The Zuni Youth Enrichment Project announced today that it will be hosting its 3rd annual Spring Break Camp in March, in conjunction with Zuni Public School District’s spring break. Once again, ZYEP is partnering with Tennessee-based St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School to offer this sister program to its beloved, long-running Summer Camp.


“We are so grateful to teacher Rachel Malde, who coordinates the St. Andrews-Sewanee team and works closely with us on Spring Break Camp,” said Tara Wolfe, ZYEP’s program manager. “She is absolutely amazing.” 


Scheduled for 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Mar. 11-15, Spring Break Camp will welcome up to 30 children ages 5-11. Two SAS teachers and 15 of their high school students will facilitate the program, incorporating activity areas such as STEM, physical activities, and arts and crafts. Plus, ZYEP’s Food Sovereignty team will be on hand to provide plenty of healthy snacks.


“Last year, the campers made homemade lava lamps, created flowers with modeling clay, played tag and other outdoor games, and so much more,” said Tahlia Natachu-Eriacho, ZYEP’s executive director. “It was so rewarding to see them learning, building their confidence, and having fun.” 


Each day from Mar. 11 to 14, campers will cycle through the three activity areas in three groups. Then, on Mar. 15, they will enjoy a field trip to El Morro National Monument. 


Last year, inclement weather prevented the El Morro outing. Instead, campers took a local field trip to the Zuni Visitor Center, which included a guided tour of the Old Mission Church in the heart of Zuni’s middle village.


“The church is a significant historical landmark for Zuni,” Natachu-Eriacho said. “It has been closed to the public for years, but our campers were given access, which made it a very special day for them.”


Afterward, the group visited the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center, where Curtis Quam, the museum’s director, provided a tour and explanations of the many exhibits. ZYEP staff encouraged campers to share their experiences with their families and engage in intergenerational conversations about Zuni history and culture.


“Curtis also conducts an introductory session for the SAS team when they first arrive,” Wolfe said. “They learn about Zuni social norms and ethical considerations, so they will be ready to engage with the community both during and after each day of camp.” 


With camp sessions ending at 12 p.m. daily, the SAS team spends afternoons providing extra support as needed in the Zuni community. Last year, for example, they helped families with home renovations, and they assisted families that were hosting significant cultural events.


“We’re always grateful for the wonderful opportunities that Spring Break Camp gives all of us,” Natachu-Eriacho said. “It’s essentially a cultural exchange program. The SAS team gains insights into the beauty and strength of our Zuni culture, while our children are reminded of the beauty and strength from which they descend.”


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