The Navajo Nation Outreach Spring Break Trip is an annual trip to Window Rock, Arizona, a town in a Navajo Reservation. This upcoming trip will be the fifth time it has occurred. Created by alum Taida Smailhodzic (’12) and Bethany Hale, a graduate of Dartmouth College and a resident of Window Rock, the Navajo Nation Outreach group allows a group of Williams students to experience life in Navajo Nation for a week. In the past participants have volunteered at Hilltop Christian School and St. Michael’s Indian School, serving as teacher’s assistants and leading various workshops for the students. Previous workshops have ranged from science experiments to geography classes to dance lessons.
Last year Williams students taught at schools within the Window Rock Unified School District, and had the most successful trip since its creation. Volunteers were able to work with grades K-12, and were instantly welcomed in each classroom. After school ended for the day the volunteers got the opportunity to attend various school functions and help out with after-school activities such as daycare or track practice. Williams students also participated in cultural activities, attending Navajo ceremonies, eating traditional food, and learning Navajo. In fact, the group was able to attend the Navajo Immersion School for a day, where many of the classes were conducted entirely in Navajo.
The success of Navajo Nation trip would not be possible without the generous support of Dining Services. For the past 4 years, Navajo Nation Outreach participants and Dining Services have worked together to create a unique fundraiser. Dining Services provides Knock-You-Nakeds free of charge for Navajo Nation Outreach members, which the group sells to other students and faculty. This fundraiser has been our most successful each year, and a large percentage of necessary funds are obtained each year through Knock-You-Naked sales. The rewarding experience by past participants and growing popularity of the trip are a direct result of collaboration with and generosity of Dining Services. Without their assistance, the Navajo Nation Outreach would not be about to celebrate its fifth year of existence.