained Curry.
In addition to basketball lessons and summer Junkanoo workshops, Foundation 4 Life also offers an after-school program that teaches acceptable social norms and behavior, how to improve one’s self esteem and etiquette.
“Unlike the other Junkanoo groups we have a functional constitution, code of ethics, and we are incorporated. We breed our own talent, we live like family. The boys love the group and they have a passion for it,” said Curry.