“I firmly believe we as people—and I mean all people of all beautiful races—must stand together in each of our individual personal pursuits of a better quality of life. We must not only dream of positive change but we must take action— with every step we take, every challenge we meet, every event we promote, every person that we involve—every individual, group, and community. The key to a healthier future is to keep succeeding in opening one door at a time and to never to give up, because this is a never ending process.”
—Terry Mills, Oglala Lakota, 6 time PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Week participant
From Tamatane I’atala, Oglala Lakota, Pine Ridge, South Dakota, 2009 PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Week Participant: “Always strive to be a better person than you were yesterday.”
A few years ago I began developing a different type of attitude—a philosophy that doesn’t simply rely on the traditional thought that there always has to be a winner or a loser. I began to redefine my long established interpretation of success. “Always strive to be a better person than you were yesterday.” It was through this simple motto that life changed for me, and I began to use it with my varsity football players. I didn’t want our success measured by the final score of a game but instead by the impact that we left within our community. I wanted these young men to find a perspective that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary, to honor the best in themselves, to find–not the light that shines on us– but the light that shines within us, to have their attention on what’s right with the world rather then bathe in what’s wrong with it. I began stressing the importance of pushing yourself –not to be the best IN the world but to be the best FOR the world. To take the pride we have as Lakota people and pay it forward. To consciously think “what choice can I make today that I didn’t make yesterday that will help me improve on a personal level?” Honoring what is good in my community gave me the motivation to change what is wrong in my community.
It is for this experience I am truly grateful for PATHSTAR. The goal and mission of “living healthy lives of meaning and purpose, reclaiming the best of indigenous practices, augmenting these with the cultivation of wholesome ‘new traditions’ and serving as a catalyst for inspiring self-reliance and optimism among families and communities” gave me a sense of empowerment. The investment they made in me and the challenge to invest in myself was something I wanted to share with my community.
2016 PATHSTAR ALCATRAZ SWIM PROGRAM: OCTOBER 2-10, 2016
PATHSTAR is looking for 4 teams of two or more participants who are inspired by PATHSTAR’s mission and want to be agents for change in their community. This is a minimum one year commitment starting from the time of the acceptance of your team in June 2016 through the Alcatraz Swim Week October 2-10, 2016 and with follow-up back home through June of 2016. Your team will partner with PATHSTAR in local and national fundraising, community education, preparation for and participation in the Alcatraz Swim Week, including swimming from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco, sharing your experiences and learning with your family and community through implementing change in your life, and speaking to community groups and conferences.
PATHSTAR is looking for participants with the drive, courage, and self determination to change their lives and influence the lives of those around them. The greatest underlying principal is community building and team work. That is why PATHSTAR’s program requires teams of two or more people from a given community to participate in the program together.
We request that team mates complete the application together and encourage support from family, friends and local community groups, churches, agencies, or employers. PATHSTAR encourages letters of recommendation that describe the values, character, commitment to follow through, and reputation for community involvement of an individual team member or the team as a whole. PATHSTAR encourages team members to be sponsored and supported as representatives of the community before they leave for the Alcatraz Swim Week.
For application packet, click here:
PATHSTAR Alcatraz swimmers selected as ambassadors for health.
PATHSTAR Alcatraz swimmers have been selected to share their experiences and insights with the North American Native and Indigenous people in the upcoming University of Oklahoma’s American Indian Institute conference. 2015 PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swimmers present the workshop:
“PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Program: Healing Habits”
Thirteen participants (from South Dakota, Washington, and California) completed the PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Week in October, 2015. Literally and metaphorically they took the plunge and immersed themselves into an 8-day intensive of healthy lifestyles and nutrition, creating their success, one stroke at a time. During the PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Week, we focused on the daily habit of swimming to prepare for the Alcatraz swim. We also explored habits—of attitudes, food, lifestyle, self care, resources—and their impact on us. As we reconfigure the habits in our lives that don’t serve us well, we can both heal the negative influence unhealthy practices have had in our lives and cultivate and strengthen healing habits that nurture our bodies and our spirits.
15th Native Men’s and Women’s Wellness Conference
American Indian Institute, University of Oklahoma (San Diego, CA) February 28-March 2, 2016.
Click here to read a fantastic blog piece by Patrick O’Neill of Extraordinary Conversations Inc., about the Pathstar Swim.
For more information and to order a copy of the DVD, visit: www.badlandstoalcatraz.org
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