Ihanktonwan Learning Camp

Ihanktonwan Learning Camp logoJune 17 – 20, 2024 Camp dates
June 15 – 22, 2024Volunteer 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 in Marty, South Dakota.  Highland Presbyterian Church joined this partnership in 2023.

Our mission is to provide basic educational opportunities for four days during the summer in order to prepare students for returning to school in the fall with a renewed interest in learning and motivated to continue their studies. During our time there we try to give the children a sense of encouragement, love, and affirmation. In addition, our partners have asked us to include spiritual teaching which they oversee. We also invite local native community members to share their knowledge of Dakota traditions and welcome local counselors to speak with the children about problems they may face such as bullying, addiction, and depression. We come not just to teach but to learn.

Camp dates for volunteers include a field trip day to visit surrounding historic and scenic areas. The locations are chosen by the volunteers.

Camp Format

This year we will be hosting two separate 2-day camps to reach different areas of the Yankton Sioux Reservation. Monday-Tuesday will be held at the Marty Community Center and Wednesday-Thursday will held at the Law Enforcement Center in Lake Andes. Camp will run from 8 AM-2 PM with breakfast and lunch provided for all attendees. We will welcome children pre-K-7th grade to participate in Math, Reading, Music, Art, and Science, taught with fun in mind!

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

There are many opportunities to get to know our Dakota Presbytery and Marty community partners during the week. We will worship and share fellowship with them at either the historic Cedar or Greenwood Church on Sunday at which time we will sing hymns in the Dakota language from their hymnal “Dakota Odowan”. Also, members of the community are invited to join us for evening meals and to help with the children during the week. A time for spiritual learning and sharing with our volunteers and members of the Ihanktonwan community are part of our week.

Volunteer Requirements

We are seeking high school youth, college students, and adults of all ages. Camp staff must have finished 8th grade by the end of the school year. Special exceptions MAY be made for mature younger volunteers accompanied by a close relative.

Some background working with children and a desire to form relationships with others is extremely helpful for a successful camp experience.

Although the camp is supported by the Presbyterian Church, church membership is not required to be part of this experience. The participation fee can be offset by participating in different fundraising opportunities. Also, Presbyterian youths will have access to additional monies by applying for the Turner Youth Scholarship through the Presbytery of Baltimore.


All staff members will receive pre-camp training to prepare them fully for participation in the camp. Training is mandatory and includes information about cultural diversity, child protection, and relationship building. For training dates, see below.

Accommodations and Transportation

Volunteers will stay in the Fort Randall Casino Hotel, 10 miles from Marty and 10 miles from Lake Andes. Meals are provided during the week with the exception of travel days. Volunteers should bring spending money for food and souvenirs during the camp and on travel days. The amount recommended is $75 to $100. An ATM is available in a nearby town.

Opportunities for Learning, Travel, and Fun

Various field trip opportunities are available for volunteers throughout the week to learn about the rich history and culture of the Ihanktonwan (Yankton Sioux) tribe. We try to attend one powwow during the week. Friday is devoted to either exploring the local area or visiting such sites as the Badlands, Mount Rushmore or the Crazy Horse monument Volunteers choose together how they want to spend their last day before leaving South Dakota.

Calendar of Events (most will include a virtual option)

  • Information Meeting: Sunday, March 3rd, 12:30 PM @ First Presbyterian Church, Cumberland Dakota Room.
  • Virtual Information Meeting: Contact Rev. Alison Peters: revalisonpeters@gmail.com
  • Application Deadline: April 1
  • New Staff Interviews: Sunday afternoon, April 21, Tuesday/Wednesday April 23/24 by appointment
  • Mandatory Training 1: Saturday, May 18, 1-4 PM @ Hybrid Locations: First Presbyterian Church, Cumberland Fellowship Hall/Dakota Room and Highland Presbyterian Church Netting Hall
  • Mandatory Training 2: Sunday, June 1, 12 – 4 PM @ Location TBD
  • Flight to South Dakota: Saturday, June 15 and return Saturday, June 22

Contact Information

Rev. Alison Peters, Ihanktonwan Learning Camp Co-Director

Claudia Scarborough, Ihanktonwan Learning Camp Co-Director
410-459-7946 claudiascarborough5@gmail.com


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