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Indian Guides, Indian Princesses provide fun for fathers, children

10/4/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

GREATER AKRON — The Indian Guides and Indian Princesses programs are gearing up for a year of activities for fathers and their children.

The national program, which features local affiliates through the Akron Area YMCA, helps promote togetherness through planned activities such as camping and other fun outings.

West Akron resident Jeff Gorbach, who is the sachem, or adviser, to current groups active on the west side, said he has participated with his three children in the Guides and Princesses programs since they were young, starting in 1999.

He said he likes the program because it’s all volunteer-run by the fathers participating, and the activities are “fantastic.”

“For my kids, it was the one-on-one time with dad they liked best,” he said.

Jeff Moshier, of West Akron, said he’s participated in the Princesses program with his daughters the past six years. He also was an Indian Guide himself as a child. He said children tend to like the program because they enjoy getting together with others.

“The biggest events our kids respond to are the campouts, first and foremost,” he said. “We have spring campouts and fall campouts at Camp Y-Noah in Green.”

Another activity many of the children and their fathers enjoy is car racing, similar to Pinewood Derby racing, Moshier said.

Indian Guides and Indian Princesses meet separately, but there are some shared activities so that fathers with both boys and girls can take part as a family. Participants meet in tribes, which are loosely affiliated with schools or communities, but there are no restrictions as to which tribe new members can join. Tribes are part of Longhouses, with local Guides in the Old Portage Longhouse and Princesses in the Ipany Longhouse.

Families can begin to participate when their children are in kindergarten. Most youths stay with the program through eighth grade, although Gorbach said he has known boys who have taken part in the program until they went to college.

Tribes will have a range of ages, which Moshier said is nice because the older children tend to become like big brothers or big sisters.

Some of the group events, like ice skating and hayrides, also are open to participants’ mothers and siblings, but the campouts are kept to just fathers and their Indian Guide or Indian Princess, Moshier said.

One of the newer activities this past year for the Indian Princesses tribe Moshier and his daughters were involved in was a father-daughter dance at Rosemont Country Club in Fairlawn, which was a big success.

“The point is to create family interaction,” Moshier said. “We create bonds between father and child. It’s a great opportunity.”

As a byproduct of their participation, many of the fathers also have made new friends with other fathers participating.

“The unintended result is that I have developed a bunch of friendships with folks that I would have never known,” Gorbach said.

Participation in the programs is $50 for the first child and $10 for any additional children for a year. Members of the Akron YMCA can participate at no cost.

Most activities take place during the school year, but Moshier said there are occasional events during the summer, as well.

Fathers and their children can join at any time. For more information on Indian Guides that are part of the Old Portage Longhouse, go to www.akronguides.org or contact Harold Johnson at 330-388-0304. For more on Indian Princesses in the Ipany Longhouse, go to www.akronprincesses.org or call Moshier at 330-867-4622.

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