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SCIT Afterschool Program Enrolls 40 Students

By Joe Sowmick, Contributing Writer


Two delays caused by a flu virus outbreak and a winter school closing did not deter the Parks & Recreation department on enrolling 40 students for the SCIT Afterschool Program.

Tribal Council received a proposed program overview during a Tribal Administrative meeting and Tribal Chief Dennis Kequom, Sr. and his fellow Council members were at a consensus that the newly created Parks & Recreation program is on the right path.

“Tribal Council is pleased with the structure of the new SCIT Afterschool Program.  Parents can feel secure in knowing that their children will be more accounted for,” Chief Kequom said.  “I applaud the Parks & Recreation staff for their diligent efforts in creating and implementing this new program.” 

Tribal Council member Courtney Wemigwans has her youth enrolled in the program and is equally appreciative.
“I am very pleased with the after school program that is being held here at the Eagles Nest gym. Four of my children attend the program and when I go to pick them up, they want to stay longer. My two daughters’ have recently signed up for the Girls’ basketball team and for the Karate lessons that are held after the program lets out for the day,” Wemigwans said.  “I also am more comfortable with my children attending the program with the security of the building. I have to come in and sign them out and I know that they are not free to run in and out of the building and also know all the adults that work with the children. The after school program staff is excellent with children and very informative on what’s happening at the Gym. I think the program is off to a really good start.”

Tribal Public Relations Director Frank Cloutier was equally impressed with the support the SCIT Afterschool Program has received from the Tribal membership and his fellow Tribal employees.

“Tribal departments are always encouraged by Tribal Council and administration to continue to explore avenues that relate to providing new, cost-effective services,” Cloutier informs.  “The SCIT Afterschool Program has its roots in that spirit of innovation and in these economic times, I know parents and students alike will benefit from this structured environment.”

Cloutier further cited the wealth of resources the Tribe has with other departments and with its business interests.
“We can offer some unique educational opportunities to our Tribal youth, like when the Information Technology department assisted our youth in producing public service announcements,” Cloutier explains.  From a business interest, students can take field trips within the Tribe and learn about the multi-faceted aspects and influence our Tribe is involved in.

SCIT Parks & Recreation Director Ronnie Ekdahl arranged the afterschool program’s first field trip where students can learn about the sport of pool from the Women’s Professional Billiards Association (WPBA) event taking place at Soaring Eagle Jan. 26 - 29.

“The Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort (SECR) Marketing department was gracious and supportive of allowing our students to see first hand how a nationally televised ESPN event is produced and how these professional athletes prepare for world-class competition,” Ekdahl stated.  “This first venture into field trips for the afterschool program will serve as a springboard for other opportunities for Tribal departments and business to become involved.”

Raul Venegas, Jr., SECR Director of Marketing & Entertainment, leaped at the opportunity to lend support for the fledgling program.

“Our department has welcomed the connection with Tribal departments and the special exposure we can lend to national celebrities and athletes,” Venegas said.  “The WPBA makes quite an effort when it comes to these kinds of educational endeavors and we can never tell if this may lead to a Tribal student who may receive a once in a lifetime career opportunity from it.”

SCIT Parks & Recreation Youth Facilities Coordinator Kevin Ricketts is not surprised that many Tribal families are welcoming the 3:00 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday SCIT Afterschool Program.

“I believe parents want the security that their child has safe activities in a structured environment and we want the community to know they can expect that kind of facility right here at the Eagles Nest,” Coach Ricketts informs.  “The best kind of program is the one that promotes a win-win philosophy … with this program, the youth, parents and the community as a whole are the winners.”

Youth Facilities Assistant Rosanna Romero has been working at the Parks & Recreation department for four months now and has seen a lot of changes.

“The After School Program is a good change for our community.  The program has been successful ever since it started because the staff has better supervision and control of the youth in the facility.  For years, even back in my youth days kids would come and go as they pleased and were left behind,” Romero replied.  “This program was an awesome change for the community because kids aren’t left behind anymore; they have a place that supports them.  The program also encourages youth to do their homework, socialize with other youth, go on field trips, become active in sports, do crafts and eat a healthy snack.”

For more information on the SCIT Afterschool Program, please contact the Parks office at (989) 775-4128 or access the Tribal Parks website at www.sagchip.org.