By Marvin Louie
Special to the Chronicle
School’s out for summer! Well, we got no choice, all the girls and boys, making all that noise, ‘cause they found new toys, well, we can’t salute ya, can’t find a flag, if that don’t suit ya, that’s a drag – school’s out for summer.
Wow! I just woke up coming out of a dream thinking of how great it was (back in the day) looking forward to the summer now that school is out; kind of a “Dazed and Confused” moment; a “Blast from the Past.” School’s out, summer’s in, let the drama stop and the fun begin!
Another school year has gone by and some of our Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) youth are now going onto the next stages of their lives, either going from grade school to high school or from high school to college or the workforce. It’s been a pleasure for me to see our youth grow up through the years in the valleys of life.
I work closely with the youth at Sen-Pok-Chin Elementary and it was great to join them at their graduation night June 25 at the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre in Osoyoos, which included guest speakers, awards and a fantastic dinner. A few of our youth showed up in style, arriving in a stretch limousine which everyone enjoyed, including some of the parents who got a short ride in it. Everyone left the evening full of joy and gratitude but I know for myself and a few of the teachers that there was also a little bit of sorrow, only because we won’t be seeing the graduates as much but we know they will always be close by, close enough for a smoke signal, eh?
Our OIB youth will now be busy either attending various youth summer programs, working, travelling around the world, or visiting various family members and friends in the Okanagan area and beyond. I will be busy working with two summer OIB youth programs (ages 6-12): Sun Fun and Right To Play (RTP) which will run daily in July and August. We will also be working with the Oliver Parks and Recreation “Sun Fun” program led by their fearless leaders “Thelma and Louise” (a.k.a. Katie Hadwin and Carol Sheridan). Our OIB Sun Fun and RTP kids will be joining the Oliver Parks & Rec Sun Fun group throughout the summer participating in different games and activities. I think it’s important (as do Thelma and Louise) that our youth (OIB) and the town youth interact as much as they can in their younger years so that as they grow older they will have built enhanced social skills that will benefit them greatly as they wander through the trials and tribulations of adolescence.
Most of our older youth (13-18) work during the summer months and they tend to work at one of our OIB businesses, but also venture out to other opportunities such as Tim Hortons and other businesses.
The summer programs (which have also included canoeing and archery) have always been prominent within the OIB culture and that continues today. The present youth workers carry on that tradition thanks to Sonya Jensen, Taylor Baptiste, William Hall and Kali Baptiste; they are an incredible crew and the youth just love them.