Guest Blogger: Claire

Native American boys having fun in the sun!
Having fun in the sun!

The high school kids had a long Labor Day weekend, and all of the homes planned special trips for the occasion. The Giles Home (freshmen boys) decided that they wanted to camp out at the Lifelight concert in Sioux Falls.  Lifelight is a free Christian music festival that attracts over 300,000 people every year.  There are five stages, merchandise booths, concessions and all sorts of activities going on throughout the weekend.  Plus there is a large area set aside for people who want to tent camp.

Trips like these are one of the ways we can build Circle of Courage values (Independence, Mastery, Belonging and Generosity) while disguising it as “just having fun.”  It’s kind of like drowning broccoli in cheese sauce so that they don’t realize it’s good for them. 🙂

The Giles boys are good at Belonging.  They get along well together and look out for each other.  Unless of course, someone farts in the tent.  Then it is every man for himself.  They also warned each other not to trip over the … cord for the rain fly.  Usually after someone face planted on the ground, but still.

They are surprisingly Generous.  We saw a man holding a, “Will work for food” sign by the side of the road.  They gathered together some of their favorite snacks, and Isaiah hopped off the mini-bus to deliver them.  The boys’ favorite part was when I accidentally started the bus back up while Isaiah was changing seats, and he went bouncing down the aisle.  Oops.

Independence skills like checking in on time are very important, especially in a crowded, several-acre venue.  Most of the boys did a great job coming back to the campsite every hour and checking in with a houseparent before going back out to catch a show, play some hoops, listen to a band or check out the cute girls.  What, huh?  Flirting at a Christian festival?  Ohhhh yeah.  All those “Free Hug” signs are just irresistible.  Sadly, one boy did get “lost.”  Finding a missing kid among 100,000 visitors is quite a challenge.  After calling out a search party for him, we found him happily hanging out with another  SJIS home.  Phew!  Apparently, he had taken on more responsibility than he could manage, so his freedoms were curtailed for the evening.

They guys had lots of opportunities to demonstrate Mastery, from putting up/striking tents, to working the camping lanterns, to making s’mores on the camp stove.  We forgot sticks, but they came up with the brilliant idea of using a (clean) metal tent-peg.  Perfect!  Another  challenge for them was visiting the cathedral in Sioux Falls for Mass.  The impressive Romanesque architecture, incense, Latin inscriptions and chanted prayers are very different from the Mass for Children that they celebrate at Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel on St. Joseph’s campus.  They followed along pretty well, just like they would at home, only with a bit more looking around.

“This is cool.”

All around, it was a good Labor Day weekend.  It felt good to get back to the Giles Home and into the air conditioning.  And showers.  And real beds.  The boys are already talking about plans for our next home trip, which we will take next semester.  They are thinking skiing. (I might as well start practicing to use crutches now.)

Thank you again for your generosity, which makes trips like these possible.  I hope to see some of you at our powwow, which is coming up in a few weeks!


High School Houseparent

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 90 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

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