What did I do this summer? Very good question. This summer I had the amazing opportunity to encourage my greater Native American community to learn how to lead healthy lifestyles and how to continue to help them remain healthy. In one sentence, I helped with golf, soccer, nutrition, group management training, research, created, developed, directed, acted and produced a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to encourage tribal members to drink more water. Phew! Now let me elaborate.
The Notah Begay III Foundation’s mission is to help bring awareness and fight childhood obesity and type II diabetes. Myself, NB3 staff members and other interns worked together to (1) maintain a soccer program for 1st-8th grade San Felipe summer school students where we taught them various soccer games to keep them active and teach them soccer fundamentals; (2) maintain a golf program to teach young aspiring Native golfers so they too can be as awesome as Notah. Notah himself also came by a few times to offer words of encouragement; and (3) maintain a nutrition program where we actively made healthy snacks with the students in both the golf and soccer programs to teach them the importance of fruits, veggies, grains, proteins, fats, sugars and water.
As an individual who is passionate about teaching and helping others lead healthy lifestyles, I was placed with the nutrition portion. I enjoyed every bit of it because I was able to actively work with the students hands on with making snacks and while they were making snacks I was talking with them about healthy foods. It was such a joy to see and hear the kids retain the information I shared with them and the best part was seeing the students LOVE the snacks we made. Many of them had never tried avocados, almond butter, cream cheese, whole wheat bread and crackers; some were scared to try it, but as soon as their friends tried it and enjoyed it, they all gave it a try. The students were constantly asking for the recipe cards and were always excitedly asking us what we were making for the day. I would also share the snack with some parents who came to pick up their children and the parents also like the snacks and would tell us they would make it at home too. Those small comments made both Autumn (Nutrition Lead) and myself very happy because it was a small way to tell us we were doing a good job.
Working with NB3 I was also given the opportunity to work with the students who played soccer. I am no stranger to teaching games, leading games and playing games with students, so I enjoyed the interaction with students as we would play and learn various soccer games. Some days were nice and toasty as we would play soccer in the NM summer sun on a beautiful soccer turf, but playing soccer let us forget how hot it was. Many of the games were to emphasis soccer fundaments as well as healthy living themes. For example we had a game called fruit basket were students were divided into two teams and each team member had the name of a fruit they represented. One student from each team shared a fruit so when their fruit was called by the coach they needed to run on the field to play a 1-on-1 game of soccer. The coach could also call out more fruits at a time. If the coach yelled out FRUIT BASKET, everyone jumped in the game. It was tons of fun and we all have amazing tan lines.
I have had the chance to learn and possess good group management skills because I have worked with k-8th grade students for the past two years. Many of the other interns I work with have not; many of them are high school students and college students. As a leader, I feel it’s my mission to not be stingy with my knowledge and teach what I know to other young leaders. Therefore, I was given the opportunity to lead a group management training session with the other NB3 staff members and interns. I was nervous at first because I’m always nervous when I give speeches and presentations, but it was great to share my knowledge and have the entire group enjoy my training. It was a very hands on training. I first took them through a Class Game Time (CGT) I would have with my students. I even let them act like 3rd graders if they wanted too. At the debriefing of the CGT, I had asked them if they had noticed how I had them doing exactly what I wanted them to be doing the entire time without being mean. After they thought about it, they all raised their hands and I told them I just demonstrated what effective group management looks like. It’s the ability to have control over your students in a respectful, inclusive and fun manner where the students will want to do everything you ask them to do. Moreover, I had my trainees draw what a good coach looks like to them and what qualities they would like to work on to become that good coach. Next, I moved on to teach them attention getter techniques to positively ask for your students attention without having to yell at them. I also gave them the opportunity to practice (role model) attention getters with the group. And they did awesome! I then moved on to show them how to lead a game and keep the students interested. As soon as I did finished the segment, my 2 hours were up! Time flies when your having fun! I enjoyed myself and my trainees did too–success!
Lastly, I wanted to share how I was able to work with two other NB3 interns to conceptualize a Public Service Announcement for tribal members to lead healthy lifestyles, create a story board, get our cast, produce, direct and film our PSA. We were so excited from the day we creatively conceptualized our idea. Our theme was to encourage tribal members to drink more water; therefore we came up with a story where after a soccer game the coaches give the players soda and BAM! Out comes Water man and Rain drop to save the day by giving the players water and spraying the coaches away with water guns. At the end, the super heroes and players walk proudly stating to “drink more water!” We just finished filming and we are still so excited to see the final product. It was a long 8 hours of filming, but it was so much fun and I would love to work with the media again sometime. When we have our final product I will share the link with you all because it will be on you tube. I’m excited just writing about it.
Reflecting on my summer, it was a very productive, fun, filled with new learning experiences and rewarding. From completing community service work, teaching nutrition, to providing training sessions, I had the time to share my knowledge, do what I know how to do and move back to allow the other interns time to grow and develop their own skills. It was an amazing summer. Thank you for this opportunity. I am forever grateful because it allowed me to learn, share, grow, develop, inspire and it lead me to amazing leaders who are now my friends. Thank you!