Oct 2, 2015

Summer Adventure Class of 2015!

Dear Friends,

Our 6-week academic Summer Adventure has come to an end. We could not have hoped for a better group of kids, volunteers, and staff. These dedicated youth worked hard each day to improve their reading, writing, math, and science skills. They also attended multiple educational field trips, including: the Arizona Science Center, the Musical Instrument Museum, the local Border Patrol station, the Tohono O'odham Cultural Center and Museum, and IMAX. On the second-to-last day, the Tohono O'odham Fire Department swung by for a "wet-down" where they soaked the campers with a fire hose. Needless to say, this is always a huge hit with the kids!

Although we are sad to see the campers go, we are excited to share with you plenty of photos and testimonials. We asked these youth what they liked best about Summer Adventure, what they would like to see in next year's camp, and if they plan on coming back. After all, this is their Summer Adventure, and they know how to share the experience better than anyone. So, without further delay, we present to you, NAAF's 2015 Summer Adventure as told by our amazing, intelligent, studious, and smiling young campers:

"I really liked doing the math on the laptops, because it helped me with my math skills. I like reading, too! I want to thank everyone that ran the program, especially Trevor for cooking for us." - Zoe (age 6)

"My favorite part of the camp was learning. Also, I like coming to the recreation center. I liked the healthy food we ate. It was very good. I liked camp because every day is a new day for new activities. I would have liked to attend a basketball game in a stadium. I also would've liked to see the ocean, because I want to see the boats and birds" - Idynna (age 7)

"My favorite was when we went on the elevator!" Aldrina (age 7)

"My favorite part was reading on the computer and eating!" - Damian (age 6)

"The best was going to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. I love music. I love this camp because it is fun. We do math, reading, and writing in our journals. I think other kids should come to Summer Adventure. I also think we should play with water balloons next year!" - Autumn (age 11) 

"I most liked the part when we play games with the staff. I also liked going on field trips, learning and seeing new things. I didn't like that the program was only five hours a day. I wish it could've been longer." - Demetri (age 5)

"I liked when we danced Cumbia in the multipurpose room. That was fun. I loved all the arts and crafts, too. I plan on coming back next year." - Jaleesa (age 8)

"My favorite part is to go to math." - Keira (age 8)

"I like that we get to go on the laptop and do reading and math." - Dilah (age 8)

"I like math and reading on the laptops." - Rose (age 9)

Q: What was your favorite part of camp?
A: Getting wet by the firefighter.
Q: Why?
A: Because I got soaked and wet!
Q: What would you like to see at next year's camp?
A: Water balloons!
Q: Why is that?
A: Because we can get wet by them and cool down.
Q: That makes sense. Will you be coming back next year?
A: I would love to come back!
Q: That's great! Why?
A: Because we learn.
- Amoni (age 9)

In case you are wondering, 100% of our campers stated they would return next year! Oh, and it looks like we may have to extend our hours, according to Demetri! :)

We honestly cannot wait for next summer. We will be ready for these great kids with an even stronger program!

Thank you all for your support. You truly have made the best kind of difference in these kids' lives. We are so grateful to you!

Sep 22, 2015

Gu Vo Academic After-School Program 2015 / 2016!!!

Dear Friends:

We are excited to share some great news with you. This year our academic after-school program will be held at the local elementary / middle school! Having these facilities will definitely allow us to put on an even stronger program. The number of students attending is expected to skyrocket. Each session will include math, reading, writing, vocabulary, and STEM lessons. Students will also spend time doing arts & crafts, receive tutoring help, and be fed a healthy after-school snack and dinner. 

Each student takes a reading, writing, and math assessment at the beginning, middle, and end of the program. Through the educational software Ten Marks (math) and Raz Kids (reading and writing), we are able to track a student's progress and assist where needed. Keeping a close eye on their progress is crucial to helping these young scholars as much as we can. 

Setting these students up for success is imperative on a reservation where the dropout rate exceeds 51%. Year after year, we have seen first-hand the love of learning these kids have. Through mixing fun with academic lessons, our after-school program is one the kids can't wait to attend.

Our new partnership with the school will make it much easier for these kids to attend the program. The Tohono O'odham Nation (TON) is vast with wide open spaces in every direction. While these spaces serve as amazing backdrops, they provide transportation challenges. With our program at the school, the kids simply have to walk to the after-school building on campus, learn, have fun, play, eat nutritious food, and catch the school bus home.

Moving forward, it is our hope to partner with other districts on the TON to implement their own after-school programs based on our model, which combines physical and psychological safety, supportive relationships, appropriate structure, opportunities to belong, positive social norms, support for efficacy and mattering, opportunities for skill building, and integration of family, school, and community efforts.

Of course, this program would never be possible without the support of kind donors like yourself. If you can, please support our new and refined academic after-school program. Each dollar makes a world of difference!


With gratitude,

Jim Kober
Executive Director
Native American Advancement Foundation 


Jul 6, 2015

Native American Academic Summer Adventure a Hit!

Dear Friends:

On Monday we entered the 5th week of the Gu Vo Youth Academic Summer Adventure - an academic summer camp that combines fun activities with education to inspire Native American students from the Tohono O'odham (T.O.) Tribe in Arizona to stay in school and break the cycle of poverty on the T.O. Nation. We have had a steady count of 40 tribal youth attend each session of the camp. Parents are sending us reports of how kids are going to bed early in order to wake up in time to get a ride to the Summer Adventure!  

Each daily session begins with outdoor activity. Recent studies have shown the mind is at its best after exercise. After outdoor time, the students adjourn inside for reading and math lessons through our educational software. Students and outcomes are tracked through the use of this software. 

In addition to keeping up with studies during the lull of summer, these students are having a great time playing games that teach teamwork, such as Sinking Ship, a game that is very similar to what many of us played as kids where the floor is lava and all furniture is safe. In Sinking Ship, gym mats are laid one atop the other and the kids have to help one another get from mat to mat and finally to safety. If they touch pavement, they are out of the game. Sinking Ship is an excellent way to teach these youth teamwork.

As camp moves into its final two weeks for 2015, we are excited to move forward with our daily academic lessons as well as a number of spirit days for the kids. There will be a "Crazy-Hair Day" a "Super Hero Day" a "Favorite Jersey Day" and a "Pajama Day."

The kids truly have had an incredible summer camp this year, and it is all thanks to donors like you. Thank you again, so much, and please keep the Native American Advancement Foundation (NAAF) in mind for future donations. We are making big things happen on the T.O. Nation.

"T.O. the TOP!"


Jim Kober, Executive Director
Native American Advancement Foundation 


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