The YMCA sponsors a program called “Indian Princess”/”Indian Guides”. The program is a father/daughter or father/son program designed to bring dads closer to their children with activities for them to do together. I went through the program with both of our girls and have many fond memories of being with them. So this is the first of a series of look backs – favorite memories of times together with the girls.
Our Indian Princess program consisted of maybe seven tribes which made up our nation. We were in the Navajo tribe along with another 8-10 girls and dads. We met monthly at someone’s home and the host dad/daughter made invitations to send to the other members and also came up with a craft of some kind for that meeting’s activity. There were also set activities for the girls to do to earn badges for their vests and stones for their necklaces. Once they completed a level they earned a feather for their headband.
These photos show some of the crafts we made together and also show the vests headbands and patches and feathers that Rachel earned. We had Indian names for each other: Rachel was Setting Sun, Katie was Rising Sun and I was Thunderbird.
A couple of times a year we had a nation campout weekend at the Y’s campground on Lake Guntersville. Each tribe had its own cabin and we all ate in the camp cafeteria. On Friday night, the first night of camp, we all gathered at the open campfire spot and had a HUGE bonfire. Our tribe usually had responsibility for getting the fire prepared for Saturday night’s fire. We soaked rolls of toilet paper in kerosene and wrapped them in wire. Saturday night’s fire began with the nation chief and medicine man rowing to the shore in a canoe with their torches lit. They walked to the trail in front of the cafeteria and lit the torches of each tribe’s chief then we all marched silently to the bonfire site. Selected dads and daughters slowly beat drums as we walked up the trail. After the big bonfire we all returned to our individual cabins and built small campfires where the girls roasted marshmallows and made ‘smores. The girls played and played until finally bedtime rolled around and we crawled into our bunks and listened to the dads snore; it was often hard to get a good night’s sleep. Sunday morning we had a church service at the amphitheater after breakfast, and then loaded our stuff to come home, take a shower, change clothes, and share our weekend adventure with Mama. We also had a float in the annual Christmas Parade.
I don’t know if the program still exists; our participation was in the late 80’s to mid 90’s. The program could have fallen by the wayside for being politically incorrect. It was certainly never meant to be that; just a way to promote dads and daughters being together, drawing closer and sharing memories. And today, I’m so thankful for the memories we shared and the good times we had. Rising Sun, Setting Sun, your Thunderbird loves you and thanks you for those memories!