Youth Activity Camps offer opportunities for development
From the desk of Assistant Chief Gary Batton
The Choctaw Nation has a series of youth camps during the summer months that offer unique opportunities for youth ages 8 – 18. Beginning the first of June, over 500 youth are registered to take part in two days of Cultural Enrichment camps at Tushka Homma.They will be enthralled to learn the rules of stickball, how to use the ball sticks (kapucha) to throw and catch the ball (towa) and actually compete in a stickball game.
The Cultural Enrichment camps also teach archery with a long bow, Choctaw pottery-making, basketry, bead-working and tribal language.
Sports camps are offered in golf, football, baseball and softball. These are free of charge, giving a tremendous advantage to the students so they can get great instruction in sports of their choice. Multiple incentives for attending these camps include keeping in shape, staying involved in sports that are enjoyable and being introduced to new sports. Students will also be shown how setting goals and self-discipline not only helps their playing ability, but also helps in their life off the field.
The instructor for the Golf Camp is Ed Bowe, the ESPN Golf Schools Director of Instruction. The staff and instructors are motivated to teach each participant whether it be a first time or an advanced golfer. Each new golf participant gets a set of clubs to encourage them to continue the sport. The softball and baseball participants are being gifted gloves this year. Alternate years, bats are given. Coaches explain that as the students grow, the gloves and bats need to grow in size with the players. Basketball and football campers are given balls at the end of their instruction.
The tribe provided the bus ride when the camps are at locations far from home. Lunches and plenty of Gatorade and water are available at all the camps. This has been a great opportunity for the youth of the Choctaw Nation, and the Chief and Council have been proud that so many young people have been able to attend over the past few years. We all hope that hundreds more will be at the camps this summer for a wonderful experience!