As we sit here in our little red chairs at the Lakota Prairie Ranch, we reflect on our time serving as behind the scenes helpers at the Summer Youth Leadership camp. We’ve caught ourselves smiling at the memories we have made with camp leaders, students and our Lakota friends. In this role we have aided with sandwich assembly lines, supply preparation and heart to heart conversations with our La Crosse and Lakota peers.
Coming into this role with a general idea of how our week of camp would progress, we admit we were nervous. With the support and acceptance we’ve received, those anxious feelings quickly vanished and a sense of purpose took place. Over this week we’ve had the opportunity to channel our inner adolescence by participating in rock, paper, scissor icebreaker activities and embracing adulthood through being a confidant to our students and in holding our own responsibilities.
Throughout the week, we saw a spark of change in trust and confidence within our campers. Today when celebrating their graduation, it was a blessing to see the growth that had blossomed in all students. This stems from the relationships built by way of cultural competence. We learned at this camp that as much as we give in sharing our knowledge, we come away with much more than can be taught. We teach lifelong skills but the Lakota have taught us how to live life.
By Christine Gunn and Bethany Starry