About Youth Camp 

Jijak Youth Camp has been held annually since 2012. Jijak Youth Camp brings together tribal youth to share hands-on life experiences that combine environmental, cultural and leadership skills. Jijak Youth Camp is an annual event held each February and June. Each year, Tribal youth ages 5-17 can enjoy a camp experience at the Gun Lake Tribe’s Jijak Property.

Mission Statement:

Jijak Youth Camp serves our Tribal Community by strengthening our young people’s bond to cultural traditions, engaging youth in nature, and foraging lifelong friendships, based on the rich history and living traditions of the Gun Lake Tribe.

To accomplish this, camp focuses on traditional lifeways skills and knowledge, environmental discovery, outdoor skills, youth empowerment, and recreational activities. Many of the camp activities are built around cultural and environmental lessons, but also includes favorite conventional camp activities.

Jijak Youth Camp 2018


Summer Camp: June 25-29, 2018


Jijak Youth Camp is scheduled for June 25-29th at the Jijak Property. The 2018 Camp is expanding and we are offering more time for camp fun!

We are excited to announce the 2018 Jijak Youth Camp Registration is now open to all Tribal Household youth and Gun Lake Tribe staff youth ages 5-17. You can register your kids today! Please see above for required forms and documents or contact Liz Binoniemi-Smith or Shawn McKenney at youthcamp@glt-nsn.gov or call 269.397.1780.

Registrations are due by June 1st, 2018 by 5:00 p.m., late registrations can NOT be accepted. Please see the new Jijak Youth Camp Parent Handbook for more information on the 2018 Jijak Youth Camp.

Questions or concerns? Please call Liz, Shawn or Desirae at 269.397.1780.

We look forward to seeing your youth at the 2018 Jijak Youth Camp!

Camp Counselors Wanted!

Tribal Citizens and community members 18 years of age or older are encouraged to apply for positions as Camp Counselors for the 2018 Jijak Youth Camp in June. These positions will be managed through the GLT Temporary Employment Program. Please contact Becky Wheeler at 269.397.1780 to apply for the Jijak Camp Counselor Position. Counselors are expected to be available June 20-21th and 25-29th.

Meet Your Camp Staff...

Camp Administrators

"I LOVE Jijak Camp!" 

Shawn McKenney, Camp Director

Department: Environmental
Title: Environmental Specialist
Years at Jijak Camp: 6
Favorite Color: Green 
Favorite Joke: Ask me what's in the box...
Interests: Family, hunting and fishing. 
“I have been involved with our youth camp from the beginning. I love watching our tribal youth grow and learn and spend time together as a community. I enjoy facilitating connections between staff and youth, giving everyone a chance to get to know each other in new ways and help the community grow stronger.”

Desirae Pyle, Assistant Director

Department: Human Resources
Title: Human Resources Representative
Years at Jijak Camp: 6
Favorite Color: Pink
Favorite Joke: What is a Pirate's favorite Letter?
If you say "arrrr", you would be close. But it's the "C" they love the most! 
Interests: Entertainment (TV, movies, books), anything crafty (tie-dye), crochet, scrapbooking, sewing, painting
“I love Youth Camp! It’s my favorite time of the year! I have been volunteering with kids activities since I was 11 and leading nature center programs and working at nature-based youth camps since I was 14. I have two fur babies, a toy Australian Shepard and a Teddy Bear.”

Nikki Yargeau, Activities Director 

Department: Environmental 
Title: Natural Resource Outreach Coordinator
Years at Jijak Camp: 5
Favorite Color: Purple & Green 
Favorite Joke: Our 4-year old granddaughter, Ivy, has been taking riding lessons for over a year. One day during breakfast, she was talking with her mom about horseshoes. Ivy’s mom said the person trained to show a horse is called a farrier. “Are they little people with wings?” Ivy asked.
Interests: Spending time with family, reading, quilting, embroidery, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, cross-country skiing

Camp Counselors

“Spending time at Jijak Camp is something I look forward to each year. The energy the kids bring to camp creates an atmosphere of positivity and fun that cannot be found many other places. I look forward to seeing new and returning campers this season.”

Nick Zykowski, Camp Counselor

Department: Environmental
Title: Environmental Technician
Years at Jijak Camp: 3
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Joke: 
Interests: Fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, swimming, collecting, building projects, crafting, spending time outdoors with my friends
“I have a 10 year old Golden Retriever named Ruby.”

Alex Wieten, Camp Couselor

Department: Environmental
Title: Water Resources Specialist
Years at Jijak Camp: 1
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Joke: How did the hipster burn his mouth?      
He ate the pizza before it was cool!
Interests: Hiking fishing, hunting, running, traveling, sports, hanging out with wife (Val) and daughter (Jane)

Doug Galvas, Camp Counselor

Department: Environmental
Title: Stewardship Specialist
Years at Jijak Camp: 4
Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Joke: Why couldn’t the toilet paper cross the road?                
He was stuck in a crack
Interests: Music, food, outdoor activities, exercise
“I am always looking out for others.”

Collin Church, Camp Couselor

Department: Education
Title: Youth Specialist
Years at Jijak Camp: 2
Favorite Color: Purple & Silver
Interests: Basketball, lacrosse, volleyball, gaming
“I can’t wait for Jijak Camp! It’s going to be a great day!”

Leona Addie, Camp Counselor

Department: Environmental 
Title: Invasive Species Strike Force Team Member
Years at Jijak Camp: 1
Favorite Color: Red? No...green? Green :) 
Favorite Joke: What do you call a cow on a trampoline?                       
A milk shake!
Interests: I love to travel, go exploring, and be outside with my family! Some of my favorite things to do include camping, hiking, photography, cooking, reading, gardening, and game nights with the family!
"Working with Tribal Youth is a blessing. It is amazing to witness the growth and development of future Tribal Leaders." 

Sireece Martin, Camp Counselor 

Department: Housing
Title: Executive Assistant
Years at Jijak Camp: 2
Favorite Color: Red
Favorite Joke: As long as cocoa beans grow on trees, chocolate is fruit to me! 
Interests: Cooking, sewing, traveling to exciting places, spending time with friends and family. I love crafting creative solutions to overcome obstacles. 
“I am super exited! This will be my first winter camp!”

Gena Sprague, Camp Counselor

Department: Human Resources
Title: Human Resources Assistant
Years at Jijak Camp: 1
Favorite Color: Purple
Favorite Joke: Where do cows like to go out on Saturday nights?         
To the moo-vies
Interests: Arts & crafts, DIY projects, cooking, spending time with my children, watching movies, playing games
“I am a mother of two amazing Tribal children. I am a graphic designer and wrap vehicles in my spare time. My children and I participate in many tribal activities including: language, pow wows, ricing, sugaring, etc. I’m like a big kid when it comes down to having fun and making memories.”

Alicia Sommers, Camp Counselor

Department: Health & Human Services
Title: Temp. Administrative Assistant
Years at Jijak Camp: 1
Favorite Color: Pink
Interests: Stickers, kayaking, outdoor stuff, crafts, traditional Native art, gardening

Rachel Kolkman, Camp Counselor

Department: Education
Title: Tribal Librarian
Years at Jijak Camp: 0

Camp Instructors

“Summer and Winter Jijak Youth Camp are two of my very favorite times of year. I especially love exploring water bugs with all the campers!”

Liz Binoniemi-Smith, Instructor

Department: Environmental
Title: Environmental Director
Years at Jijak Camp: 6
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Joke: Why did the sun go to school?
To get brighter
Interests: Playing outside with my family & friends! 
“I am a member of the Sault St. Marie Tribe.”

Jason Lorenz, Instructor

Department: Environmental
Title: Biologist
Years at Jijak Camp: 6
Favorite Color: Camouflage  
Favorite Joke: What’s brown and sticky?         
A stick
Interests: Waterfowl, fishing, woodworking, carpentry
“I earned my Bachelor’s Degree from Grand Valley State University.”

Conrad Church, Instructor

Department: Health & Human Services
Title: Youth Prevention Coordinator
Years at Jijak Camp: 2
Favorite Color: Green & White
Favorite Joke: What do you call a famous fish?           
A star fish!
Interests: Family & Sports

Punkin Shananaquet, Instructor

Department: Language & Culture
Title: Cultural Coordinator