Shi’wshi’wtm he hndesn (Young Women’s Camp)
A camp for young women on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation came to life in 2019. Camp organizers had a vision to encourage young women to explore life’s possibilities through education.
University of Idaho Extension, Coeur d’Alene Reservation partnered with the Coeur d’Alene Tribal School, Lakeside Jr/Sr High School, Native Youth Community Project, Rites of Passage for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe Cultural Preservation Office to coordinate the first annual camp in August 2019.
Shaina Nomee, associate Extension tribal educator with UI Extension, embraced the vision for the camp and spearheaded efforts.
“The reason why we decided to start the camp, or my own personal view as to why, is that I’ve known a lot of these girls since they were kids in preschool and the older they got the more confidence they lost in themselves,” Nomee said. “There wasn’t enough being done to help build the self-esteem of these girls.
“You can’t love others if you don’t love yourself and we saw a need to uplift and empower these women to help them become successful leaders in our community.”
Nomee worked with community partners to host the retreat-like camp for all young women aged 12-18 living on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation. The camp focused on leadership training through group activities rooted in the Coeur d’Alene Tribe's culture and the five pillars of stewardship, scholarship, membership, guardianship and spirituality.
“The biggest challenge was getting young women registered. It was a new opportunity, it was summertime, but we were really excited to get 15 young women to attend,” Nomee said.
The two-day camp was held at the University of Idaho Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center and included sessions on self-care, journaling and storytelling, and showcased several guest speakers.
Post-event evaluations indicated that participants left feeling empowered with a sense of purpose and confidence. To continue the impact, four participants are serving as representatives with UI Extension to plan a Young Women’s Society monthly meeting to encourage personal growth and discover culturally relevant material.
Plans are underway for the 2020 event, including the addition of another day of activities.
“It was a wonderful start. These women will continue to stay involved and become leaders in our community,” Nomee said. “We are helping to impact the community by educating and having an effect on the youth that will become future leaders of the community.”
Article written by Hannah Doumit, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences