Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

August 5, 2010

Refocusing our youth grant ending

By Lailani Upham

Front L to R: Lance Hawkins with CSKT THHS, Darian Parker, Emilie Charlo, Katrina Stevens, Ran’Dee Charlo, Darius Parker, Jarred Brown, Willie Burke with CSKT Fish & Game. Back L to R: Dan McClure with CSKT Fish & Game, Matt Pierre, Katie McDonald, Monique McDonald, Eugene Parker, Lew Michel, Bryar McCrea, R.J. Pierre, Faith Ann Parker, Shane Pierre, Whisper Michel. (Lailani Upham photo)
Front L to R: Lance Hawkins with CSKT THHS, Darian Parker, Emilie Charlo, Katrina Stevens, Ran’Dee Charlo, Darius Parker, Jarred Brown, Willie Burke with CSKT Fish & Game. Back L to R: Dan McClure with CSKT Fish & Game, Matt Pierre, Katie McDonald, Monique McDonald, Eugene Parker, Lew Michel, Bryar McCrea, R.J. Pierre, Faith Ann Parker, Shane Pierre, Whisper Michel. (Lailani Upham photo)

PABLO — The goal to serve over 600 families through the Refocusing Our Tribal Youth Program on the Flathead Reservation has exceeded tremendously, according to Monique McDonald, ROYP Program Director.

The grant was awarded in 2006 from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to build truancy incentive plans for tribal students between the ages of 10 – 17 is ending September 30.

The program has been a success in building bridges for students, parents and schools. Several of the students have improved largely over the years since the program began, says McDonald.

The program not only kept their focus on the children during the school year but the summers kept the relationship alive through daily activities and camps. Each summer shifted to different areas of the reservation. Last summer the number of students served spanned the Big Arm/Elmo area all the way through to St. Ignatius, according to McDonald. This summer, youth from Ronan to Arlee were served.

Last week the program ended with over a dozen kids enjoying days of camping at Blue Bay. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Fish and Game department providing boat transportation for the kids to explore Wild Horse Island, about a 30-minute ride from the campsite.

Students ask questions during the CSKT Fish and Game wildlife presentation at Blue Bay last Wednesday. (Lailani Upham photo)
Students ask questions during the CSKT Fish and Game wildlife presentation at Blue Bay last Wednesday. (Lailani Upham photo)

Fish and Game warden, Dan McClure dedicated time with the kids for one day transporting and sharing wildlife information on bears and other large animals that inhabit the area. McClure explained to the kids that the biggest mistake people make when it comes to bears is to leave food out at camps or by their homes.

McDonald said the kids had daily chores each day, and one was to make sure camp and trash was cleaned up thoroughly before bedtime.

For the summer activities the ROYP teamed up with Tribal Health and the Tribal Fitness program to feed and keep the kids active, according to McDonald. She also mentioned through the Summer Youth Employment program children were mentored and monitored by hiring youth to help with the activities. Without the collaboration of other programs it would have been almost impossible to serve the students during the summers, McDonald added.

The ROYP was designed to work with parents, tribally enrolled students, schools and the tribal youth court system in an effort to get the student to school on-time and to remain in school.

Each school on the reservation is guided by their own policy on the number of unexcused absences a student receives before a referral goes out to ROYP. However, a referral to the program is not solely placed on the school, the parent or guardian may refer them or the CSKT Tribal Youth Court I.

Leisure time of boat rides and swimming was spent on a hot afternoon during the ROYP camp. (Lailani Upham photo)
Leisure time of boat rides and swimming was spent on a hot afternoon during the ROYP camp. (Lailani Upham photo)

ROYP draws up an individual incentive contract with the parent and student to work out the truancy problem. If there is a breach of contract the next step for the program is to contact Tribal Law and Order to request a citation. The issue then falls out of the hands of the program and into (or back into) the hands of the Tribal Court.

The process has shown a huge leap of success reservation-wide, according to McDonald.

According to, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention data analysis, the Program started out with 42 tribal youth being served in the beginning. The numbers gradually reached a total of 666 students served.

Advertise with us!
Share
submit to reddit
('DiggThis’)
Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious