UNITY Youth Participates in Nation Building for Native Youth
Article by Jay Massey-Heyl
During my stay at the Nation Building for Native Youth (NBNY) training, I was quite surprised with not only the phenomenal presenters and content that was showcased over the span of the weekend, but also by the participation from all of the youth who had attended.
As a Nineteen Year old who really got their feet wet with different conferences at the age of sixteen, I can say that it’s always a pleasure to be surrounded by uplifting people who have good mindsets and good morals. The Nick Lowery Foundation was celebrating the 16th anniversary of NBNY and with it had speakers like Pasqua Yaqui musician Gabriel Ayala, Be legendary James Carter, Author of ‘Rich Dad/Poor Dad’ Sharon Lechter, and a few others who had engaging thought provoking presentations of how they bettered themselves throughout their lives.
As the weekend slowly unfolded the participants were given many different group activities that not only tested the group as a whole but also the individual and their ability to take lead and let others take lead. Most of these fun tasks had simple rules but no guideline for how to complete the tasks, for instance, one activity asked the group to have one partner and to touch a button(called the no touch button) and then switch places with said partner. As the game continued the group came up with better and quicker ways everyone could touch and then switch positions with their partner when the key was in the wording and switching positions with your partner meaning you could change any kind of position with your partner like having one person lift their arm while the other lowered theirs. This game was to test our ability to bend the rules something James Carter was a huge advocate of as someone who doesn’t agree with the normal sit down, be quiet, and listen structure that children have always been taught in.
As the weekend progressed all the participants learned skills such as how to conduct yourself professionally, how to work more effectively with others, how to assess your work style, the importance of money management, and many other life skills that were explored more deeply for some while being newly discovered for others. With a good number of presentations filling up each day we had half of Friday and the morning of Saturday to work on our community projects that would address an issue that was prominent and come up with a solution that would be presented with the possibility of being funded by the Nick Lowery Foundation as a hope to give native youth vision in taking the lead and helping out their communities. The four committees had addressed issues revolving around creating safer environments for community members, dealing with bullying along with helping those with psychological hardships, and helping out elders with each group coming up with a different way of solving these issues.
Overall it was an amazing conference that I would highly recommend to anyone as it has much to offer in terms of teaching humbleness, setting goals, helping others and making the most of the time we all have.