Purpose is to engage tribal youth into meaningful, educational beneficial activities that will build character, skills, and physical and mental health in the individual, the family unit and the community.
Objectives of this program are to engage tribal youth in constructive activities that provide benefits to the natural world, protect the environment and the community, and provide safe educational service learning opportunities for our youth. The Youth Development Program will mentor youth towards professional natural resource careers, develop skills to foster employment in environmental service, and become contributing members of the community. This program will provide mentoring and support to encourage participants to pursue a path to:
1.) Become an asset to their family and community
2.) Acquire skills to be successfully employed
3.) Acquire academic and social foundations to continue to high school and post-high school education in a natural resource field
The objectives support our mission to develop our youth to be healthy competent contributing members of our community and our nation—to be cognizant of their heritage; responsible environmental stewards, and capable of making positive change in the community and the society.
The Youth Development Program will work in coordination and collaboration with existing youth programs such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Prevention Program, Early Childhood Program, the 4H club, and sports programs that already engage youth. In addition, the Youth Development Program will coordinate with Nde Farms, the Fisheries Department/Mescalero Tribal Fisheries Department, and the Department of Resource Management and Protection; all of which have responsibilities to mentor and foster the growth of tribal youth. Finally, the Youth Development Program will seek to develop a career development plan for every tribal senior that desires this assistance. We will track the academic and experiential progress of every participant and provide individual assistance and counseling. All of the activities of the Youth Development Program will have an education and/or health (healthy eating/active lifestyle) component.
Recent activities have included support for the swimming pool, the Mescalero Little League Football Team and the Mescalero Artists Co-op. We have also sponsored a few movie screenings for community youth where they are educated on healthy snacking, a fishing trip with the 4-H, and most recently a paddle boat race with the generous support of the Inn of the Mountain Gods. Future events include the ongoing development of the Tularosa Creek Discovery Trail, a Triathlon, and coordination with other tribal departments in planning a Halloween Event. Mr. Eric Bell has taken a very active role in the planning and implementation of the youth development events. Ms. Jessica Rodriguez and Ms. Maci Rodrigue (AmeriCorps VISTA) have also been essential in getting our youth engaged. Finally, the Sovereign Nations Service Corps, primarily tribal youth, are the staff that supports, mentors, and provides supervision for these events for the younger children.
The Youth Development Program was originally operated by the BIA, but the Tribe was recently awarded a 638 Contract to carry out the intent of the program with the technical assistance of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Natural Resource Department.