For my volunteering experience I worked with the Sicangu Youth Program through two different opportunities. The first being at a Sicangu youth running camp in Mission, SD. Here I helped the running coaches in watching the youth and I also distributed water and fruit when needed. Youth from across the reservation grades K-12 came to this event where they learned different running exercises, techniques, and stretches. Most of the youth were gearing up for the upcoming cross-country season, so this was a good start for them. As a past cross-country runner from the local high school, Todd County, it was great to see so many youth come out to the camp.
My second volunteering experience with the Sicangu Youth Program was on a day field trip with 18 youth to hike Bear Butte and Black Elk’s Peak in SD. This experience was spiritual and empowering because both sites hold great meaning to the Lakota Sioux. While we were there I was able to help educate the youth about the history and meaning of both places from a Lakota perspective. I aided in chaperoning the youth on this trip, which entailed making sure their safety was priority on the hike’s. By the end of the day we hiked a total 13 miles and 38,000 steps! This was an experience I will never forget, and to share this experience with the youth made it even better.
I chose to volunteer with the Sicangu Youth Program this summer because I believe the work they do is very important in helping to strengthen, educate, and teach the youth on all levels whether that be spiritual, physical, or mental. They host and sponsor events throughout the summer that keep the youth active in their communities and culture. I always strive to be a role model for the youth on my reservation, so when I heard about these events I jumped on the opportunity to give back in this way.