TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Native American teenagers living in Florida have an opportunity to learn while enjoying outstanding recreational, cultural and social activities during a free summer camp in Tallahassee next month. American Indians, Alaskan Natives and Native Hawaiians are all considered to be Native Americans and eligible for the program.

The Florida Indian Youth Program is an intensive, away-from-home educational experience provided for up to 60 Native American youths each year by the Florida Governor’s Council on Indian Affairs, Inc. (FGCIA), a Florida non-profit corporation.

This year’s 34thannual program, scheduled for July 12-26, will focus on STEM education – that is, science, technology, engineering and math – with a special emphasis on robotics. Participants also will attend hands-on, highly interactive classes on Tribal government, computer training, writing skills, art and more.
But, the program isn’t just about learning; it’s also about experiencing life, having summer fun and building social skills.

“Our students will enjoy enriching and stimulating classes during the day,” said FGCIA Employment and Training Director Bob Kellam. “But, evenings and on the weekends, it’s all about fun and adventure.”  That will include zip-lining at the Tallahassee Museum, canoeing on the lake at the Florida State University Reservation and exploring Blue Springs in nearby Jackson County, as well as skating, bowling, swimming, going to the movies and playing Bingo.

The Florida Indian Youth Program is open to  Native American teens aged 14-19, including members of the Seminole, Miccosukee and Creek tribes, as well as children and grandchildren who are descendants of Tribal citizens – even if the young people themselves are not members of a tribe.

In addition, teens who are high school seniors or graduates are eligible for the FGCIA Leadership Academy, which takes place at the same time as the Youth Program and helps prepare participants for college, enhances writing skills, provides computer training and gives insight to college life with visits to FSU, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee Community College and Lively Technology Center, one of the top vocational training centers in the state.

“The idea behind the Leadership Academy is to address any academic deficiencies, get kids ready for college and, most importantly, get them interested in going to college, other  postsecondary education options or the military.” said Kellam.

All costs for the Florida Indian Youth Program and the Leadership Academy, including transportation, are paid for by FGCIA. Classes are held in the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center. Students are housed at the Southgate residence hall adjacent to FSU’s campus.

There also are sponsorship and underwriting opportunities available for corporations and foundations with an interest in supporting educational programs for Native American youth.

The deadline to apply has been extended to Friday, June 20.  For more information on participating in the program – as well as sponsoring or underwriting – call 1-800-322-9186, email info@fgcia.com or download an application at www.fgcia.com.