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YRPC Receives UNITY Youth Council of the Year Award

Members of the Young River People’s Council attended the annual United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) Conference in San Diego, California; the youth took home the Youth Council of the Year award. Submitted photo

Members of the Young River People’s Council of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community attended the annual United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) Conference in San Diego, California, in July. UNITY is the largest Native youth leadership gathering; this year, more than 250 tribal youth councils from 36 states came together to share their culture and exchange ideas to help combat the negativity that plagues Indian Country.

During the 42nd Annual UNITY Gala, YRPC members were in for quite a surprise during the awards presentation at the banquet: Salt River’s YRPC was named Youth Council of the Year.

“When their name was called and they saw their picture up on the screen, they were shocked and didn’t know what was going on,” said SRPMIC Youth Development Specialist Christine Porter, who, along with YRPC President Sommer Lopez, had submitted YRPC for consideration for the award. “They had no idea we submitted them for the Youth Council of the Year award. After, talking to my peers at the UNITY organization about the various tribal youth councils, they said [the Salt River YRPC] had no comparison when it came to events and creativity.”

This is the first time that the YRPC received this award, explained Lopez. “It was actually the first time we submitted to try and win the award, so we didn’t think we were going to win on our first try and didn’t think much about it throughout the conference. Winning the award will help keep the YRPC doing what they do.

“With other people across the country seeing that we’re doing good things, it helps us to continue to be more creative and make an even [greater] impact on the Community,” said Lopez.

Young River People’s Council members continue to celebrate their success after being awarded the Youth Council of the Year award from the 42nd Annual UNITY Conference.
Submitted photo
All youth councils attending the UNITY Conference submit a yearly report detailing their activities in their communities. The YRPC report noted the specific events that YRPC undertook relating to the four elements of the UNITY logo: spiritual, mental, physical and social. The events included the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women event, Native Youth Legislative Day at the Arizona capitol, the New Year Rez-solution wellness event and the Toka Tournament.

The Salt River YRPC currently has 18 members. Youth who wish to join the council must be members of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community age 13 to 21. Contact Christine Porter at (480) 362-7527 or christine.porter@srpmic-nsn.gov for an application. Follow YRPC on Instagram and Facebook.