SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) Minnesota Swarm in partnership with the Minnesota Army National Guard and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa are proud to present the fourth annual Lax-4-Life Camp, a five-day, four-night lacrosse camp for Native American boys and girls from July 22-26 on the Fond du Lac Reservation. Lax-4-Life is a nationally praised camp that has received recognition from the Obama Administration for its efforts in promoting healthy lifestyle choices for Native American youth.
Supporting partners of the camp include the University of Minnesota, Lax-4-Life co-founder and Minneapolis Police Officer Clint Letch, Lax-4-Life co-founder and Brookston Community Center Manager Bryan Bosto and the Minneapolis Police Department.
Together, the partners look at this unique venture as a way to offer a healthy alternative to problems that currently affect Native Communities such as gangs, drugs, suicide, violence, and diabetes. The partners aim to preserve the heritage of the Native’s ancestral game and help restore the tradition of lacrosse to tribal communities.
“Lax-4-Life reached record numbers last year and we’re looking forward to once again providing campers with an unforgettable experience,” said Andy Arlotta, Swarm co-owner and Lax-4-Life co-founder. “Many thanks go out to the Minnesota Army National Guard and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, two great partners, who are devoting their time again this summer to make sure this camp continues to grow in 2013. Lax-4-Life not only develops lacrosse skills, but it also gives campers the opportunity to build lasting friendships and learn valuable life lessons that they can then utilize in their tribal communities. This camp changes lives and in some cases saves lives and that’s what it is all about.”
Close to 50 boys and girls from eight tribal communities were present at the camp last year, which was the highest number of attendees since the camp’s inception in 2010. Tribal Communities that have attended the camp over the years include Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Prairie Island Indian Community, Oneida Nation, Little Earth of United Tribes, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Grand Portage Reservation, and Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.
The Minnesota Army National Guard, who is the camp’s presenting sponsor, will have a weeklong presence at Lax-4-Life for the second straight year. Members of the Minnesota Army National Guard will be on hand to help mentor campers and will be hosting classroom sessions on resiliency, risk reduction and suicide prevention (R3SP). In addition, the Minnesota Army National Guard has assembled a production team to stream the camp’s final scrimmage, the “Creator’s Game”, on July 25 in an effort to give family members who will not be in attendance the unique opportunity to watch their relatives showcase their newly developed lacrosse skills.
Major General Richard C. Nash, Adjutant General of the Minnesota Army National Guard is scheduled to visit the Fond du Lac Reservation and observe camp activities. Nash oversees the entire forces of the state's Army and Air National Guard units.
"Diversity is a source of strength and the Native American Lax-4-Life partnership helps empower today's youth with opportunity, tools and the support necessary for personal development and growth. This partnership develops culturally astute soldiers and civilians improving our organization and the communities in which we serve," said Lt. Col. Stephen Burggraff, Commander of Minnesota Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion.
Campers will receive lacrosse instruction from Swarm assistant coach Aime Caines, the Swarm’s all-time goal leader Ryan Benesch, Swarm forward Corbyn Tao and Meg Herlofsky, the head coach of Hamline’s Women’s Lacrosse Club.
This year’s camp will once again take place at the Fond du Lac Community Center and through a partnership with the University of Minnesota, all of the campers lodging fees at school’s Forestry Center have been provided for at no cost.