Ihanktonwan Learning Camp

Ihanktonwan Learning Camp logoTBD for 2022 Camp dates
TBD for 2022Volunteer dates including travel

About the Camp

The Ihanktonwan Learning Camp was initiated in 2010 as a partnership between the First Presbyterian Church of Cumberland and the Cedar and Greenwood Churches, Native American Presbyterian Churches located in southeastern South Dakota. It is held at Marty Indian School in Marty, South Dakota.

The mission is to provide basic educational opportunities for one week, in the middle of the summer, as a way to encourage the students to return to school in the fall with a renewed interest in learning and continuing their studies. We try to give the children a sense of encouragement, love and affirmation. In addition, beginning in 2020, we have been asked by our partners to include spiritual teaching, which will be overseen by our native partners. We come not just to teach but to learn about a culture and lifestyle different from our own.

We serve children in and around Marty, South Dakota a rural area.  Camp dates for volunteers including travel days are listed in the calendar below.

Camp Format

There will be at least two volunteers teaching each class. The children remain with their teachers throughout the day from 8 AM to 2 PM Monday through Thursday. Classes range from Pre-K through 5th or 7th grade (depending on number of volunteers) and children are assigned to the class level that they just completed. Instruction is provided in several areas including math and reading in a FUN setting. Music, Art and Science are “resource activities” available as well. Every effort is made to keep the children and staff active and engaged. Children take free books home.

Opportunities for Building Fellowship and Mutual UnderstandingPlaying on the Marty Indian School playground

There are several opportunities to get to know our Dakota Presbytery and Marty community partners during the week. We start by worshiping and sharing fellowship at the historic Cedar or Greenwood Church on the first Sunday we are there.

Members of the community are invited to join us for evening meals and to help with the children during the week. We try to plan Spiritual Learning/Sharing among camp staff and members of the Ihanktonwan community during the week.

Volunteer Requirements

Camp staff must have finished 8th grade by the end of the school year. Special exceptions MAY be made for younger volunteers accompanied by a close relative. We are seeking 24 volunteers for the ILC camp: high school and college students, and adults of all ages. Some background with children is helpful as camp staff members need to be comfortable around children and interested in forming relationships with the children and their families. The participation fee can be lessened though participation in fundraising opportunities. There is a fundraising Auction in May. Presbyterian youth have access to additional monies through the Turner Youth Scholarship. Interviews will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Cumberland, located at 11 Washington Street on the date listed below. Other interview times can be arranged by appointment.


Staff members will be given pre-camp training so that each staff member feels prepared to be a part of the camp. Training will include cultural diversity, reporting suspected child abuse, and relationship building. For training dates, see below.

Accommodations and Transportation

Volunteers will stay in the student dorm at Marty, where the Learning Camp takes place. Meals are provided during the week. Volunteers should bring spending money for food and souvenirs on travel days.

Opportunities for Learning, Travel, and Fun

Various field trip opportunities are available for volunteers. We try to attend one powwow during the week. One day (the Friday at the end of the week) is devoted to a field trip of some kind or exploration of the local area. We learn about the rich history and culture of the Ihanktonwan (Yankton Sioux) tribe. Some may choose to go to the Badlands or the Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments. Volunteers can choose together how they want to spend their last day before leaving South Dakota.

There will be 2 Informational Meetings at FPC Cumberland at 11 Washington Street.
All are invited!!

Calendar of Events

  • TBD

Contact Information

Robin Bissell, Ihanktonwan Learning Camp Co-Director

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