Four years ago a group of Warsaw Sports Business Club members had an idea—bring together Native American youth to celebrate Native culture and inspire them to be active. It was a simple idea that proved to be powerful. Working with Nike N7 founder Sam McCraken, they succeeded in their mission, getting together more than 100 Native youth for a field day at Nike campus filled with Native games—and an inspirational speech by Duck alumni and former NFL player Anthony Newman. They called it NAYA Field Day.
Now in its fifth iteration, NAYA Field Day, now known as Youth Movement, has hosted more than 680 participants and members from 55 tribes and schools. And, what first started as a simple field day in Oregon has since expanded across the country thanks to the hard work of Warsaw Sports Business Club members and their partners at other universities. Last year, both University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, along with the University of Oregon, successfully hosted their own field days devoted to the health of Native youth, bringing kids out for a day of fun and allowing them to meet school athletes. This year, Youth Movement is expanding even further, reaching the three schools that participated last year plus Oregon State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and University of Washington.
“It’s really growing,” said Executive Coordinator Dustin Valdez. “It’s great to watch these ideas catch on elsewhere.”
As executive coordinator, Valdez has worked tirelessly since early winter to connect with schools and tribes across Oregon and to make sure spots are filled for the event. Not only that, but Valdez has helped build partnerships across campus, with such groups as the Native American Student Union and O Heroes, who both will contribute to the day’s success.
“It can be a lot of work,” Valdez said, “but that’s what Youth Movement is about—always trying to improve. Most of all, it’s about making a bigger and better event for the kids.”
This year’s event at the University of Oregon will be held on Friday, April 22 at PK Park, Autzen Stadium, and the Moshofsky Center. The event already has a confirmed 180 participants, and will feature guest speakers, Native games, and a brand new educational component.
“It’s going to be a great day. I think we will truly make a difference,” Dustin said with a smile.
—Article by Ethan Arlt ’16, business administration.
Visit Youth Movement Website