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Camp Lakodia’s Leadership Camp Featured in Madison Daily News

Madison Daily News featured the Camp Lakodia in its newspaper, explaining about the National Leadership and Literacy Camp, which was held in July and early August. Elisa Sand, the staff reporter in Madison wrote this article:

During the summer, youth have many opportunities to improve their sports skills, focus on a hobby or spend time with friends.

But one camp, the National Leadership and Literacy Camp held at Camp Lakodia in July and early August, aims to bring gifted youth together to develop their leadership skills.

The camp, which is open to youth who are deaf or hard of hearing, is divided into two sessions for separate age groups. Each session lasts two weeks, during which time they cover the concept of LEADERSHIP, an acronym for literacy, empowerment, attitude, discipline, encouragement, resourcefulness, struggle, humility, initiative and perseverance.

The camp was originated by Frank Turk in July 2000. Turk, who is deaf, is the community relations officer for Communication Services for the Deaf and also the developer of a leadership program in Oregon for high school-age youth.

"I started the program myself in 1969," Turk said.

But, Director Russ West said that having the Leadership Camp available at Camp Lakodia to younger kids makes a big difference.

"I did not have that opportunity until I went to youth leadership camp, which was during my high school years," West said. "These kids are having that opportunity and experience at a much younger age. It's excellent timing to learn and grow."

West said the communications skills of the campers have "soared right through the roof due to their increased self-esteem and self-confidence."

Playing a major role in that improvement, he said, are peer-to-peer influences.

From an outside perspective, the campers work together and have fun, but, West said, what's happening is more than that.

"They are experiencing a challenge by being away from home. But again, they learned that they can do this, and all peers do help each other to cope and focus on their goals and skills. In all, they help and develop each other into a better person," said West.

"Here, they learn that they do not grow without challenge and that the amount of challenge they can tolerate depends on the support available," Turk said.

The program is team-based, with smaller groups working on different activities such as a ropes course, developing newsletters and problem-solving activities. During those activities, teamwork, idea sharing, problem solving and support of each other is evident.

Turk said the objective of the entire camp is to convince the campers that they were each born with something special, and that they possess potential for leadership and intellectual growth greater than they have been led to believe.

"On a daily basis, the camp features activities that make participants feel like the winners they are meant to be," he said. "They are more motivated and secure when we believe in them, encourage them, share with them and trust them."

The first camp session, held July 5-19, featured 42 youth. The second session, which began last week and concludes Thursday (today), includes 44 young people.

Program enrollment during the past four years has been between 136 and 122, but Turk said this year's camp conflicted with special celebrations taking place in other parts of the country.

The program features about 30 percent repeat campers and 70 percent newcomers.

"It's the only program of, by and for the deaf in the world," Turk said.

Deaf Biker Rally Held at CSD of Rapid City

For the last eight years, CSD of Rapid City, SD has been host to the Deaf Biker Rally Picnic. The very first picnic brought in a crowd of 35 people, which was in 1999. Officially, 2000 was the start of the annual picnic and brought in over 100 Deaf bikers.

Since then, it has been known that every Wednesday of the Sturgis Bike Week, CSD hosts a picnic providing food, fun and friendship. Every year, CSD of Rapid City invites visitors to design a quilt square with their own special message. Currently, our recreation room displays two large quilts, compiled during the past seven years.

On Wednesday, Aug. 8, a total of 75 visitors joined in the camaraderie. The highlight of the picnic was the entertainment provided by "Sheltered Reality" which is a drum performance group with the message, "Be Loud, Be Proud."

Some audience members had an opportunity to shake the crowd with their drumming skills. There were also a number of raffle drawings for prizes related to the Black Hills. Bikers from all over the U.S. come to Sturgis Bike Week and the same goes for our Deaf Biker Rally Picnic.

Minnesota Relay Welcomes Troops Home

On July 27, the Moorhead, MN. relay center welcomed home troops from Iraq. The streets were lined with banners, and people cheered and thanked the approximately 40 soldiers who had been away from their family and friends, happy that they are arriving safely back home in America.

Minnesota Relay/CSD joined with the local community to give them all a big WELCOME HOME! Communication assistants and CSD Relay management attended the event.

"It was exciting; both sides of the street were filled," said Nancy Soyring, Minnesota Relay center manager. "As the Greyhound bus came off the interstate you could see the serviceman standing up out of their seats … and it was almost glowing in there. They were so excited to be home."

New CSD-TV Web Site/TV Channel Launched

On July 29, the newly redesigned CSD-TV Web site was launched as an Internet TV channel. The Internet TV channel has a few programs lined up with more to come in the next year. CSD-TV is committed to bringing diverse programming to viewers like you.

CSD-TV is a new site dedicated to providing a cultural alternative to the television and film experience—all of the programming is in ASL. Some of the variety of programming CSD-TV offers is educational television shows, training videos, television commercials, live sports coverage, and even more is in the works.

The first CSD-TV live broadcast was for the National Softball Association for the Deaf softball championship games (both men’s and women’s) held in Dayton, Ohio Aug. 11. Viewers could head to the CSD-TV web site and watch both games live on their computers. You can even purchase DVDs of the championship games, which come complete with pre-game dialogue from CSD-TV reporters.

You can also purchase original videos from CSD-TV’s store.

To learn more about CSD-TV, and to sign up for the CSD-TV eGuide, go to

CSD of Iowa Health Literacy Update

Healthy People 2010 defines health literacy as the process individuals take to receive and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions, improve their own health and well being, and to prevent disease. Deaf and hard of hearing people should receive understandable, accessible health services each and every time. As part of CSD's health literacy initiatives that parallels the nation's health literacy priorities, CSD is always looking for ways to make health resources accessible in model formats. CSD also seeks to promote the peer-to-peer leadership model through the use of deaf presenters who also live with health symptoms such as diabetes, cancer or other ailments.

Everyone realizes that there needs to be more ASL-fluent health educators and the costs and demands associated with bringing such expertise to the local area for presentations and trainings. With the advent of affordable video communication technology, CSD is experimenting with ways to use standard videophones to recruit experts and have live, interactive presentations be delivered via video connections that is easy to set up logistically. One example is the use of Sandria Graham, a deaf nutritionist from Michigan working to become a registered dietitian to provide a presentation to the Cedar Rapids, IA deaf community via video.

Deaf people are naturally more receptive to ASL-fluent presenters, as well as respected leaders from the local area living with medical symptoms such as diabetes. CSD worked with several medical entities to develop an "overview to diabetes" power point presentation. CSD then invited Mark Anderson, a local deaf diabetic, to work on logistics and to provide a presentation touching upon key areas of diabetes education. His knowledge was developed into the power point presentation as he offered his personal experiences.

More initiatives are in the works such as the "Diabetes: You Can Control It!" DVD with captioning, audio and ASL format that were developed collaboratively between DSA and CSD as well as several funding sources.