Summer travels for EBCI students

by Oct 19, 2022COMMUNITY sgadugi0 comments

The Youth Cultural exchange program participants and chaperones are in front of a 400-year-old tree in the near the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. Shown, left to right, front row – Tonya Carroll, Bo Kinsland, Alex Sneed, Lucian Davis, Abigail Taylor, and Tara McCoy; second row – Chris Reed, Emma Taylor, Eva Bottchenbaugh, Kaelin Jones, Jake Stephens, Levi West; third row – Ryleigh Long and Lance Adams; and back row – Harper Martin. (Photos courtesy of Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute)

The Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute’s Cherokee Youth Council and Youth Cultural Exchange programs had a busy summer as they traveled to St. Louis Missouri and Costa Rica.

Cherokee Youth Council members Amaya Hicks, Emma Taylor, Kaelin Jones, Kale Walkingstick, Lindley Wyatt, Marlee Hicks, Praire Toineeta, and Ross Clapsaddle traveled to St. Louis, Mo. to visit the Cahokia Mounds to learn and draw their own conclusions about the ancient city. Around 1,000 years ago, Cahokia had 15,000 to 20,000 people all from various tribes that converged there for some unknown reason. For comparison that population was more than London and Paris at that time. They also visited the City Museum and got an aerial view of the city from atop the St. Louis Arch.

The Youth Cultural Exchange Program traveled in the opposite direction to Costa Rica. Abigail Taylor, Alex Sneed, Bo Kinsland, Emma Taylor, Eva Bottchenbaugh, Harper Martin, Kaelin Jones, Lance Adams, Lucian Davis, and Ryleigh Long spent 11 days immersing themselves in Costa Rican culture while sharing their knowledge of Cherokee culture with the locals there.

Kaelin Jones said, “I liked being out in the wilderness and being able to be immersed in a different culture. Back home I don’t really do a lot of outdoorsy stuff, so it pushed me out of my comfort zone in a good way.”

CYC members at the St. Louis Arch, left to right, Lindley Wyatt, Emma Taylor, Marlee Hicks, Praire Toineeta, Amaya Hicks, Kaelin Jones, Ross Clapsaddle, and Kale Walkingstick.

Harper Martin shared, “My time in Sarapiqui was probably my favorite part of the trip. One night Lucian (Davis) and Alex (Sneed) spent hours teaching Bo (Kinsland) and me about the Cherokee culture. Although I loved rafting, tasting chocolate, salsa dancing and eating pineapple, my favorite part of Sarapiqui was learning more about where I am from.”

Abigail Taylor talked about how inviting all the locals were. “Everyone was so nice and welcoming and made us feel at home. The community aspect reminded me of our core values mainly group harmony. They took us into their home and were so kind, something that Cherokees would do.”

The Cherokee Youth Council and Youth Cultural Exchange programs are under The Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute at the Cherokee Boys Club and are sponsored by The Cherokee Preservation Foundation.

  • Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute release

CYC members enjoying the caves at the City Museum, left to right, Kaelin Jones, Kale Walkingstick, Ross Clapsaddle, and Emma Taylor.