Tohono O'odham Summer Camp

From June 22nd-28th Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center (SEAHEC) and the Tohono O’odham Nation hosted the Third Annual Future Health Leaders Summer Camp at the Tohono O’odham Community College (TOCC) in Sells, Arizona. The Tribal College hosted 16 O’odham high school students who shared an interest in exploring the vast world of healthcare and its professions. The group of eight boys and eight girls, who come from various districts across the reservation, stayed in the TOCC dorms during the weeklong exploration of health careers and O’odham culture. A key strategy of the summer camp is to expose students to health concepts through activities that highlight both O’odham Himdag (O’odham culture, way of life, and values) and modern healthcare practices.

Sheep Disection

“This camp helped me to better understand my health career, becoming an EMT and fire fighter is what I want to do and I think I am one step closer.” – Kiara Antone

As students explore their own culture in the context of health careers, they gain more knowledge about the importance of tradition and culture to the Tohono O’odham people and increase their understanding of the need for more O’odham healthcare providers serving in the students’ communities. Health related and cultural activities are designed to help students improve their knowledge of health care fields, and to help them build leadership and academic skills that will increase their confidence in pursuing higher education.

The week’s activities included:

    Health Careers Exploration:
  • Presentations on HOPP Healthy Eating, food systems & Tohono O’odham Scholarship opportunities.
  • Tours of the Sells Indian Health Services and UA College of Medicine.
  • CPR/First Aid Training and Certification.
    Cultural Skills:
  • Adobe Brick Making
  • Basket Making
  • Rattle Making
  • Bahidaj (Cactus Fruit) Harvest
  • Traditional Games: TOKA & Wuicuda
  • Get Air Tucson Trampoline Park

“I had so much fun, I would tell the world about it (2015 FHL Summer Camp).” – Rodrick Manuel