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Project Winter Camp Jamaica 2017

The Project I took on as a whim three camps ago is heading into its fourth year in existence.  I never knew it would have reached this far this fast, and it could not have happened without the help and support of great friends and family members.  This year’s iteration will resemble the last camp which saw a significant increase in the camper turnout.

I spoke with Coach Reid from Portsmouth Primary School in Jamaica, and he told me that the kids are counting down the days until the upcoming camps that will be held from  December 11th – December 14th at Portsmouth Primary School, East Portal Community Field (Portmore, St. Catherine) and December 18th-December 24th at Manninigs High School ( Savannah La Mar, Westmoreland).




Equipment Drive Update

Every Jamaican Child Deserves Playing Time

One of PWCJ’s repeat donors came up big for us again. Special thanks and shout out to Coach A. and her family, they did an equipment collection for this venture and the collection yield a great number of usable footwear. We had campers playing in sock, barefoot, and in sandals on terrain we would even park our car here in the States.

The campers came in droves everyday at the 2015 camp, looking to borrow from the cache of cleats we brought. They would give their sizes and name and at the end of camp the turn them back in to us.  Sometime, the  same camper did not get to wear the same cleats she/he wore the day before because she/he was late. Personally, I felt bad that the campers had to share wearing a pair of cleats everyday, but it was better that they have at least got to play in a pair which most of them would not get the chance to  wear one.  After the four days of camp and we finished with a closing ceremony.  We donated about 25 pairs of cleats, pinnies, cones, balls, Jerseys, and shorts to the respective organizations.

This is why this donation means so much to the camp.  The schools, clubs and local partnerships in Jamaica will have the equipment needed to attract players who are interest and we go back to serve more kids who heard about the camp from their friends.

Camp Dates: Project Winter Camp Jamaica 2016

December 12th – 15th (Greater Portmore, St. Catherine)

December 18th -21st (Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland)



jerk grill

Join Jerk. Modern Jamaican Grill (811 W Chicago Ave.) this Saturday, August 6th, to eat delicious food for a great cause. Jerk. will give 10% of Saturday’s proceeds as a donation to Project Winter Camp Jamaica.

Dion Solano, owner of Jerk., grew up in Jamaica and wanted to bring the recipes and flavors he knew to the people of Chicago. He started the Jerk. food truck, which is still active, to do just that ( He then opened a permanent location at the 811 W. Chicago Ave. address. Jerk. serves a diverse and flavorful menu from jerk chicken to island slaw,  with refreshing beer and drink options, including Jamaican sodas.

We would like to thank Dion Solano and Jerk. for supporting us in our mission of creating an equal playing field for boys and girls. Dean Lothian, coaches from last year’s trip, and supporters of Project Winter Camp Jamaica will be at Jerk. from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM – all are welcome to join!



beer and burpees chicago20151216_0226   

Project Winter Camp Jamaica has been selected as the Beer and Burpees’ cause for the month of August!

Beers and Burpees is a social fitness club based in Chicago. Participants join a group fitness class focused on body-weight exercises. Classes are held once a week and led by a certified fitness instructor; class intensity and exercises can be tailored to meet the level of any group member, so all levels of ability are welcome. Classes are free but donations are highly encouraged, as 100% of the proceeds go towards that month’s cause. Join Beer and Burpees on Wednesdays at 6:45 at Chase Park (2nd Floor Theater Room, 4701 N. Ashland Ave.).

Afterwards, participants are welcome to socialize together at The Piggery (1625 W Irving Park Road). Beer and Burpees clients are offered 15% off of their total bill!

Project Winter Camp Jamaica would like to thank Beer and Burpees for their participation in garnering additional funding for our mission of creating an equal playing field for boys and girls. For more information on Beer and Burpees, or to sign up for a class, please visit

Project Winter camp Jamaica 2016


PWCJ_2015_Day 01_10

Project Winter Camp Jamaica (PWCJ) is excited to build on last year’s success! With support like yours, we were able to launch our vision into reality two years ago with the first pilot program in East Portmore, Jamiaca. This volunteer-led initiative took five specially trained Chicago-area soccer coaches who worked in collaboration with the East Portmore Portals Football Club and provided a high-impact soccer and life-skills learning environment for over 100 local youth.

The momentum and buzz from the program pilot fostered fantastic growth in 2015:

 PWCJ expanded its presence in the Greater Portmore area – partnering again with the Portals Club in addition to Portsmouth Primary School – serving over 120 campers combined at the two locations with 10 coaches, while again training local mentor/coaches

  • 4 coaches extended the reach of PWCJ to the rural community of Savanna La Mar, reaching 60 campers per day with help from Mannings High School
  • Through perseverance, PWCJ was excited to welcome 35 female girls to the camps – working to overcome the deep rooted stigma in Jamaica associated with female athletes
  • In collaboration with the JN Foundation, financial literacy workshops were conducted at each camp
  • Health & nutrition workshops were also taught at each site
  • The number of sponsors and partners continues to grow – allowing for camp snacks, equipment donations, and even playing kits and certificates for each camper

Despite our recent successes, we know the opportunity for further impact abounds…

The Need: PWCJ will continue to target neighborhoods that are critically under-resourced and chronically under-served. These environments often lack models for success for youth and contain voids in safe, out of school time activities. The lack of soccer equipment and dedicated adult role models and coaches has been a constant hurdle and hardship for these communities.  Many of the local youth do not have the financial means to play soccer (they can’t afford boots and a ball), and thus have resorted to adopting alternative lifestyles for answers – such as joining gangs and adding to the high rate of crime and violence that plagues much of Jamaica.


Toe Taps challenge

The Strategy – Decades of experience working with inner-city youth in the United States demonstrate that athletic extracurricular activities coupled with high-quality mentoring can transform lives and communities. Our method utilizes the knowledge base of established coaches and other professionals to teach the beautiful game while fostering positive character development. Programming revolves around soccer, fitness and health, but stresses core values such as Teamwork, Leadership, Commitment and Sportsmanship.

Staff work diligently to implement a “coach the coaches” program model, enlisting players from the regional East Portals Football Club and local youth coaches to serve as mentors and role models to the youth who look up to them. PWCJ coaches demonstrate how to run an effective camp while providing leadership and mentorship skills along with a proven, evidence-based curriculum that enable successful camps and clinics in the future. This platform will ensure program sustainability after our departure, thereby impacting more youth in need.

Your Contribution – 100% of your donation goes towards program costs and is tax deductible. As an initiative that relies on a committed pool of volunteers, all of PWCJ’s administrative costs are donated. A small 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, The Village Project Inc, serves as the Fiscal Sponsor for PWCJ. Please donate through PayPal to

Please don’t hesitate to call me with any further questions or concerns regarding this initiative. Visit our website at for more information.

Kindest Regards,

Dean Lothian

The Second Annual Project Winter Camp Jamaica

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