Summer Leadership Program:
A Safe Haven

Two years ago, Holbrook Indian School stepped out in faith to begin the Summer Leadership Program (SLP). The purpose of this program was to continue to provide a safe haven, which many of our students depend on, through the summer months. Rather than regressing, or risking new traumas, we hoped to provide them a place where they could continue to grow and learn.

The best part about the program according to deans Ben Ingersoll and Alicia McGuire, is the bonding that happens between students and staff. Close relationships develop due to much time spent together in a small group setting. They do everything together, including making all their meals, going on outings, participating in activities and worships. A "family" feel is what gives the summer program a special tone. Mealtime is a favorite. Students have fun learning to cook their meals and enjoy having time to talk and learn from each other.

The summer program is set up for the students to have a job and pay part of their tuition by working on campus. There is a surplus of work opportunities, and all involve high-standing work ethic. This is an excellent teaching opportunity for our staff to demonstrate the expectations of being a strong and reliable worker. Many of our students have not learned these skills prior, which is a challenge. By the end of the summer, students have learned work ethic, and the rewards of a job well done. 

Our students love the yearly trek to the Arizona camp meeting. They spend the entire week there. For Shawnewa, one of our SLP participants, these meetings are her favorite part of the summer program.  Shawnewa is the only Christian in her family and is actively pursuing opportunities to grow in her walk. These meetings allow her to worship and learn with others who are looking for God—just like she is. Our students have shown much interest in spiritual knowledge, and camp meeting provides an excellent opportunity for spiritual growth and to meet peers who are searching as well.

It is amazing how God molds this program each year so that we can be His hands and feet to our students and community. This past summer, our students led a VBS program on the Navajo Reservation. Classes on campus this summer will expand, and we are developing student leaders either through participation in campus offices, work or by their influence on campus culture.  

This summer our counseling department will be available to our SLP students. The majority of our students carry traumatic memories and struggle with depression as a result. Providing counseling opens a wide door for all of our students to qualify for the program and benefit from the continued mental health support.

"Participating in the (summer) program was the best choice I made for my summer break," said Adrienna, a student at HIS. As summer approaches this year, our students are already excited for the plans being made.  We started with just eight students our first summer and are hoping, in this third summer, to take 30 students!


Summer Program Insiders Scoop

Class Opportunities:

  • Life Skills: budgeting, menu planning, healthy relationships, communication skills, personal prayer, and devotions 

  • Spanish

  • Math 

  • Photography

  • Horsemanship

  • Survival Skills

  • Paid Work Opportunities:

  • Development

  • Maintenance 

  • Front Office 

  • Grounds 

  • Barn 

  • Farm

Week Trips: 

  • Arizona Camp Meeting

  • Tween Camp

  • Extra Activities: 

  • Bonfires 

  • Town trips 

  • Park 

  • Bike rides

  • Swimming 

  • Camping 

  • Night hikes 

  • Volleyball

  • Basketball game

  • Holbrook town events