YMCA LogoY-Tribe Logo

YMCA of Central Ohio

Y-Tribes Program Handbook

Kilbourne Council

     Father/Son Patch

Y-Indian Guides

"A Brief History"

The father and son Y-Indian Guide program was developed in 1926 to support the father’s vital family role as teacher, counselor, and friend to his son. Harold S. Keltner, a YMCA director in St. Louis, initiated this program around a blazing campfire while he was on a hunting trip in Canada with his friend, Joe Friday, an Ojibwa Indian. Friday told him, “The Indian father raises his son. He teaches his son to hunt, track, and fish, walk softly and silently in the forest, know the meaning and purpose of life and all he must know, while the white man allows the mother to raise his son.” These words struck a chord for Keltner, and he arranged for Joe Friday to work with him at the St. Louis YMCA.

Harold Keltner conceived the idea of a father and son program based upon the strong qualities of America Indian culture and life - dignity, patience, endurance, spirituality, feeling for the earth, and concern for the family. Thus, the Y-Indian Guide Program was born half a century ago.

Over time, other programs were created: the mother-daughter program called Y-Indian Maidens; the father-daughter program called Y-Indian Princesses; and the mother-son program called Y-Indian Braves.

Over the past ten years, many YMCA's have moved away from the Native American theme realizing that this would be the ultimate way to respect the culture by continuing to educate youth but not to emulate the culture and traditions. In 2004, the National YMCA formally retired the Y-Indian Guides program. The YMCA of central Ohio has developed the Y-Tribes program, based on the similar Los Angeles YMCA Tribes program. In the future, it is hoped that expansion of YMCA parent-child groups will continue as a positive force in strengthening family life.

What is the YMCA Y-Tribes

In a YMCA Y-Tribes program, the parent serves as a guide in a child's life. Parents lead, direct, supervise, influence and teach while presenting opportunities for children to explore the world around them. They lead by example as they set their children on a path through life. The program is a side-by-side journey in the early years. As the children grow up, they participate in more advanced, independent activities. In the YMCA Y-Tribes program, the journey happens within the context of a small community called a Tribe. The Tribe is the program's basic group unit, providing structure, a sense of community, and support for all members of the group.

Throughout this manual, you'll see many references to the term "parents". We define the term broadly to include all adults with primary responsibility for raising children. These include parents, guardians, step-parents, foster parents, grandparents or others raising children. The YMCA of the USA and the YMCA Central Ohio have commitment to families. We are dedicated to providing a variety of programs and activities so that people may achieve their greatest potential in spirit, mind and body.

Structure of YMCA Y-Tribes

Y-Tribes Structure

Purpose of the Y-Tribes Guides Program

The purpose of the Y-Tribes Guides program is to foster the understanding and companionship of Parent and Child. It is open to fathers and sons ages Kindergarten through third grade.

"Friends Forever"

  1. To be clean in body and pure in heart
  2. To be "Friends Forever" with my father/son
  3. To love the sacred circle of my family
  4. To be attentive while others speak
  5. To love my neighbor as myself
  6. To seek and preserve the beauty of the Creator's work in forest, field, and stream
"We father and son through friendly service to each other, to our family, to this tribe, and to our community, seek a world pleasing to the eye of the Creator".

Program Objectives

Tribe Requirements

Each Tribe is different and each Tribe will have its own traditions. It will take time to develop those traditions that make each Tribe special to the Council. However, every Tribe should abide by the following YMCA T-Tribes program requirements:

Y-Tribe Program Activities

Each tribe has one or more tribal activities a month, at least one of which is a tribal meeting. The others may be either meetings or outside activities. Several times a year large intertribal events (such as campouts, canoeing, horseback riding, ice skating, pinewood derby, etc.) are also held.

The Tribal Meeting
Meetings are held in the homes of members on a rotating basis. A typical tribal meeting includes the following:
Activities should be easy for both children and adults to understand. Parent-child pairs should work as a team whenever possible. Refreshments are served prior to the closing prayer, which is the official end of the meeting. Parents and children sit together during refreshments as well as during the rest of the meeting to avoid break the tribe up into separate groups of parents and children.

A Typical Tribal Meeting
Closing Prayer
Tribe gathers in a circle ...

And now ...
May the spirit of this council ...
And the spirit of friendship ...
Be with you ...
Now ...
And forever.
(finger pointing toward the ground)
(finger circling up, imitating smoke)
(arms stretched out)
(finger pointed across circle)
(finger down)
(action of shooting a bow & arrow)

Y-Tribes Guides Program Patches

Throughout the Y-Tribes program, patches are given to reward participation and effort in the program activities. These patches are displayed on vests that are worn to all program activities

Y-Tribes Patch
The first patch shown on the front page is the official Y-Tribes logo for the YMCA of Central Ohio. Within the logo are a few hidden features:
Y-Tribes Guides Patch
The second patch shown on the front page is The Y-Tribes Guides program patch. Once a cabin joins Y-Tribes, they should receive this patch. The patch is given out only once to the Cabin. Every year the child continues in the program, the child will receive an element pin. A graduation pin is also given to the child when they graduate from the program in the third grade (parents do not receive the element of graduation pins).

Event Patches
Patches are given to Tribe members who participate in many events, such as campouts. A patch is also given to Princesses for reciting the Aims from memory.

White Buffalo (Honor) Patches
The goal of the White Buffalo award program is to encourage and reward tribes for active participation in the Y-Tribes program. At monthly Council meetings, chiefs report their tribe's activities to the Tally Keeper, who assigns points based on participation level. A tribe accumulating 1000 points by the end of the year will earn White Buffalo patches for all Tribe members.

Alcohol and Drug Policy

YMCA of Central Ohio Parent/Child Programs

The purpose of the Y-Tribes program is to foster companionship of parent and child. In accordance with this purpose, alcohol and/or drugs are prohibited during YMCA programs and YMCA sanctioned events. This includes the possession and/or the use of these substances. This is for the safety of the program participants.

The YMCA has a zero tolerance policy - any persons found consuming of in possession of alcohol or non-prescription drugs will result in consequences. Any participant suspected to be under the influence will be denied the right to participate in activities by staff. This may be the YMCA Coordinator of camp staff, if applicable. These consequences may be, but are not limited to: fines, program suspension, program expulsion, meeting with YMCA staff, and/or prosecution by local authorities if behavior warrants.

Thank you for your support and cooperation in this matter.

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