||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
UW-Eau Claire Hosts Pre-Collegiate|
Program for American Indian Students
MAILED: July 29, 1999|
For the first time, UW-Eau Claire hosted a pre-collegiate program geared only toward American Indians.
"Typically we haven't had Indians participate in our other pre-collegiate programs," Marge Hebbring, American Indian student services coordinator, said of the July 19-23 program.
Hebbring, along with Patti Gardner, decided to start the camp. For the first year, they decided it would be easiest to focus just on one tribe.
"We found that for American Indian students, it was important to incorporate their language," said Hebbring, adding that each tribe has its own language so it's easiest to concentrate on one tribe.
In the years to come they hope to expand the camp to other tribes.
"We both have Indian backgrounds and we've done camps together before," Gardner said, noting that the women worked so well together that they decided to start their own camp to focus on recruiting American Indian students to UW-Eau Claire.
They chose the Ho-chunk tribe because the education director of the Ho-chunk nation, Scott Beard, graduated from UW-Eau Claire.
Beard helped recruit 18 seventh- and eighth-grade students to attend the first All-Ho-chunk Black River Falls Seventh- and Eighth-Grade Group, as the students chose to call it.
For two days in March, the 18 students came to campus for an introduction. Then for one day in May and for one day in June, Hebbring and Gardner went to Black River Falls to meet with the people there.
While on campus in July, the group's textbook was "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" by Sean Covey.
"We basically focused on the seven habits so they could go back to school and operate on a higher level," Hebbring said.
Gardner said the point was to show them what it's like to be on campus and to make them feel comfortable so they will want to attend UW-Eau Claire.
"The goal is to get the American Indian students on campus and retain them," said Gardner, adding that currently there are about 90 American Indian students enrolled at the university.
The camp was specifically intended for seventh- and eighth-graders to connect with them early.
"Some kids that age don't have plans for life yet," Hebbring said. "By getting them to this camp it helps them think, 'What am I going to do after I graduate from high school?'"
Tasha King, a student at the camp, said she's definitely going to come to UW-Eau Claire for college now that she's experienced it through camp.
With the pilot program considered a success, Hebbring and Gardner have asked for permission to do a camp like it next year and Beard has already approved the program. As early as next year, Hebbring and Gardner plan to offer the camp to other tribes as well.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: July 29, 1999