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Ak-Chin Youth Council Wellness Warriors

National UNITY Council Representatives Xendryk Silas-Antone and Marie Antone share how Ak-Chin Youth Council helped promote Physical, Mental, Spiritual and Social Wellness throughout the year. Youth councils can join the national Wellness Warriors movement by sharing traditional wellness teachings.

Community Service for the Ak-Chin Youth Council consist of many wellness teachings. Ak-Chin Youth Council are given the opportunity to; help, learn, teach, and encourage others. It also gives a chance for the Ak-Chin Youth Council to give back to the Community young and old. Listed are just a few of what the Ak-Chin Youth Council has been involved in so far: Community Gatherings, Intercession, Community Run/Walks, Elder Chair Volleyball, Easter Celebrations, and Christmas Celebrations. Being part of UNITY has given the Ak-Chin Youth Council the tools to continue with many of the Community Services Projects they do.

The Ak-Chin Youth Council addressed Physical Wellness during their 11th Annual Toy Drive Tournament. The volleyball tournament was started to get families together to become active in the community but also to have fun. The Ak-Chin Youth Council is in charge of getting teams together, scheduling the bracket with game times, keeping score, line judging, keep track of toys, welcoming teams, and thanking them for participating. Toys are then stored until Christmas which then Ak-Chin Youth Council hands them out to children during the Polar Express Event in the Community.

The Ak-Chin Youth Council celebrate wellness teachings during Ak-Chin’s Masik Tas. The Masik Tas event is a celebration for the Community to recognize it’s establishment 1961. The Ak-Chin Youth Council has been helping since it’s start in 2008. Throughout the years the Ak-Chin Youth Council has incorporated several events during this time such as a dance contest and menudo contest. Today Youth Council has added even more wellness events such as the wood chopping contest, popover contest, and Songivu’l games. The Ak-Chin Youth Council is in charge of setting up of all events that’s listed along with decorating, scheduling the events, prizes, and all in all the capability to keep the event running smoothly. Although the event is very demanding and exhausting the Ak-Chin Youth Council enjoy giving back to the Community.

The Ak-Chin Youth Council participates every Ak-Chin Council Election by encouraging members of the Ak-Chin Indian Community to vote. Building personal citizenship can be an important wellness teaching. The Ak-Chin Youth Council get up very early to go around the Community ringing their cow bell chanting “Go Vote!” “You are our voice, go vote!”. Once they hit every street and corner the Ak-Chin Youth Council sets up at the local market and hold up signs to remind and encourage eligible voters to go vote. With the cow bell ringing, and the vibrant signs who is not going to notice this message.

The Ak-Chin Youth Council shares their wellness with others through community culture sharing. The council was asked to share songs and dances for Native American Students at a local school. Ak-Chin Youth Council have been active in sharing songs and dances with the Community and also outside of the Community. They always try to fulfill request to share their culture no matter where it may be. Many of the Ak-Chin Youth Council never have been exposed to their culture so it is very new to them. Because their willingness to learn they begin to gain that knowledge and are eager to share what they have learned. It is important to continue to have culture be apart of the Ak-Chin Youth Council because that is who we are as Native Americans.

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A Special Thank you to the W. K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) for their ongoing support of the UNITY Wellness Warriors Program. WKKF supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society.