By Alexandria Crawford, Great Plains Representative

UNITY’s Executive Committee was fortunate enough to have been hosted by our Western Area Representative Lisa Chavez and her wonderful tribe in the Ak-Chin Indian Community for our Executive Committee Retreat. Throughout those four days, we were able to get our business done and experience a taste of what it’s like to live in their community, which is located south of Phoenix. We also experienced a little bit of their culture.

On the first day, we were welcomed by the Ak-Chin Chairman, the honorable Robert Miguel, who offered some words of encouragement. Then we began the work on our “#OurSistersVoice” campaign; so be on the lookout for more details about our stand against Violence Against Women. We dedicated the entire day to work on our campaign. When the work was completed, we were able to relax and play a few games of bowling at the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center.

The next day, we went out in the community to sight see. We went to the elderly center where we met a few of the Ak-Chin elders and played a couple of fun games of chair volleyball with them, which was a highlight of our trip. Then, we got to a little tour of their daycare center where we were able to interact with the young kids. We were able to read to them and have little conversations with them. We also toured the beautiful golf course they have and we visited their tribal headquarters. After we had lunch, the ladies were able to learn about and play the traditional women’s Oodham game called Toka. Then the guys were taught about the men’s traditional game. We alsowere given the chance to make our own shell necklaces, which is meaningful for the O’odham prople After we made necklaces we all played two rounds of laser tag at the Ultrastar Multi-tainment center.

On the last full day together, we had our business meeting where the area representatives and our two Co-Presidents gave their reports as well as our advisor Juanita Toledo. Then we also were able to work on our constitution and bylaws. Lastly, we ended the day with dinner and a little more bonding time. The next morning, everyone got up and packed and we all left to the airport to say our “see you laters” to each other.