With the help of a sponsorship from the Soboba Foundation, community members got to enjoy an End of Summer Bash at the Sports Complex on August 6. Games with prizes, food and snacks, music, raffle drawings for back-to-school items and toys plus lots of time for swimming attracted about 130 guests of all ages, starting at 5 p.m.
Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians tribal members seemed to enjoy having one last night of fun with family and friends before the new school year started on Aug. 8 for San Jacinto Unified and Aug. 12 for Hemet Unified schools. About half of the guests stayed for the family-friendly movie that was shown poolside after dark.
Jennifer Garcia is coordinator for Soboba’s Tribal Youth Council and supervised the eight members that operated the pool area’s concession stand throughout the event as a fundraiser for next summer’s National UNITY (United National Indian Tribal Youth) conference attendance in Washington D.C.
“They all make me proud and I love seeing them giving back to the community,” Garcia said. “I’ve told them in the past that if community members see them out there helping and giving back, they will support the youths’ programs and events.”
Some youth council members had attended this summer’s UNITY conference in Orlando, Florida during the first week of July. The event’s theme was “You Belong: Home is Here” and included workshops, presentations, entertainment and keynote speakers that focused on social, spiritual, physical and mental development.
Vice Chairman Jeremiah Ramos, 15, attended the UNITY conference for the first time and enjoyed travelling and meeting other young Native Americans. Iyana Briones, 14, said she liked meeting new people and learning new things. Secretary Shyla Marcus, 16, found it interesting to hear how other youth councils operate.
“A group from Chicago that was named Youth Council of the Year talked about what they did for their community; they started a community garden,” she said.
The council members offered free cotton candy to kids at the pool and sold snow cones and nachos, along with packaged snacks, candy and drinks.
Garcia is also the Parks and Recreation Department’s Activities Director and helped organize the Bash with help from other department employees. They all worked together assisting with games and various activities, while the department provided free hot dogs and bottled water to all guests.
Ricardo Macias and Artie Lopez gathered young people at one of the nearby ball fields to compete in balloon tossing games and wheelbarrow and relay races. There were prizes for all the top winners. Steve Lopez coordinated a horseshoe tournament consisting of six teams, with a cash prize to the top finishing team. Jacqueline Gamez and Julissa Ledesma assisted with the check-in process and managed a cake walk activity with lots of sweets for winners to take home.