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June 10, 2005

Native Vision Camp Empowers Youth to Succeed

On June 16-18, nearly 800 native youth from 25 American Indian tribes will converge on Bernalillo, N.M., for the opportunity to learn sports and life skills from more than 50 professional and collegiate athletes from the NFL, NBA, Major League Soccer, volleyball and track, as part of the 9th Annual Native Vision Sports and Life Skills Camp. The camp will be held on the lands of the 10 Southern Pueblo Tribes, about 30 minutes north of Albuquerque, N.M.

Native Vision is a fast-growing national program founded in 1997 at the President’s Summit for America’s Youth, and administered by the Center for American Indian Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). The highlight of the program is an annual summer camp attended by more than 800 native youth who gather at a reservation camp site.

Johns Hopkins has a 25-year history of working with tribes to overcome the major health disparities of Native American children and families. The mission of the NFLPA is to build better communities through the power of sports by applying strategic resources, with emphases on youth development, social welfare, education and healthy lifestyles. The program is currently under review as a “best practice” for at-risk children by a special White House committee called Making a Difference for America’s Youth.

At this year’s Native Vision camp, the professional athletes will conduct sports clinics interspersed with break-out sessions promoting education, healthy lifestyles, self-esteem, discipline, team work and cultural pride. Johns Hopkins staff members will also coordinate workshops promoting youth development through art and media projects. Activities for parents and chaperones will feature a health fair, parenting workshops, exhibitions of native dance and music, community feasts and cultural celebrations shared with campers and local volunteers from the host tribe. An all-star basketball game will match the youth athletes against professionals from all five sports for a gymnasium event that will attract approximately 2,000 tribal community members.

Year-round Native Vision activities includes youth media programs to promote healthy lifestyles and cultural knowledge; after-school programs promote fitness and diabetes prevention; and outreach with at-risk families to promote parenting skills and ensure a healthy start for pre-school children.

All food, activities and workshops at the Native Vision camp are free of charge and are supported by funds raised by Johns Hopkins and the NFLPA. National advocates for this program have included retired U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald L. Evans; retired U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell; actor Robert Redford; and talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

Site for 9th Annual Native Vision Camp: Bernalillo, N.M.– lands of the 10 Southern Pueblo Tribes

For more information about the Native Vision camp, please contact Kristen Speakman at 505- 400-6174 or Allison Barlow at 410-614-2072 or 410-627-4872.

Participating Athletes

Public Affairs media contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons or Kenna Lowe at 410-955-6878 or paffairs@jhsph.edu.