Lakota Forever Running & Fitness Camp #2 – Manderson, SD
The second Lakota Forever Running and Fitness Camp went very well. Unlike my first camp at Pine Ridge with 60 participants each day, I had a smaller group of 20 participants each day at Manderson. I definitely feel more confident leading my campers now that I have 2 of 5 camps down. I'm finding out what works and what doesn't with the kids. Seeing all the kids running and playing and laughing and smiling all day is really touching my heart. These camps are everything that I expected plus more!
Manderson had a nice little gym. We took the kids out back of the school where they had a football field and that's where we had our group runs. We played running games inside the gym and had lunch there as well. All the kids listened very well and participated and really enjoyed the games. I think we got some key information to them as well about nutrition and health and wellness. Sometimes between activities I make the kids huddle up and put their hands in the middle and say "Running Strong!" on three just for fun. Some of the parents said that they were moved by the effort I was putting into promoting wellness and emphasizing healthy lifestyles for the youth on the reservation. That definitely makes me feel good and motivated. I can't wait for the next camp!
Lakota Forever Running & Fitness Camp #3 - Porcupine, SD
The third Lakota Forever Running and Fitness Camp at Porcupine was really cool for me. The gymnasium was very nice and roomy. We had a good number of participants, about 35 each day. My co-facilitators and myself are really starting to get into even more of a groove. I feel a lot more confident speaking in front of the kids. We did our normal camp schedule of introductions, icebreakers, dynamic warm-ups, group run, static stretches, running games, lunch, presentations, more running games then t-shirts, pictures and goodbyes. I had a man named Brandon from another tribe in South Dakota volunteer to help and spend a day with us. That was nice to meet a new friend who was interested in the program and helping the youth.
For lunch at the previous camps I had the basic fruit bags with apples, oranges and bananas for the kids as a side. This time I got watermelon and that was a huge hit with the kids. The fact that my running camp series is more than halfway over now is bittersweet for me, knowing that the summer is coming to an end and I only have two camps left. I still feel satisfied for doing the best I can so far and I'm thankful for all the kids and parents I met along the way. The kids showed a lot of interest and worked hard. I loved seeing them have so much fun. That's how I measure my success, just by knowing I made a difference for someone, even if it was only for a moment or day.
Lakota Forever Running & Fitness Camp #4 - Loneman, SD
Loneman Middle school was the perfect host school for the 4th camp in the Lakota Forever Running & Fitness series. I believe the town of Oglala where Loneman School is located is the second biggest community that has hosted a camp at so far. They have a very new school and the gym had air conditioning! I had another visitor the first day of camp named Jackie Blackbird who works for Nike in the N7 department. She donated money to One Spirit nonprofit organization and they used that money to help with the Lakota Forever Running and fitness camps which gave me a bigger budget for lunches and anything else that we would need. The first day of camp we had a large group of over 50 kids! I was happy to see so many young people at the camp. I usually have a couple naughty kids here and there at the camps and it's always pretty easy to get them to settle down and listen but at this camp there seemed to be more naughty kids. It was hard for me to keep everyone to stay on task and listen but I didn't give up. Other than that the camp went very well. We had about 35 kids the second day which was a big difference, definitely more manageable. I had to buy more lunch the second day because I had more kids than I was expecting the first day and that was fine. The more the merrier. I felt like it was overall a great weekend of running and playing and a good camp. I got some nice pictures and had a lot of fun.