The school year has come to an end, and it’s mid-June in the Sonoran Desert. Temperatures are soaring over 100 degrees. For the kids living in the district of Gu Vo on the Tohono O’odham Reservation, it can be difficult to find fun, productive activities during the summer months, but NAAF has the solution: The Gu Vo Academic Summer Adventure Program (SAP)!
This year NAAF has once again partnered with the Al Jek Recreation Center in Menager’s Dam, Gu Vo for our summer program. Al Jek is a great, newer facility, with its own kitchen, multi-purpose rooms, play area, and even a pool! We are excited to incorporate swimming lessons into this year’s curriculum. What a great way to cool off, and stay active!
The goal of the program is to continue academic lessons through the summer, build our youths’ self-esteem, spark curiosity, and shape strong, healthy, contributing members of society. June 12, 2017, marked the start of the seventh year of the program, which benefits 40 students per day for six weeks. The program focuses on teaching reading, writing, math, technology, science and other STEM activities, and health education. Also incorporated are the teaching and development of traditional Tohono O'odham art, handcrafts, language, gardening, and cultural history. The program also combines physical and psychological safety, supportive relationships, appropriate structure, athletics, opportunities to belong, positive social norms, support for efficacy and mattering, opportunities for skill building, and integration of family, school, and community efforts into the program. We follow these and all of the Arizona Quality Standards for Out-of-School Time Programs. This summer we are also teaching the youth how to say no to underage drinking and substance abuse through the evidence based “Too Good for Drugs and Violence” curriculum.
Every year we get a great response from the kids enrolled in the program. For many, it is one of the only times during the year when they will have the opportunity to explore outside of the reservation, and we have some really exciting field trips lined up this year, with trips to the Biosphere 2, Kitt Peak Observatory, the Tohono O’odham Truck of Love, and a few cultural heritage sites.
With your help, we are bringing another great summer program to the amazing kids of the Gu Vo District in 2017. Going forward, as our programs continue to grow and inspire, we hope to branch out to the other districts of the Tohono O’odham Nation who so desperately need healthy, safe, educational, and creative outlets, especially during the summer months when school is not in session.
All of us at NAAF truly appreciate your help with funding for our programs. Your generous donations have helped to make the programs a success, and we are extremely grateful. Thank you!