Coach Aime Caines
Cloquet, Minn. – The 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 fifth annual Lax-4-Life Camp, a weeklong lacrosse camp for Native American boys and girls that is taking place this week 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.
Over 40 boys and girls from all across Minnesota and Wisconsin are in attendance at this year’s camp, which started on Monday and will conclude on Thursday evening with its annual “Game for The Creator” and a banquet reception for campers and family members. Lax-4-Life campers are receiving lacrosse instruction from Swarm team captain Andrew Suitor, assistant coach Aime Caines, Swarm equipment manager and former University of Minnesota Men’s Club defenseman Ross Chicantek, and Meg Herlofsky, the head coach of Hamline’s Women’s Lacrosse Club.
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, Minneapolis Police Department, Under Armour Lacrosse and ASPIRE Beverages.
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.
“We helped create this camp five years ago with the belief that we could change lives in the Native Community, and this camp has done just that,” said Andy Arlotta, Swarm co-owner and Lax-4-Life co-founder. “Lax-4-Life is much more than just a lacrosse camp, it’s an opportunity for these kids to find new inspirations in life, and create lasting friendships. We’re fortunate to have two great presenting partners in the Minnesota Army National Guard and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, who also share this same belief. Without their support, this camp would not be possible and we are very grateful for everything they do.”
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, White Earth Nation, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and Ho-Chunk Nation.
The Minnesota Army National Guard, who is the camp’s presenting partner for the third consecutive year, has several members on hand to help mentor the youth, as well as host fitness activites, which includes a rock climbing wall and an obstacle course, and lead classroom sessions on career opportunities and healthy lifestyle choices.
"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.
This year’s camp is once again taking 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.
2014 Lax-4-Life Camp Location: Fond du Lac Community Center, 1720 Big Lake Road, Cloquet, MN 55270