Story by Bill London, WSU Today
Photos by Shelly Hanks, WSU Photo Services
More than 50 Native American teenagers, primarily from the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, recently attended the fourth annual Leadership Development Camp this week on the Pullman campus.
“We have a great group, eager and energetic,” said Cedric Price
, camp director. Price, who also directs the WSU Physical Education Activities (PEACT) program, said that the campers, all aged 13 to 17, will be living in dorms and attending a combination of courses and activity events until Friday, June 13.
“Our camp activities are weighted toward leadership and academic seminars, along with physical activities,” he noted.
During the week-long residential program, the youth attended a variety of seminars, including critical analysis of popular culture, communication skills, tribal history and leadership, preparation for college, writing poetry, and creating webpages. The seminars were taught by WSU faculty. In addition to on-campus physical activities, the camp includes a day of rowing on the Snake River.
One of the primary goals of the camp is to encourage tribal youth to attend college, by removing their fear of higher education. Two tribal members who attended earlier years of the camp are now WSU undergraduates, Price said.
“One of our camp counselors, Wynonna Johnson, is now a WSU student and attended the first two years of our camp,” Price said. “She’s a perfect role model.”
The leadership camp has been very successful over the last 3 summers, Price continued. Reports from both tribal leaders and parents have indicated that the camping experience has both improved behavior and lifted educational goals. A separate sports-oriented camp will be held for the first time this year, from July 7 through 18, because of the tribal support and interest.
Paula Groves Price, associate professor in the Department
of Teaching and Learning, leads discussion.
The camp was created with the Coeur d’Alene Tribe as part of the agreement that transferred Camp Roger Larson from the university to the tribe. In 2004, the tribe purchased of WSU’s Camp Roger Larson at Cottonwood Bay on Lake Coeur d’Alene, northeast of Worley, Idaho, a 36.46-acre parcel with 700 feet of water frontage. Camp Larson was sold to the tribe for $1.4 million, along with a $1 million pledge from the tribe over five years to support Native American education programs, including the leadership and sports camps.