Low self esteem, poor nutrition, obesity, diabetes, suicide, and substance abuse are issues that our Native American youth face daily. Our camp empowers and challenges these youth to overcome these obstacles and to live hopeful, happy, productive lives.
Dear IYA Contributor:
My name is Jennifer Richards, I am 14 years old and I live in Tuba City, Arizona. I am Sioux, Taos and Navajo. I am writing you this letter to thank you for your kind donation to Indian Youth of America.
As a young Native American, I try to learn as much as I can about my culture, but I admit it is difficult. But each year, I return to the same IYA summer camp at Whispering Pines because they emphasize tradition and culture. No other camp does. A counselor here said that every year in Albuquerque, New Mexico they have a big pow-wow called "Gathering of Nations". He made us realize that this camp was also a "Gathering of Nations", it was different tribal youth coming together.
In closing, I'd just like to thank you for helping Indian Youth of America. It was worth your money and an experience I will never forget.
(About the Author:
Jennifer won the creative writing camp award for this thank you letter which she wrote during the camp's creative writing workshop. This letter is an example of what being able to return to camp means to a camper.)