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Summer has flown by. It's hard to believe that Wiconi's 10th annual "Living Waters Family Camp" and the first annual Richard Twiss Memorial Powwow are now history. While our camp and powwow are over for another year, there's little doubt that it was a great success.
Casey Church, Wiconi staff member, took on the position of Family Camp director and in a short amount of time, he and the Wiconi staff and volunteers were able to plan and put on an incredible camp program with 200 registered campers.
This year's camp revolved around the theme of "contextual music and worship." Five contextual musicians including Cheryl Bear, Jonathan Maracle and Bill Pagaran of Broken Walls, Jan Michael Looking Wolf, and Jerry Chapman, took turns leading the main sessions. Each one followed with a full performance of their music, sharing their personal experience in creating contextual music, performance and ministry. In addition, Corey Greaves and his teen group from the Yakama reservation led us in a large talking circle as they do regularly back home on the rez.
Bill Pagaran, drummer for Broken Walls and President of Carry the Cure in Alaska, posted this on his Facebook page:
"At the Wiconi Pow-Wow and family camp I had the opportunity to share my story. Afterwards, I had several people (young and old) come up for prayer. One of my highlights was when these precious young girls came up and told me how much it meant to them. We prayed, cried...then I gave them the CTC/BW [Carry the Cure/Broken Walls] drumstick pen that has the quote, 'Your life was created for rhythm. Don't let the rhythm stop!'"
The camp activities continued as in previous years with family free time which included tubing down the creek, craft time with special presenters, and many opportunities to renew friendships and meet new people, as well as a fun-filled evening of "Native America's Got Talent."
Saturday's powwow was very special with local community members as our head man and woman dancers, other powwow personnel along with drum groups and honor guard making our goal to create relationships among the community a success. This year's camp featured a "Wiping of Tears" ceremony for the Twiss family and officially renaming our Saturday powwow as the Richard Twiss Memorial & Living Waters Powwow. It was special this year in that Richard's grandson Ezra Twiss, son of Ian and Toni Twiss, came "into the circle"--Ezra's first dance ceremony. As well, Ian led in the opening procession carrying the Eagle Staff. What a memorable way for all present to honor Richard's life and also to have his grandson begin his life with the Wiconi family.
Once again we were able to offer a free dinner as our Micronesian friends provided their traditionally prepared pork with all the fixings. It was over the top; a menu to applaud!
A big "Thank You" goes to all our Wiconi supporters and donors who came through for us. Even without the cushion of grant funds we've received in previous years, God was still honored by the generous giving of our donors. You gave above and beyond and with your help 58 campers (families and teens) were given scholarships allowing them to attend camp.
Let me tell you about one of those who came for the first time. Audrey (not her real name) had an interest in Native culture. Her friends knew of this interest and when an Indian man left his possessions with them, they passed a box of his stuff on to Audrey. In it she found a copy of Richard Twiss' book One Church Many Tribes. After reading it, she commented about the book on someone's Facebook page. Another couple saw her comments and 'Liked' them. Later, when Audrey found out about Family Camp she posted that she would really like to attend. The couple on Facebook contacted her and told her they "just happened to be going to the camp and they had room for her to go along." So she came and had a fantastic time!
Thanks to all who gave so that Audrey and dozens of others could be part of Family Camp this year.
You are awesome!
Casey Church, Director
Wiconi Living Waters Family Camp & Powwow
Next year's camp is scheduled for July 23-26, 2015 at Aldersgate Conference Center, Turner, Oregon. Check out Wiconi's website next spring for details about registering