OUR CAMPERS

Camp is offered to Lakota children ages 7-13 from the Pine Ridge Reservation. Different camping sessions focus on different age groups within this age range, and on different communities around the Reservation. The number of children who go to Camp varies depending on how much funding we have each year. This has varied over the years from a minimum of 20 to a maximum of 125. As we grow, we hope to also offer Camp to children from other Reservations and from other underserved, economically impoverished areas where a disconnect has happened between children and the natural environment and where human-animal connections and care has suffered.

How Campers Are Selected

As a prerequisite to go to camp, children must earn two badges. Learning to earn is an important lesson that Camp helps to convey to children.

The "Reading with Animals" Badge

Children read 7 books to/with an animal to earn this badge. They can read to a dog, a cat, a horse, a turtle, a caterpillar -- any animal. They can sit under a tree and read to the birds if they want to. They can read to the same animal each time or to a different one. They read the books after school, on the weekends, on holidays. They must have at least one witness (preferably another child who can read the book together with them.) If they read a book in Lakota language, it counts for 2 books. This is to encourage children in their Lakota language studies. They fill in a checklist (which CLAL provides) listing the titles of the books they read and who they read the books with (what animals and what people). They turn this checklist into their teacher before school lets out for the summer.

The "Kindness Counts" Badge

Children do 7 acts of kindness for animals to earn this badge. CLAL shares an illustrative list of acts of kindness for animals with teachers as part of the lesson plan on “All Our Relations”. This lesson builds on traditional Lakota values and encourages students to act with kindness towards all living beings, towards all our relations. Students fill in a checklist describing each of the acts of kindness they performed and turn this into their teacher before school lets out for the summer. Badges are earned before camp (during the school year) and are awarded at camp during an awards ceremony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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