The summer youth and education camp organized by Today We Follow-Tomorrow We Lead (TWF-TWL) features traditional Navajo teachings for both boys and girls, and is located in Pinon, Arizona, where the children can attend with their families.
This year’s camp runs from June 14- 16 and is projected to serve 400 children and adults in the communities of Blue Gap, Low Mountain, Burnt Corn, Pinon, Whippoorwell, Black Masa, Cottonwood, Old Tree and Chinle, according to TWF-TWL president Anita Begay.
“The program is needed to help the children enjoy the summer through camp and at the same time learning and participating in their Navajo culture,” says Anita. “The camp is not only limited to the children, the families can also attend, and there are activities that involve the children and their families.”
“The summer youth camp allows the children to know more of their Navajo culture and traditions and to be involved and participate in the traditional education of the Navajo people,” said Anita. “The program has events that include having the parents and children work together as a team, and as a family – education and Navajo traditional values are shared with the children and their families.”
Anita noted that the camps which began in 2010 are designed for participants “1-year-old through the age of the elderly” and that they take place on lands offered by families who volunteer to host the camps at their place of residence.
Anita recounted the story of a grandma who has come to the camp every year.
“She enjoys herself and being around the families. As old as she is, she helps with the cooking and butchering of sheep.
“When asked why she comes every year to the camp her reply was:
‘I have a lot of relations here both young and old and it makes my heart feel good inside to hear the children laughing and to see them playing.’
’It is good that I get to see the care and love of someone else helping my Diné People and their children.’”
Anita said the support of Running Strong for American Indian Youth® is greatly appreciated by the children and families who attend the camp.