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Fort Pierce holds first fun day at Chupco Youth Ranch

By Andrea Holata

FORT PIERCE — Although Tropical Storm Isaac hovered nearby, the Fort Pierce community didn’t let it dampen their spirits on Aug. 25. Fort Pierce and other Tribal reservations joined together at the Chupco Youth Ranch for their first fun day event.

The Chupco Youth Ranch sponsored the event, while Chupco Ranch Office manager Mary Stomboli and Chupco Ranch coordinator Kathreen Martinez organized it. A crew of volunteers also kept the community busy with activities throughout the day.

Originally intended as a back-to-school celebration, the fun day grew into a Tribalwide event as well. Shamy Tommie, Chupco Ranch director, said everyone agreed that it would be a great way to encourage fellowship and to show appreciation to all Tribal members and employees.

“As long as we communicate with each other, have fun with each other, we get along better,” Tommie said. 

A 36-foot waterslide, mechanical bull, pony rides, snow cones and cotton candy amused youth throughout the day. The younger children also made friendship bracelets with the help of Valerie Marone, from the Family Services Department. In addition, adults participated in friendly competitions of archery, skillet toss and watermelon roll.

During a special recognition, Joe Kippenberger, director of the Buildings and Grounds Department, as well as his staff, were awarded a plaque by Martinez for their dedication to helping build community facilities.

“That’s the least we could do for all the work they’ve done for us,” Stomboli said. “They have done so much for the ranch. They have been awesome.”

“He’s been great, absolutely wonderful,” Martinez added.

Tomahawk Catering offered a restaurant-style menu for lunch, and everyone had a choice of Tommie’s infamous ribs, chicken, frybread and endless sides. 

An ice cream social made for a sweet ending to a day of fun and fellowship.

“The more we have events like this…we are going to realize what it is to stick together,” Brighton Councilman Andrew J. Bowers Jr. said. “That’s what it’s all about: being one family, (one) Tribe no matter where we live.”

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