NATIVEVISION ANNUAL SUMMER CAMP
Now in its 20th year, the annual NativeVision camp is held annually in a tribal community and serves up to 1,000 youth from dozens of tribes. One of the many powerful aspects of NativeVision is the opportunity for youth from different Indian nations to meet and share their cultures. The 2016 camp took place June 9-11 at the Muskogee (Creek) National in Okmulgee, Oklahoma.
At the camp, the Center engages professional and collegiate athletes (football, lacrosse, basketball, soccer, volleyball and track) as mentors who donduct sports clinics and lead inspirational breakout sessions with youth ages 7-18, with guidance from Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health's public health experts. The athletes share their own stories of perseverance and overcoming adversity, and honor the youth's heritage and cultures. At the camp, a variety of life skills workshops are offered for the children and community members including nutrition, arts and crafts, leadership and positive parenting. Two college scholarships are awarded to participating youth annually through a competitive application process that honors academic achievement and community involvement.
- Approximately 400 youth participated, from a wide variety of tribes including Muskogee (Creek), Choctaw, Cherokee, Seminole, White Mountain Apache, Navajo, Taos Pueblo and Laguna Pueblo.
- More than 60 former professional and top college athletes participated as coaches, most of whom have been Native Vision volunteers for many years. We were also fortunate to have 8 terrific student-athletes sponsored by the Dartmouth Athletic Department join us as coaches and bring donated athletic equipment.
- At the camp, athletes conducted sports clinics in football, lacrosse, soccer, basketball, volleyball and track. The athlete-mentors also participated in break-out sessions that promoted self-esteem, discipline, teamwork and the importance of completing one’s education.
- A wonderful group of community volunteers helped all aspects of the camp run incredibly smooth, from food service and transportation to setting up registration, first aid and more.
- We were honored to have former University of Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer join us for the Opening Ceremony. Coach Switzer is revered in Oklahoma and made powerful remarks to the campers about perseverance on the playing field, in the classroom and in life. He also shared his dedication to ensuring the contributions and culture of Native Americans are honored and showcased for all at the new American Indian Cultural Center and Museum being built in Oklahoma City, of which he is on the board of directors. Former University of Oklahoma and NFL player Billy Sims also attended the ceremony and addressed the campers, another thrill for all as we kicked off the camp.
- Two $5,000 college scholarships were awarded. The recipients were selected from over 120 applications based on their academic success, leadership and community involvement. The winners: Meeya Yazzie (Navajo) and Jonathan Barbee (Cherokee).
- As always, in addition to the sports clinics, the campers participated in life skills workshops over the course of the camp. These included sessions on nutrition, leadership, arts and crafts, and goal-setting.
- Campers, staff, athletes and the community joined together for an incredible evening of cultural games and inter-cultural sharing which included a demonstration on stickball, stomp dancing and traditional basket weaving. It was a highlight for all!
We are grateful for our friendship with photographer Ed Cunicelli for many years. Ed has selflessly donated his time to attending camps and taking photographs for the Center for nearly a decade. We will always be grateful for all of his time, talent and energy he has given to the Center and the NativeVision Program.
Camp photo albums from 2011-2016 are available on Facebook.
NativeVision National Office
Marlena Hammen, NV Coordinator
415 N. Washington St., 4th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21231
phone (410) 955-6931
Photos on the NativeVision website
courtesy of Ed Cunicelli .
ed cunicelli/photographer inc.
p.o. box 86, glen mills, pa 19342