Place Category: Specialized Court Projects
- ISLETA PUEBLO CAMP TRIUMPH SUMMER YOUTH PREVENTION PROGRAM
- PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
- PLANNING & IMPLEMENTATION
- PROGRAM OUTCOMES
Summary: Camp Triumph is a week-long camp for children ages 10 – 16 who have been, or may be exposed to gangs, family trauma, or illegal drugs. It is a mentor-style camp run by the Isleta Police Departmentthat encourages community building between campers and local law enforcement. Its goal is to provide kidsthe skills they need to make the right choices, while also building their self-esteem and sense of belonging. It offers both cultural education and physical activity to get kids moving and learning in a healthy and safe way.
Program Running Length:
2014 – present
Detective Katherine Lucero
Phone: (505) 869-9728
Isleta Police Department
PO Box 699
Isleta, NM 87022
Isleta Pueblo is located 20 miles south of Albuquerque
The Isleta Pueblo is nestled along the Rio Grande River with neighboring communities to the south, Bosque Farms and Los Lunas. The traditional homes within the community are built out of adobe bricks. Agriculture is a large part of the community. Farms produce and harvest green chile as well as alfalfa/hay for cattle.
There are currently 4,886 enrolled Isleta tribal members
The primary issue that prompted the creation of Camp Triumph was an increase in gang activity and graffiti within the community. Additionally, the community and the police noticed a deterioration in their relationship with one another. This deterioration created a cultural barrier between the police and the community.The camp servesat-risk children and youth who have been exposed to gang activity or illegal drugs.Camp Triumph is based off the Albuquerque Police Department’s GREAT project. It was introduced to the Pueblo through the Isleta Police Department as a way to address gang related issues. Isleta Police Department worked closely with Isleta Truancy, Isleta Social Services, and Isleta Behavioral Services to oversee the program. Since then, the model program has evolved into a full camp, now known as Camp Triumph.Camp Triumph builds a bridge between law enforcement and children in the tribal community. Their mission is to reach out to at-risk youth who think drugs and gangs are a positive way in life. The goal is to teach youth values, self-respect, confidence building, team building skills, and a sense of belonging. They want to give kids the strength to say“NO” to drugs, violence, and gangs.The camp is designed with two main parts:
- Services and Practices:
Each day of Camp is built around a group activity, awareness, and discipline. At the beginning, each group learns to march and listen to commands. This builds their confidence and they learn to march as a group. Classroom instruction is between breakout sessions. They learn about the effects of drugs, gang involvement, peer pressure, and bullying.
- Step-by-Step Case Process:
Four to five mentors are assigned to a Camp group. It is the mentors’ responsibilityto get a child to participate. If no participation is shown, then the mentor focuseson and encourages the child. This individual attention builds a bond between the mentor and the camper. Some children may not want to be there, but a mentor can open conversation and show the child they are important. By the end of the Camp, the child will have engaged in some activity.
The Camp is also working to incorporate more cultural specific practices. Members of the tribal Culture Committee come to camp and teach the kids about cultural values and how they can practice them in their own lives.The primary Program Coordinator is Detective Kathleen Lucero. She receives additional support from the Police Department’s committee members, Isleta Behavioral Health, and the Isleta Recreation Center.
- Eligibility Criteria: The Camp is open to community children ages 10 – 16
- Referral Process: Camp Triumphreceives referrals from the various Isleta service departments. Additionally, the Camp is openly advertised to the community.
- Supervision and Compliance:basic rules that youth need to follow: show up at designated time; have uniform (camp shirt)and gear (backpack, water bottle, team color bracelet) each day; be responsible for belongings; be prepared to participate in daily activities; show respect; encourage teammates; use good sportsmanship; foul language or verbal abuse will not be tolerated; any form of physical fighting will not be tolerated; always stay with your team and team leader; always tell a team leader when you are going to the bathroom-use buddy system; clean up area you were working in (buses, lunch area); no bullying; no francization; most important: HAVE FUN
- Termination Criteria: Though the Camp does not like to send campers home early, campers will be asked to leave if they do not follow camp rules or if they are causing/taking part in fights or fraternization.
The program required additional funding for the first few years. It requested sponsorship from local businesses and the Pueblo of Isleta Departments, all of whom were very receptive. Additionally, it received support from the Isleta Governor’s office and operations funding from Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN).The majority of the planning was done by the Planning Committee who met with the U.S. DOJ and other agencies. Additionally, support for the cultural education portion of the Camp is provided bythe tribal Cultural CommitteeCamp Triumph works closely with the Isleta Service Departments (Police, Behavioral Health, Truancy) and the tribal Cultural Committee. In the past, they partnered with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Departments (BCSO), New Mexico State Police, US Marshalls Service, and the New Mexico National Guard.Community, tribal, and governmental support has been a huge asset in the success of Camp Triumph. Dedicated law enforcement officers and support from state and federal departments throughout the planning stage helped to build a strong foundation. In addition, financial support from the Pueblo and local businesses hasbeen a key asset in the camp’s success.One of the largest challenges the Camp faces is finding a space to accommodate its growing participant numbers. Additionally, as the excitement about the Camp’s positive impacts are recognized, community members are urging the organizers to host a longer camp session. The small number of Isleta officers is not enough to accommodate the growing demand; thus, the Pueblo has had reach out the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department for additional support. Therefore, the Camp is continually searching for additional funds to support its staff. Due to a change in funding sources, the camp was put on hold in 2018 but will resume in 2019 as a 100%- Isleta Police Department run program.Camp Triumphhas learned that the best way to help children make good decisions is to give them the tools to do so. Through a mentor-based program, the Camp has helped youth stay away from gang activity andhas created a bridge between law enforcement and the community. Additionally, the Camp has come to realize that funding needs to be a main focus. It is vital to seek sponsorships, gain support, and develop a planning committee who overseesfundraising.The camp continues to grow every year. In year 1 there were 50campers. Year 2 saw an increase to 59 and year 3 reached a total of 70 youth.
- Age range: 10 – 16yearsoldwithmostbetween10 – 13
- Several 8 and 9 year oldswho have siblings between 10 – 16
- 50% boys and 50% girls
- 20% participants are referred to program by Isleta Services
The impact of Camp Triumph can be seen in the community. Law enforcement officers note that Isleta campers are more open and greet them outside the Pueblo.
Families routinely voice their support for the Camp and talk about how much their child enjoyed the program. The Campis happy to say that they now have ‘returning’ participants!The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. This is evidenced by the fact that the Camp has grown from 50 kids to over 70 in three years.
- A repel tower or rock wall is known to be an excellent activity to build self-confidence. The challenge is to conquer the tower or wall. The encouragement from participants’ peers with high-fives and pats on the back was an amazing feeling felt by most, if not all,the participants. The participants built trust within themselves, leaning over the wall to stabilize themselves…trusting the equipment. At the end of the repelling or climbing, there was a sense of relief and huge smiles with some saying, “I did it!”
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