ZUNI, NM (Apr. 30, 2021) — This week, the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project announced that it will hold its 13th annual Summer Camp in person. Registration opens May 10 for the four-week day camp, with applications available online or at Ho’n A:wan Park.
Founded in 2009, Summer Camp was ZYEP’s first program — and it remains its flagship initiative, serving 200 Zuni youth each season. While the youth project staff successfully held a virtual “safe at home” version of the camp in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they are eager to welcome the kids back this year.
Summer Camp programming integrates education, physical activities, nutrition, gardening, and art, and it’s designed to enhance participants’ learning and health while strengthening their connection to Zuni culture. During the summer, campers have opportunities to learn Zuni language, traditional gardening, art, and social dances, while exploring what makes them special.
“Our mentors blend these culturally relevant and enriching activities with a conventional camp curriculum that includes STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), nutrition, sports, games, and self-care,” said Joe Claunch, ZYEP’s executive director. “Over the years, we’ve documented significant improvements in our young people’s overall wellness. Campers report eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, enjoying physical activities more, building stronger relationships with peers and mentors, and connecting more deeply to Zuni culture.”
Building relationships with mentors is an important part of the Summer Camp experience. Each year, a group of Zuni teens and young adults complete a robust leadership development program so they can serve as camp counselors; this program includes a four-day retreat to a culturally significant site, a week of professional development workshops, and daily group sessions.
“Through this leadership program, the counselors are developing communication, leadership, and mentoring skills,” Claunch said. “They’re also gaining valuable learning and work experiences, which allows them to pursue their own higher education and career goals going forward.
“In that sense, Summer Camp benefits campers and counselors alike,” he noted. “Every year, our counselors tell us about their positive experiences and how they’ve personally grown.”
ZYEP will be sharing more details about its 13th annual Summer Camp in the coming weeks. For news updates, visit https://www.zyep.org/news/, and follow the youth project on social media.
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.