August 15, 2014
Vincy Unity Picnics offer tremendous networking opportunities

Fri, Aug 15, 2014

Tomorrow Saturday, thousands of Vincentians are expected to converge at Heckscher State Park, East Islip, New York, for the third annual Vincy Day picnic.

Organizers are said to be expecting even more persons than the thousands who turned up the previous two years, and have requested a larger picnic area from Park authorities.{{more}}

The event on August 16 is the American version of the Annual Family Unity Picnic, which has been held for decades at Brown’s Bay recreational park in Ontario, Canada, and was held this year on July 19. Many persons from all over North America, and some from further afield, make an annual pilgrimage to Brown’s Bay to reconnect with their Vincentian roots and experience a bit of home, at the event which estimates say is attended by in excess of 15,000 people annually.

But increasingly, these picnics are attracting Vincentians at home, who schedule their visits to North America to coincide with these events. They too are seeking to reconnect with friends and relatives and experience a bonding they do not necessarily get when they are on the “rock”.

The picnics reaffirm a sense of belonging and their identity as Vincentians, even more so than when they are at home. This is not unusual, for it is human nature for people of common origin to bond together and seek support from each other, when threatened or in a minority situation. At home, no such threatening condition exists, so our need to support and appreciate each other and our unique culture is rarely acknowledged. It is sometimes not until we go abroad that we appreciate what it is to be Vincentian and the value of our cultural practices.

But these picnics are more than just enjoyable ways to spend two long summer days in North America experiencing the tastes, sounds, scents and sights of home. They represent unique networking and business opportunities for Caribbean people, which should be taken advantage of.

In 2012, there was a Diaspora conference in New York, and at that conference, and even before that, there have been efforts to create a database of Vincentian resources to facilitate networking of persons and the growth and development of businesses. Tomorrow’s event opens up tremendous possibilities, including opportunities to further the population of that database.

Good luck to the organizers of tomorrow’s event and may all who attend have a safe and enjoyable experience.