Who we are
S.L.A.M. TRIPS is a program of Mending Wings—a nonprofit, Native American youth organization located on the Yakama Reservation in Washington State. We offer cross-cultural, summer youth service and learning trips on our reservation. There are many summer service and learning trip opportunities that your youth group could be a part of, but we believe we are unique for several reasons:
- We are Native-American owned and operated. Something you won’t see very often!
- We immerse groups in our culture—not just talk about our culture.
- We offer an indigenous perspective on missions and Christianity vs. a Western perspective.
- All food, lodging, and programs are covered as part of the fee so that you don’t have to worry about it.
- You will receive cultural orientation from local Native people—not from non-Indian people who live on the reservation.
- We are a cross-cultural destination without your group ever having to leave the country—and for much less money!
Mending Wings is a lot more than S.L.A.M. Trips.
Native people have the highest teen suicide rate in the Western hemisphere—62% higher than the national average. It’s the second leading cause of death among Natives 15-24 years of age (60% of Yakama Nation enrolled members are age 25 and younger). We have the highest alcoholism rate (510% higher than the national average), the shortest life expectancy (average 40 years of age), the lowest percentage of high school graduates, the lowest per capita income, the highest levels of unemployment and the 2nd highest teen pregnancy rate in Washington State. One out of three Native females will experience sexual assault in their lifetime. Violence, bullying and gangs are epidemic. We have also experienced significant levels of loss with respect to our language, family values, cultural values, spirituality, land and community roles due to colonization.
Mending Wings works hard to improve these harsh realities through our tried, tested and varied programs. Mending Wings programs work to:
- Curb teen suicide rates
- Helps student graduate from high school and move on to higher education
- Empowers youth with self-confidence, revitalize and retain culture, and tear away shame
- Develop youth as leaders
- Deters gang association and replace negative influences with positive experiences.