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Building Community Support for Youth Councils

UNITY Advisors recently gathered for an interactive virtual session to discuss Building Community Support for Youth Councils as part of the UNITY Fall Webinar Series – Adult Track led by guest presenters, Eileen Crocker, White Mountain Apache and Vance Home Gun, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

UNITY values the dedication and commitment of Youth Council advisors. Each youth council is unique with its culture, location and sponsoring agencies. Building community support provides each advisor a network of people to assist with meetings, activities, fundraising and leadership development. Attendees shared about their community individuals, resources and programs and how support enhances programming for youth.

The Discussion consisted of how to Involve youth in the process by taking an inventory of assets and needs to identify the resources and roles needed and who to invite. Co-Advisors, chaperones, elders, presenters, donors and special group of boosters to assist with fundraising and activities. Once a pool of committed individuals are ready to draw from, learn to pace their involvement. Not everybody, all at once needs to be involved. Some will become key players with frequent involvement and others may be on call for a specific role or presentation. It was a great conversation about Community Support!

Eileen Crocker is a member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe. She is a UNITY Alumnus and served in the first Circle of Earth Ambassadors in the 1990’s. She currently is the lead advisor for the White Mountain Apache Youth Council serving as a Youth Services Coordinator for the Tribes JOM programs in Whiteriver, Arizona.

Vance Home Gun is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and serves CSKT Youth Council as a mentor in Arlee, Montana.  He is a UNITY Peer Leader serving as a Peer Guide in the third year of the OJJDP Healing Indigenous Lives Initiative.  Home Gun  was named a 25 Under 25 Native Youth Leader in 2018 and served as a Peer Leader for  theOJJDP Today’s Native Leaders.

Recently Vance shared how Covid 19 has changed the ways he is able to support his local community. “I teach at one of our tribal schools here on the Flathead Indian Reservation that targets Salish language revitalization and promotes immersion with elders, teachers and students. We decided to do virtual distance learning due to COVID.” said HomeGun. He continued to explain how “this transition has been very positive and looks like to be a good change, and we cant wait to come back to in person school!” We appreciate our UNITY youth leaders who are continuously striving to find more ways to support communities virtually. Keep up the great work!