LCO Child Support Hosts the Good Life Camp for LCO Youth
By Joe Morey
LCO Child Support Services hosted their first-ever cultural camp from August 15-20, 2022.
The Good Life Cultural Camp was held two hours away at Camp Highlands in Sayner, WI, an overnight camp for boys and girls, ages 11-13, that are a part of LCO or receive child support services through their office.
“It was a great learning experience for our youth and a week full of fun, excitement, and education,” explained Shari Diamond, Child Support Specialist with the program. She added the camp focused on the Seven Grandfather Teachings and provided campers an opportunity to learn about their culture, history, language, values, and practices to make good choices about their future with a full vision of living “the Good Life.”
Diamond also said campers learned protocols for song and dance, regalia, and the meanings behind them.
“They had fun and games while also learning traditional cultural activities,” Diamond noted. “Some of the fun activities included playtime such as swimming, shooting some hoops on the basketball court, or relaxing under a tree.”
Campers also got to spend an afternoon with GLIFWC to experience first-hand how environmental and conservation sciences are used in our Ojibwe culture and in our traditional uses of natural resources, according to Diamond.
The camp ended with a celebration feast with the children’s family back home in LCO on Saturday, August 20, from 9 am to noon, with lunch and water and soft drinks provided free of charge.
According to LCO Child Support Director Sue Smith, the camp was part of an Economic Mobility and Responsible Parenting Demonstration Grant, and that the Good Life Camp was just the beginning of our work.
“This year, we’ll also implement a sustainable, culturally relevant curriculum and other tools for middle school, high school, college students, and young parents,” Smith explained. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to do this work and look forward to sharing the results with the child support community, particularly our fellow tribal programs.”
Many donations were given to make the Good Life Camp a success, including Sevenwinds Casino, they did the “The Good Life” T-Shirts, (2 each) along with bedding (sheets, pillows and pillow cases),
GLIFWC provided the back packs filled with headlamps, batteries. Mic Isham and Kathleen Smith (GLIFWC) spent the afternoon educating the kids about nature, lakes, and plants while on a nature walk.
“They talked about careers as a warden and what their job entails,” Diamond stated. “They emphasized on how important our native lands are to our people.”
Kathleen Smith also performed a water and tobacco ceremony, and GLIFWC also provided wild Rice for meals at the camp.
Bass Pro Shop donated 30 sleeping bags to the kids.
The LCO Tribal Governing Board paid for the traditional feast food (catered by Sevenwinds Casino) of walleye, chicken, wild rice, mashed potatoes & gravy, vegetables, and wild berries.
Diamond added that the camp was a huge success.
“There were several of the kids that were very lonesome for home and parents, night time especially, few tears were shed, buy by the third day that was not the case. They were having so much fun, some made new friends and by the last day, the kids did not want to leave,” Diamond said.
She said all the food was homemade and prepared by the camps chef. Also on the menu was the “Three Sisters Soup”, corn, squash and beans, plus they also learned about how the three sisters supported each other in their growth, which surprising to them, was very good.