Guest Blogger: LaRayne

Kids working on a craft at day camp!
Can you guess what they are making?

Hello everyone, my  name is LaRayne. I’d  like to give you a recap of St. Joseph’s Indian School’s Rising Eagle Day Camp. (Check out pictures here!)

Summer camp is a different time around St. Joseph’s Indian School.  It is a time for new faces, old faces and a time for building a lot of new relationships.  I have the pleasure of sharing some Native American cultural lessons with a twist of arts and crafts added to them.  Each day is precious.

Having a class of 30 students is something I am not used to, but I have the help of some great young adult counselors who chose to share part of their summer with our day camp kids.  It is great to have the help when we tackle making medicine pouches in one day, or learning to hoop dance in one morning.

St. Joseph’s Indian School campus becomes the village that raises the child for the day.  We have caregivers, teachers, counselors, lifeguards, food service workers, recreation specialists and good ‘ol supervisors who look after the camp-goers each day.

I especially enjoy seeing former students, meeting new students, and talking to some students who hope to come to our school in the future.  This camp brings together many good things.  It is somewhat like a powwow.  We celebrate, dance, create, build relationships, eat, play, and focus on culture.  Yes, each day is precious in the life of a child.

Hec’etu kstothat’s the way it is….

Don’t forget to check out the pictures!

Generous hearts and attitudes

Thanks to our other staff members for keeping you up to date on school activities while I was away this past week.

I serve on my Religious Community’s (SCJ) Formation commission. We gathered to discuss the education and formation of our seminarians, as well as vocational efforts for finding quality people who might be thinking about becoming a brother or priest. A couple of us attended the National Religious Formation conference in Kansas City. The theme was about the prophetic nature of religious life. One keynote I particularly found inspiring was a look at many women prophets in the bible.
I did work in Formation with college seminarians for five years and that has shaped my philosophy of our programs at St. Joseph Indian School. We are trying to educate and form well-rounded young people, who have self-confidence, know how to work through troubles and adversity, love to learn and know how to take care of themselves and others.

I believe a key to all of that is having a solid relationship with God and trying to understand how we can follow God’s will and ways and use our gifts and talents accordingly.

One nice example that I heard when I returned was from the Cyr Home (4th-5th grade boys). For a service project they decided to help a family in need for Thanksgiving. All 12 of the boys did extra jobs around campus to earn a few extra dollars. They also made money from selling Powerade and water at football games. The boys made a list of what they would like to eat at Thanksgiving, and three of the boys looked over food ads in the newspaper. They learned about budgeting and discovered how much their dollars would buy. Four of the students went to the grocery store to buy the food. Others helped wrap the food and included a turkey plate they found at Central Storage. When all was in order, they delivered the food to the pastor of a church downtown, who delivered the food to the families so the students would remain anonymous. I’m inspired through their generous hearts and attitudes.

The kids were such great hoop dancers!
The kids were such great hoop dancers!

This afternoon, our third graders put on a hoop dancing performance. We sat on the floor against the wall in the school gym, and watched them make their hoops into the shape of butterflies and eagles and let their spirits soar as they danced. Good exercise, great fun and an appreciation of Lakota (Sioux) culture as well.

We had a journalist from Germany taking video of happenings around campus. At the end of the day, he was interviewing three of our high school girls, and asked a question something like, “Why is being away from home more important than being with your family?” Danisha, one of our seniors, wisely put it in perspective.

Nothing is more important than family. Being at St. Joseph’s gives me opportunities and an education so in the long run, I can help my family even more.”