of the Oneida community are helping students with real-world
issues at an Oneida Tribal Gang Task Force cultural camp.
camp focuses on topics such as drugs, alcohol, abstinence,
teenage pregnancy, violence and the students' goals.
I came to the camp I used to get into a lot of fights," said
Julio Flores, 16, who will be a junior at Seymour Community
Flores heard the speakers at camp, he didn't see the point
of fighting anymore. Flores was a camper the year the camp
started. Now he's a camp leader for the middle-school group.
inspirational speakers this year include a counselor from
the Lincoln Hills juvenile facility and a worker from the
Oshkosh Correctional Institution.
speakers scare the students into not committing crimes by
telling them what it's really like inside a correction facility,
said camp leader Sgt. Mark Ninhamfrom the Oneida Police Department.
main objective of the camp is to give the students resources
they can rely on for help. Some of these resources include
the Oneida Police Department, entities of the Oneida Tribe
of Indians, social service workers and domestic abuse counselors.
camp leaders also teach the students respectful behavior.
of being Oneida is that we take care of each other," said
camp leader Dan Ninham, who teaches the students traditional
are a community, and the young have to take care of the old
and the old have to take care of the young, and that's why
we encourage the kids to have that mind-set," Ninham said.
learn respect through traditional games, which stress the
"appropriate touch" concept, positive comments to each other
and team communication.
game that incorporates those behaviors includes a ball of
yarn, which students throw back and forth while the thrower
says a wish or a positive comment. In the end, the yarn resembles
a dream catcher.
camp also encourages the students to consider their futures.
I came to camp I didn't even think about going to college,"
Flores said. "Now I think of going to college, playing sports
and getting a real good job."
Nations Development Institute awarded a $20,000 grant to the
camp, which is part of the Oneida Cultural Resiliency Project.