The 2015 inauguration ceremony for the Young River People’s Council was held on Friday, June 26, at the Lehi Community Building.
In front of family and fellow Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community leaders, YRPC’s newly elected executive officers and new members were given the oath of office by SRPMIC Chief Judge Ryan Andrews. The new officers are Monica Webster, treasurer; Nani Reina, corresponding secretary; Ariana Leonard, clerical secretary; Dione Dallas, vice-president; and Ki-Ana Reina, president.
Reina, 19 and fresh off being crowned 2015-16 Miss Salt River, stated in her presidential address that she has learned many things over the past year. This includes the ability to balance different responsibilities and take on more than one role. Reina also said, “This next term is going to bring so much more to the youth council, and I can’t wait to see what we can all accomplish within these next months.”
The program also included a blessing by SRPMIC Council Member Michael Dallas, an address by outgoing YRPC President Kaily Toney, and a keynote address by Council Member Jenelle Howard. Howard encouraged the new officials to embrace what the Community stands for and to know that during trying times they can lean on the leadership around them, whether it is Council, an elder or a relative.
As the evening was winding down, mistress of ceremonies Emily King requested all Community leaders in attendance to share a few words of wisdom with the new YRPC leadership. She stated, “Our young people at this time in life go through so much that the line of communication is the best and most important thing that we can have with them.”
Stories shared by SRPMIC Council members, Vice-President Martin Harvier and President Delbert Ray, Sr. included some of youth, some of family, some of sports and some of Hollywood movies. Although each story was unique, all ended with the reiteration of guidance and support to the YRPC.
The program ended with well-wishes, handshakes, hugs, laughter and smiles as everyone in attendance enjoyed a traditional meal and each other’s company.
Note: The newly elected YRPC members attended the White House Tribal Youth Gathering and the 2015 UNITY Conference in Washington, D.C., July 9-15.