SHIPROCK, New Mexico - Florida Southern Men's Lacrosse head coach Marty Ward is assisting at this year's 19th-Annual NativeVision Sports and Life Skills Camp which is behind held here at the Navajo Nation on the grounds of Shiprock High School. The camp begins on June 11 and runs through June 13.
NativeVision is a sports-based youth development initiative for American-Indian children that is run by Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health in partnership with the NFL Players Association. This year's camp will serve more than 800 Native-American youths in grades 3-12 from more than 25 tribal nations around the country.
Ward, who is assisting at the camp for the fourth time in the last five summers, is one of many collegiate coaches and professional athletes at the camp to help teach the campers about sports and life skills. In addition, there will be an acting workshop and a youth performance for all campers.
At the three-day camp, which is in its 19th season of serving Indian-American youths and is free of charge, the campers will be involved in five sports clinics (football, basketball, lacrosse, volleyball and track) led by professional athletes and collegiate coaches. Ward is working with other fellow lacrosse coaches this weekend.
In addition to having the campers be involved with five sports clinics, they also will have break-out sessions led by professional athletes promoting education, healthy lifestyles, nutrition, self-esteem, discipline, teamwork and cultural pride, workshops to promote youth entrepreneurship, leadership and self-expression through arts, workshops for community adults in parenting and family budgeting and an all-star basketball game between Native youth all-stars and professionals from all five sports that are in attendance at the camp.
"The Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health has a 30-year history of working with tribes to overcome major health, social and economic disparities affecting Native children and families. NativeVision gathers talented volunteers at the top of their field in sports, education and the performing arts to promote the emotional, mental and physical assets of Native youth and their communities," said Allison Barlow, the deputy director of Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health and co-founder of NativeVision, in a press release announcing this year's camp from Johns Hopkins.
Ward, who just finished his fifth season at the helm of the Moccasins men's lacrosse team this past spring, is currently the only Native American head lacrosse coach in the country. Last summer, Ward played for the Iroquois National Team at the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championships and in the summer of 2012, he served as an assistant coach for the U-19 Iroquois National Lacrosse Team that won a bronze medal at the Federation of International Lacrosse U19 World Championships in Turku, Finland. During the tournament, the Iroquois National Team beat the United States team for the first time ever. It was only Team USA's second loss on the year in 40 matches.
As a collegiate student-athlete at Limestone College, Ward was a four-year lettermen in lacrosse and earned Honorable Mention All-American honors as a goalkeeper in both 2005 and 2007 and helped lead the Saints to a 55-9 overall record. Along with being a standout in the collegiate ranks, Ward was also the starting goalkeeper for the Iroquois National Team in both 2006 and 2010.
Click here for more information about NativeVision