MISSOULA – More than 80 Native youth and chaperones from the lower 48, Alaska, Hawai’i and the Pacific Islands are attending a leadership summit at the University of Montana this week.

The Administration for Native Americans, an agency with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, developed the Native Youth Initiative for Leadership, Empowerment and Development, or I-LEAD initiative to support local community projects that foster Native youth resiliency and empower Native youths. UM’s American Indian Business Leaders student group is one of the 13 I-LEAD grantees.

I-LEAD Summit participants take part in a team-building exercise in the University Center at the University of Montana on July 25. (UM Photo)

The I-LEAD Youth Summit supports Native communities by bringing together youth project participants to learn from one another, and to providing skills and resources to help them to be effective community leaders. Youth attendees are ages 14-24.

Summit sessions include leadership panels on civic engagement; team building exercises; tools for success in the areas of health and wellness, financial literacy, entrepreneurship and mentoring; cultural night in UM’s Payne Family Native American Center; group workbook seminars; and more.

ANA promotes the goal of self-sufficiency and cultural preservation for Native Americans by providing social and economic development opportunities through financial assistance, training, and technical assistance to eligible tribes and Native American communities. Learn more about ANA at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ana.