ZUNI, NM (Aug. 16, 2021) — The Zuni Youth Enrichment Project announced today that it has received the results of its pre- and post-Summer Camp surveys. Those results reveal that the annual Summer Camp program has a positive, lasting impact on youth, counselors, and families in Zuni, New Mexico.

Sixty-five campers ages 7-12 enjoyed ZYEP’s 13th annual Summer Camp on June 21 to July 16. When the youth project’s staff reviewed the data from the campers’ pre- and post-camp surveys, they noticed several significant increases, particularly in the areas of enrichment, culture, physical activity, and mentorship.

“Our camp is dedicated to providing new, enriching opportunities and strengthening our young people’s connection with their culture, so we were excited to see an increase in the number of kids reporting, ‘I like to try new things,’ and ‘I feel a strong connection to Zuni culture,’” said Tahlia Natachu, ZYEP’s youth development coordinator. “We also saw a jump in the number of campers reporting that they enjoy physical activity. Moving from 71.9 percent to 92.9 percent is a huge shift!

“Most campers reported an increase in overall happiness and in ‘I have positive people in my life that I look up to,’ she continued. “We are very proud of that one.”

Indeed, a key component of nonprofit youth organization’s Summer Camp is its counselor development program. Prior to the start of the beloved day camp, 19 counselors ages 15-24 joined ZYEP staff for two days of in-house training, followed by a four-day outdoor retreat in a culturally significant area.

During their time together, these young people take part in mental health promotion training, daily group sessions, and professional development workshops that enhance communication, leadership, team-building, and mentoring skills. As a result, Summer Camp proves to be transformative for counselors and campers alike.

The counselors’ pre- and post-camp surveys revealed increases in connection to Zuni culture and feeling healthy. Their open responses in the survey document also share their perspectives on the impact the camp had on the campers, the community, and themselves.

“Personally, I’ve struggled with understanding who I am and what strengths and weaknesses I have,” said one counselor. “(Now) I feel like I have really learned a lot about myself, how I work in a group setting, and how I interact with people.”

“Summer Camp had an incredibly positive impact on me personally,” observed a fellow counselor.  “It (taught me) how to talk to younger ones, as well as peers my age. It lit up my life. I was able to focus on something that gave me a sense of purpose. I met so many lovely people, made incredible friendships, and got to know the type of person I am and want to be.”

ZYEP also asked local families for their feedback. According to their surveys, 100 percent of families agreed that their children had fun at camp, camp improved their children’s self-confidence and overall health, and camp taught their children how to live healthy lives.

One parent also recorded an additional benefit, noting, “The children had something to do rather than staying inside and being on electronics. Thank you ZYEP for having this camp.”

Founded in 2009, Summer Camp was ZYEP’s first program — and it remains its flagship initiative, serving approximately 1,300 Zuni youth since its inception. The camp has become so popular, registrations for this year’s camp filled in a matter of hours. Summer Camp is popular with ZYEP’s supporters across the country as well. The youth project’s Summer Camp fundraiser met its $20,000 goal prior to the July 31 deadline.

The youth project continues to raise funds for Summer Camp 2022 and its many other dynamic initiatives. Supporters can make a secure contribution through the website at zyep.org/donate.

To learn more about the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project and its programs, and for information about making donations, partnering with ZYEP, and volunteering, call (505) 782-8000 or visit zyep.org. And, to stay up to date on the latest news and events, follow the nonprofit youth organization on Facebook (/zuniyouthenrichmentproject), Instagram (@zuniyouthenrichmentproject), and YouTube (/ZuniYouth).

Founded in 2009, the nonprofit Zuni Youth Enrichment Project is dedicated to promoting resilience among Zuni youth so they will grow into strong, healthy adults who are connected with Zuni traditions. ZYEP fulfills its mission by providing positive role models, enriching programs, and nurturing spaces that contribute to the healthy development of Zuni youth. ZYEP strives to provide every child with the encouragement and opportunities they need to reach their full potential.