TWC and TAAV hosted its second annual Teens Lead Ahead camp this summer from June 7th-10th. Nearly 50 teens gathered from Bethel and the returning villages of Kwethluk, Kipnuk, and Napaskiak along with teens from Kotlik for 4 days and 3 nights of leadership and prevention activities. The theme of this year’s camp was focused around respect- “Respect for ourselves, others, elder’s, and the environment.” The teens spent one night at the Catholic Church, one night at the ONC fish camp, and one night at TWC. Highlights of the camp included presentations and stories by storyteller Gene Tagaban, an elder discussion, subsistence activities at fish camp, a scavenger hunt, and several performances from the Yup’ik musical group Pamyua! On the last night Vicky Nechodomu of LKSD guided the youth in creating their own digital stories based on their own experience of the camp (check out their final products!). Teens Lead Ahead was a tremendous success this year and couldn’t have been possible without the help and generosity of our partners- ONC, AVCP, YKHC, ANDVSA, LKSD, the Catholic Church, Public Health Nursing and of course all of the chaperones, volunteers, and TWC staff who donated their time and energy into making Teens Lead Ahead such a success!
During June 2011 teens involved with TAAV and the Teens Lead Ahead youth camp had an opportunity to create 3 commercials, with funding and support through the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. The commercials are based on a poem called “When I’m an Elder” created and written by TAAV youth around 2002. This poem has evolved into a performance piece. Youth throughout the years have added and changed lines, slowly making “When I’m an Elder” an evolving TAAV creation. This poem has been read by TAAV members at events around the Yukon-Kuskokwim region and Bethel, as well as throughout the state. Though its origins are with the TAAV program, the teens having willingly shared it with ANDVSA, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and other groups to promote sharing their vision of their world with others in our state, as well as to allow others to contribute to the life and evolution of this powerful vision.
TWC hosted the first annual Teens Lead Ahead 2011 youth camp June 16-19. 30 teens from Kipnuk, Kwethluk and Napaskiak joined Bethel Teens Acting Against Violence members for 2 full days and three nights of leadership and prevention activities. This camp was a tremendous success- check out the digital story! The entire gathering was planned by teens in TAAV using the planning model of the statewide Lead On! violence prevention/leadership conference, which many of the TAAV have attended and helped plan in recent years. During the camp, youth spent one night at BABS, the second night at fish camp and the third night was a sleepover night at TWC. Katie (Baldwin) Basile and Alfred Wallace provided instruction and technical assistance on digital storytelling, there were elder talks, storyteller Gene Tagaban (who is originally from Southeast Alaska) shared performances and stories with the group at fish camp, TAAV provided a healthy relationships talk, there were suicide prevention talks, and other activities and speakers. We are excited to build on this model in future years as a youth violence prevention and leadership strategy. Community partners through the Elluatmun Partnership were critical for the positive outcomes of this camp (AVCP, ONC, YKHC, LKSD, etc.) and we thank everyone from these organizations who helped as well as the chaperones and other helping adults from the villages and Bethel. Quyana!
In October, TAAV received a cultural extension license for moose hunting. Throughout the month, TAAV took several trips with a community member out onto the river. Around 10 teens were able to participate in this experience. They learned important skills about hunting and safety.
The new TWC building has provided TAAV with its own self-contained programming room. The program room has a full kitchenette and additional storage space for outdoor gear and program supplies. One of the best elements of the new space is its privacy. In the old building, meetings were held in the large conference room where foot traffic was high. In the new space TAAV meetings can operate almost uninterrupted. Thus, the new environment has positively impacted implementation of activities, depth of discusssions and project completion.
Marie Alfred is a local artist who has been working in partnership with TWC over the past month. Since October 27, 2009, Alfred has been leading workshops with T.A.A.V every Tuesday on creating “story knives” by instructing them on wood working skills. Alfred’s efforts to work with the teens helps TWC achieve its goal of providing culturally relevant activities to its participants. Below is the interview active T.A.A.V member Maya Morris did with Alfred.
Maya Morris (MM): How long have you been doing wood carving professionally?
Marie Alfred (MA): Since May 2009
MM: Who taught you to do wood carving?
MA: My grandpa Adam Fisher. He passed in 1973. He had a business called Grandfathers Teaching.
MM: Are there other crafts you make?
MA: I do water colors, drawings, and work with ivory.
MM: If someone wanted to see your work, where could they go to look at it?
MA: At the art gallery at the the Yup’iit Piciryarait Cultural Center.
MM: Is any of your stuff for sale?
MA: Some water color paintings and wooden spoons. The water color paintings are around $100 and the wooden spoons are $250- $300.
MM: Do you have any current projects in the works?
MA: I’m making ivory earrings.
If you would like more information about Marie Alfred and her art work please contact T.A.A.V coordinator Abby Smith at TWC or the art gallery at the Yup’iit Piciryarait Cultural Center.
October 4th -6th 2009 ** Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska
Teens Acting Against Violence (T.A.A.V) members Kisha Lee, Maya Morris, and Cynthia Andrew attended and served as presenters at the 2nd Annual Lead On! For Peace and Equality conference. Lead On! is a conference that unites youth leaders with community partners to develop projects to promote peace and equality in each of their home communities. At the conference T.A.A.V members participated in numerous workshops involving theatre, art and media to improve their leadership skills. Nationally acclaimed speakers like Courtney Macavinta, Gene Tagaban, Oscar Degruy and Ellen Frankenstein also served as inspiration to create positive change in the world.
One of the highlights of the conference was attending workshops and performances by The Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company (DAYPC). DAYPC is a multicultural teen group from Oakland, California that creates original performance arts pieces using song and rap, hip hop, modern, and aerial dance, martial arts, and theatre. “The Destiny Arts group was my most favorite part of the conference because they were good dancers, had a lot of talent, and taught me the five fingers of non-violence, ” said Cynthia Andrew.
During the conference T.A.A.V members also did a 20 minute presentation about conducting violence prevention work in the Yukon-Delta. Presenting proved to be an empowering experience for T.A.A.V member Maya Morris, “Although I felt nervous to present, afterward I was proud”. Overall Lead On! was a wonderful experience. T.A.A.V is currently integrating their new knowledge and resources gained at the conference into their violence prevention program. Stay tuned for updates!