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American Indian Youth Wellness Camp

Raised toward our $8,000 Goal
52 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on May 12, at 12:00 AM MST
Project Owners

Thank you for being a champion for American Indian youth!!

May 11, 2017

The American Indian Youth Summer Wellness Camp crowdfunding campaign was a success and your active participation makes for a healthier generation!  Together we will ensure #AIWellness @AIWellnessCamp. 

Until the next campaign, exercise, eat the rainbow (different fruits and vegetables), and be kind to yourself and others.

-- 2017 camp photos and video forthcoming --

The Tucson Conquistadores have contributed $1,800! Join our donor base on our last day!

May 11, 2017

The Tucson Conquistadores say the American Indian Youth Wellness Camp is a great cause.  Thank you Tucson Conquistadores!!

Today is our final day of the crowdfunding campaign, join our donor base and make the journey to wellness possible for American Indian youth; donate today!

May you be blessed for your contribution; Thank you!

May 08, 2017

"Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts." --Henri Frederic Amiel

We look forward to providing you with an update on camp, which is possible with your contribution.  You helped us meet our goal! Thank you for your generosity and for believing in our work.  May you receive many blessings in return.

All contributions in excess of our goal will also be used towards camp costs and so if you have not contributed, you may still do so! Thank you! --Francine

Camp Undergraduate Student Counselors Graduate, Congratulations!

May 01, 2017

Each summer we employ college undergraduate students to help with camp.  They serve as mentors, help take heights and weights, pack and organize all our supplies and equipment (including pumping air into ~75 basketballs!) and assist with making sure everything runs smoothly at camp.  They are key to all our reports and are awesome!  Each says their camp experience was valuable and rewarding.  They come from many different disciplines and schools.  This year we are pleased to Congratulate!, Ms. Fatima Molina (Navajo) and Ms. Towanda Pecos (Jemez Pueblo).  Ms. Molina will graduate with her bachelor of science in microbiology and anthropology (dual degree) from the University of Arizona. Ms. Pecos has graduated from Fort Lewis College with her bachelor degree in Exercise Physiology. Your support also helps undergraduates achieve their academic and career goals. Donate today!

We are so close!

April 27, 2017

 Will you help us reach our goal? Donate today!  A round of applause to those who have contributed; thank you!

Arizona youth joins tribal officials to push for diabetes program funds

April 20, 2017

Kendra Penningroth, Cronkite News

WASHINGTON — Alton Villegas offered an unusual call to action March 29 for an 11-year-old boy: “Destroy the ice cream man.”

Alton is a member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community where nearly 10 percent of tribal members have Type 2 diabetes, including members of his family.

“My mom and my grandma have diabetes, a lot of people in Salt River have diabetes, sadly,” said Alton, who has been diagnosed as pre-diabetic. “I think a lot of people have diabetes because they don’t eat healthy and they don’t exercise.”

That’s what brought Alton to Washington March 29, where he was the youngest of six witnesses urging the Senate Indian Affairs Committee to reauthorize the Special Diabetes Program for Indians.

The program grants $150 million a year to about 300 programs that push diabetes prevention to tribes in 35 states, said Rear Adm. Chris Buchanan, acting director of the Indian Health Service. The program will end after September if it is not reauthorized. Since the program began in 1997, tribal obesity rates have remained stubbornly high, said Sen. John Hoeven, R-North Dakota. He said Native Americans still have a greater chance of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes than any other group in America, and that diabetes is their fifth-leading cause of death.

But Hoeven, the committee chairman, also acknowledged at the hearing that the grants have helped lower diabetes “and its complications, such as limb amputations, heart disease and kidney failure. But there’s still more work to be done.”

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, like other grantees, uses its grant to educate families on the benefits of exercise and balanced diets, offering free family-oriented exercise classes and programs that promote healthy lifestyles.

After a 6-year-old on the reservation was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about three years ago, the tribal council began more screening at schools and found 52 percent of students were above the 95th percentile for weight. When a screening showed that Alton was at risk for Type 2 diabetes, his family learned that he qualified for the Youth Wellness Camp in Prescott. Grant money from the federal program lets the tribe send at-risk youth to the camp. “I wanted to be healthier, so I went to camp,” Alton said. “I wanted to be able to help my mom and my grandma be healthier.”

The healthy eating and daily exercise at camp helped Alton lose almost 16 pounds. His mother, Felicia Jimerson, said Alton’s new outlook on eating healthy and exercising is rubbing off on her three other kids.

Alton said that he tries to help his family and friends make healthier decisions, but they do not always listen. “I tell them all the time … but not a lot of people care, ’cause that means they have to give up Hot Cheetos,” said Alton, who has seen his friends buy “at least four bags” of the snack a day from the ice cream man. “We must destroy the ice cream man!” Alton told the committee, to laughter.

Rachel Seepie, another member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community credits some of her success against her Type 2 diabetes to educational programs funded by the grant program. After initially managing her condition with medication, she decided to turn instead to exercise and eating well. That has helped her lose weight, lower her blood sugar, decrease her average heart rate and complete two Iron Man triathlons, Seepie said.

Now, she is a senior fitness specialist with the Diabetes Service Program and teaches group exercise classes on the reservation. “My vision is that the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and our members will learn how to become healthier, and they will have long full lives without Type 2 diabetes,” Seepie told the committee.

You can make the camp experience possible for other American Indian youth, donate to the American Indian Youth Wellness Camp today.  Thank you!

One-third of the way to go! We can see wellness on the horizon

April 10, 2017

"Wellness encompasses a healthy body, a sound mind and a tranquil spirit." --Laurette Gagnon Beaulieu

We truly appreciate the generosity of those who have contributed.  Help us make the journey to wellness possible for American Indian youth; donate today!

We are halfway there! Will you help make a new ending?

April 04, 2017

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."

Maria Robinson, Writer

Desert Diamond Casinos has contributed $2,500! Be part of the expanding donor base

April 04, 2017

The Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise congratulates us on all of your achievements and wishes us the best of luck in continuing to serve the community through this donation. 

Thank you Desert Diamond Casinos!!


Tribal Youth to Offer Congressional Testimony on Diabetes Tomorrow

March 28, 2017

NIHB Chairman to Offer Congressional Testimony on Diabetes in Indian Country

On Wednesday, March 29, 2017, National Indian Health Board Chairman Vinton Hawley will testify before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs at a hearing entitled, "Native Youth: Promoting Diabetes Prevention Through Healthy Living." The high prevalence of Type 2 diabetes is one of the most pressing public health concerns for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Chairman Hawley, who is also Chairman of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, will talk about health disparities in Indian Country and successful models, such as the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI), that have helped Tribal communities fight diabetes. SDPI will expire this year unless Congress renews the program.

You can watch the hearing here, starting at 2:30 on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.

Other witnesses at the hearing include: 

  • Rear Admiral Chris Buchanan, Acting Director of the Indian Health Service
  • Jared Eagle, Program Director of the Fort Berthold Diabetes Program 
  • Alton Villegas, Tribal Youth from Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.  Alton is a participant of the American Indian Youth Wellness Camp.  Go Alton!

Thank you to lead donors!! You Can Help Us Reach the Next Milestone

March 27, 2017

Thanks to amazing support we received over the weekend our crowdfunding campaign went from 23% to 44% of our goal! Thanks so much to everyone who contributed and/or shared the link.

Please help us make the next milestone in our campaign! Our goal this week is to meet or beat the 50% mark.  You can do it by making your contribution today!

If you already gave, again, thank you! Please help us get the word out. Email the link. Tell your Facebook friends that you supported Camp and share the link to the crowdfunding website at Ask your friends to share the link too. The more people we reach, the faster we will meet our goal.

Your support allows continuance of traditional games.


After week #1: 23% from lead donors; will you follow their example?

March 24, 2017

We Had A Strong Start! We Still Need Your Help to Meet Our Goal!

A big thank you to everyone who helped to kick off the crowdfunding campaign for the American Indian Youth Wellness Camp!! We reached 23% of our goal within the first week! We still have a way to go. Please help us make our goal! If you haven’t made a contribution, why not give today?

If you already gave, please let your friends know. Are you on Facebook? Tell your friends that you supported Camp and share the link to the crowdfunding website at

Your support allows youth to participate in storytelling.

First Day and 11% Closer to our Goal

March 15, 2017

Thank you so much to the lead donors!  Our Crowdfunding Campaign has officially begun.  We appreciate the warm reception from those who viewed our video, e-mail and websites.  The support of those who have donated is awesome, $645 (11%) today!! Consider a donation and help make camp possible for American Indian youth.  Friend Us! Follow Us! Like Us! Tweet Us!

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The Essentials

Hygiene products - toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, lotion, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner - for youth to use at camp.


Healthy Snacks

Fruits and vegetables. Ingredients used in daily interactive healthy snack instruction with youth at camp.


Program Materials

Costs for the items needed for art and craft supplies, supplies for community garden, materials for education sessions, and physical assessment materials per child.


Staying Active

Provides each Camper with a t-shirt, water bottle, jump rope, Frisbee, and basketball. Campers take the sports equipment home as incentives to stay active.


Socks & Shoes

Appropriate footwear and socks, so each youth has a safe and comfortable experience during Camp's daily walks, exercises, and activities.


Camp Fee

Camp fee for one American Indian youth to attend camp at Mingus Mountain Campground in Prescott Valley, AZ. This includes room and healthy meals for one week! Thank you! Your name will be listed in the annual Camp report.


All Inclusive

All camp fees, essential hygiene products, shoes and socks, t-shirt, sports equipment and supplies for a youth for the entirety of camp. Thank you! Your name will be listed in the annual Camp report and you will get a card from the kids.

Our Crowdfunding Groups