This year for my Ogallala Commons Internship community service experience, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a youth empowerment day that my tribe was putting on for the youth. It took place at the St. Francis community here on the Rosebud Reservation. We started off the youth empowerment day with a 5k walk and run that was sponsored by the Antelope Community and the Diabetes Prevention Program. What made me happy was seeing all walks of life participating in the walk and run. The staff of the Diabetes Prevention Program were very positive, encouraging, and supportive to all walkers and runners, and this also made it a great kick off to the youth empowerment day. What also made it a great kick off was seeing Tribal President Rodney Bordeaux Sr. give a great address of the youth empowerment day, as well as give a great message to the youth.
After the 5k walk and run, I helped with setting up a booth that represented the Antelope Community. At the booth, we handed out waters and gatorades to the runners and walkers. Later at the booth I helped tribal council rep. of the Antelope community hand out candy, put out more cold drinks throughout the day, give out bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and silly string to the youth and their parents. Although It was a hot day, it was still a fun filled day with fun activities that took place. Some of the fun activities that took place at the youth empowerment day was basketball, lacrosse, and baseball tournaments, mud volleyball, outdoor games, waterslides, outdoor inflatables, door prizes (raffles), music, food, and cold drinks (our goal was to make sure everyone was staying hydrated). Some of the tribal programs also attended the youth day and set up booths also, educating those about their program. The youth empowerment day ended with concert performances from local music artists such as Gunner Jules, Rollie Raps, and Terrance Hollow Horn. They each had great messages to give to the youth.
It was a great, hot, and fun filled day, it made me happy to see the youth and the people having a great time. It was great to see and visit some of my relatives and friends who were also at the youth empowerment day event, as well as have great conversations with some of the youth. I chose to volunteer for this event was because of my interest in wanting to engage more with the youth. One of the challenges while volunteering was trying to stay cool throughout the day, the next day it left me with a wicked tan. The youth empowerment day itself not only was amazing, but it also showed the importance of the youth, as they are the future of the people. I was thankful to be a part of this special day for the youth and to be able to volunteer. As Sitting Bull once said “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.”