Louise Giebel served in Big Sandy, Montana

Alumni story
Louise Giebel 1990 1992 Big Sandy

I was living in Big Sandy when I started, but the people there did not want to work with me so I went up the road to the Rocky Boy reservation. I had hardly spent any time with Native Americans at that point. They welcomed me and were glad to have all the help they could get.

I worked with them to set up a three day camp-out for youth. The focus was drug and alcohol abuse prevention, and the camp was patterned after the Teen Institute program, and had workshops on saying no, self esteem, healthy stress relief, etc. Everything went great until it started to rain. It rained so bad that ALL the tents and tipi's fell down! We had to move to the local school to finish. I coordinated similar camps on the Flathead and Blackfeet Reservations the following two years.

As a result of the Blackfeet camp, I met my husband. We have a son who is a teenager, and I now live on the Blackfeet reservation. Some of my family members remember that camp- They say, "Oh yeah, I remember that! That was fun!"

I am preparing to work in this community teaching the Blackfeet language, and I have learned so much and feel so at home living here, I do not want to live anywhere else. I would not be here doing what I'm doing if it were not for my VISTA experience. I also learned a lot about leadership, community development, volunteerism, etc. that I have used in all of my work since then.

Decade: 1990s