By Meredith Parker
Dietreich Rios (Ojibwa) and Matt Hawk (Suquamish), of Real Native Fitness, a not-for-profit organization with a focus on empowering native youth through fitness and health, were in Neah Bay Aug. 22-23. The co-ed camp was held from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. for grades 1-6 and 1 p.m.-4 p.m. for middle and high school youth and took place at the Makah Community Gym. The camp was free as costs have been covered by local sponsors.
The basics of the basketball game as well as the importance of leadership both on and off the court, and an emphasis of hard work and dedication were covered during the two days of camp. While this is not the first camp Rios and Hawk have hosted, it is the second as a nonprofit organization. The two were looking forward to hitting the long and winding road and getting to know more of the Neah Bay youth. Community members with an interest in volunteering during the camps were welcome to work with the pair.
Hawk and Rios grew up together on the Suquamish Indian Reservation, playing basketball while in high school, as well as together at Olympic College. It was then the two went on different paths, Rios running his own personal training business, Hawk pursuing a business degree and returning to Suquamish to oversee business operations for the gas stations and shops. While running his personal training business, Rios has worked with NBA talent, collegiate, high school, as well as with youth and elders. He has traveled across the country and into Canada hosting fitness, basketball and health camps for tribes and tribal nations.
The mission of Real Native Fitness encompasses health and physical fitness education as well as setting realistic healthy goals for personal improvement. Using basketball as a means of reaching youth, topics such as social interaction, teamwork and leadership will be included to inspire confidence, self-esteem and healthy lifestyles. Their vision is to uplift and empower a healthy lifestyle that improves quality of life today, tomorrow and for future generations.
While fitness is key, Rios’ other interests include music, gaming and he’s active on social media. He said that “Being versatile and striking a balance in life is important. It’s not all about basketball all the time, it’s about how we keep ourselves healthy on all levels, relate to one another, work as a team.”
The message was clear during the camp on both days — being healthy of body and mind, having a game plan and working hard to achieve goals and exceed expectations makes a difference. The Rios/Hawk duo would like to have a positive impact on the communities they reach and would like to see healthy, active lifestyles become something that the whole community embraces — from youth to our valued elders.