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