"Survivor Island Family Fun Day" Brings Community Together

By Joe Sowmick, Contributing Writer

On Wednesday, Jan. 18, the Eagles Nest Tribal Gym went under a transformation for the after school kickoff program. The “Survivor Island Family Fun Day” was a community event sponsored by SCIT Parks & Recreation, Nimkee Public Health, Tribal Police, Tribal Fire, SCIT Risk Management, Tribal Library and the Youth Task Force.

The registration for the “Survivor Island” events began at 1 p.m. with the parents and the community receiving a description on how the survivor game is played. Many door prizes including emergency kits for the adults and board games for the children were handed out to those who attended the family fun day. There was also a special family door prize of a premium suite courtesy of CEO Andy Asselin and Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort.

SCIT Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, Helen Williams led the effort of the multi-departmental community education event.

The entire family will enjoy the fun filled learning experience that “Survivor Island” will provide and the goal of the event is to bring the entire family together to learn how important each of us is during a disaster or emergency event,” Williams said. “Like we learn from the TV series, it takes an entire Tribe to survive any emergency and that starts with a single family and that effort grows to include all family members and community members.

The festivities kicked off with important safety and emergency information focused more for the adults and at 3 p.m. the youth events began with the formation of family clan groups.

In the “Survivor Island” style, family clans were directed to move through different emergency and safety stations. Each clan to complete a station received their survivor card stamped to enter and win some great family prizes.

In the event of a catastrophic emergency; as a family, community and First Nation we will be able to learn to survive together,” said David Perez, Tribal Safety Manager. “The safety station will deal with everyday safety on the job and home. Common sense, common skills and knowledge is all it takes. We all have life experience that has brought us safely to this point in life. So, let’s not meet by accident, stop by the safety station at Survivor Island Family Fun Day.”

SCIT Tribal Police Dispatch Officer, Renay Ehren had her Emergency 9-1-1 education booth so families can learn what 9-1-1 is, how it works, what it can do, and what it can’t do. 

Nimkee Public Health Nurse Anna Hon had an education station sponsored by the March of Dimes along with the Healthy Start program.

I had many mothers that received information on how to maintain healthy pregnancies in a disaster or emergency situations,” Nurse Hon said. “I also handed out information on what to feed an infant in case of a disaster or emergency.”

Many stations will be having separate prizes at their stations, and the March of Dimes/Healthy Start program gave away $10 gas cards at their area.

The SCIT Tribal Fire department station featured a Survivor Island challenge that provided up close lessons on how to use a fire extinguisher and how to stay safe during a fire emergency.

Nimkee Public Health Educator Robyn Grinzinger hosted a survivor station where those who visited her station learned the interactive skill of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and a first aid demonstration.
“We encouraged people to come and learn about CPR and basic first aid,” Grinzinger said. “This station will inform families on what to do if you have a choking victim, a bloody nose or an open wound.”

Jayme Green and Toni Smith, both from Nimkee Fitness operated a physical challenge station where one person would have to hula hoop, balance themselves on a board and lift dumbbell weights in a proper way.
Nimkee Public Health Nurse Sue Sowmick offered an education station that showed what meals ready to eat (MRE) were and served up hot MRE examples for those willing to want to try.
LeeAnn Ruffino gave great advice at her station on how to survive in the great outdoors and what (and what not) to eat in the wild.
Helen Williams assisted the clans in a relay where students and family members had to find the items that were needed in your emergency bag. Ojibwe Language Director Rhonda Hopkins helped with translating these words into the Anishinabe language.

Just to make sure nobody left “Survivor Island Family Fun Day” hungry, rez chefs Cindy Quigno and Susan Bettistea dished up chili, corn bread, veggies and other goodies for the “survivors.”

Parks & Recreation Youth Facilities Assistants Rosanna Romero and Betsey Alonzo encouraged creativity at their survival station where family members were able to make their own individual team clan T-shirts.
After the door prizes were drawn, William thanked all the sponsors, volunteers and participants who made “Survival Island Family Fun Day” helpful, successful and a whole lot of fun!

(Photos courtesy of Tribal Observer photojournalist Carrie Garcia)