In December at the P.L.A.C.E., the “Get Native” Program involved our youth participating in the talking circle, a traditional Potawatomi practice that helps each participant learn how best to listen and respect the thoughts of others. Each youth has a chance to speak if they want to.

Participants also learn traditional Potawatomi stories and teachings, including an emphasis on speaking and reading the Potawatomi language. In cultural activities, they will also have more time to practice some traditional and newer Native American dancing and play the increasingly popular sport of stick ball. It’s an understatement to say, but the stick ball program, which is led by our cultural activities specialists Michael Logan and Coby Lehman, has been a success with the youth. The ones who have played it before are even making progress in teaching those who are new to the sport on how to survive on the field.

In other “Get Native” news, the Tribal youth will learn about the northwestern and the mid-Atlantic tribes, while the House of Hope’s Amanda Chapman will conduct a four week program focusing on conflict resolution.

While we’re also shaping minds, in order to keep healthy bodies, our “Get Fit” Program and its 30-day fitness challenge will continue to aid program participants increase their fitness. That’ll complement our Whacky Olympics competition, where the youth participate in off-the-wall competitions like nontraditional spoons and ping pong ball races.

Before we know it though, the Christmas Break Camp will be going. Judging off of past years, it’ll be another big success. We had trips to the Warren Movie Theatre, Brickopolis, Dave and Buster’s, the Jenks Aquarium and Elevation Trampoline Park. We’ll finish up the month with a Christmas Party for the youth, where I hear there will be a visit from Santa and the elves. (Yours truly might be gone during Santa’s visit, but shall return when Santa hits the road. You might even see a few elves that resemble some of our regular program participants too.) And to keep everyone in the holiday spirit, we will be treating/educating the Tribal youth on some soulful Christmas music from The Temptations, Aretha Franklin and Al Green.

If you would like to learn more about FireLodge Tribal Youth Program or the P.L.A.C.E., please contact me at