On the 3rd full day of the trauma healing camp the main activities were skill building in communication emotions, and teamwork. During the various activities at camp, children had an opportunity to practice the skills they had been introduced to. Conflict resolution skills were practiced when conflict occurred naturally between the children during various activities at camp. From the cultural perspective, traditional Lakota hand games and singing were taught to the children by the young women mentors. Young women making connections with the children through this activity was an impactful relationship building experience.
After lunch, during time spent at the lake, some of the team members took groups of children canoeing. Many of the children stated that canoeing and swimming were two of their favorite parts of camp. Along with being a fun activity, this allowed for continued practice cooperation and teamwork. This time was also an opportunity for the children to relax and refresh in the beauty of nature.
After a full afternoon in the lake, there were preparations for ceremony that allowed the team to leave early that allowed the team to leave early and embark on an adventure through the black hills in hopes of spotting wildlife and wildlife was spotted indeed. A majestic buffalo was spotted grazing in a field of long prairie grass. A beauty of a giant paint donkey trotted on up and posed with a toothy grin before we found our way back to get some rest before our final day of camp.
On the fourth and final day of the trauma healing camp the team assisted in conducting a final evaluation to gather the outcomes from the children at camp. It was rewarding to hear the responses to the questions that asked the children to describe camp in one word. Some of the responses included: ‘spiritual’ ‘awesome’ blessing’ and ‘fun’.
Following the evaluations, a traditional Lakota naming ceremony took place. Lakota names were given to almost twenty children who participated in the camp. It was a powerful experience for the camp as a whole. This was a spiritual ceremony that connected the young children to their cultural traditions as well as emphasizing their cultural identity and belonging to a larger Lakota community. Each name was chosen specifically for each child based on their unique personality.
The final day was bittersweet, goodbyes are always hard, but there was a sense of hope as the children packed up and headed home. There was hope for possibilities in returning next year for both the team and the children.