BOX ELDER - Just across the street from the Rocky Boy Health Center, is where a groundbreaking ceremony was hosted at a youth wellness center.
The project has been named the Mīyō Pimātisiwinkamik Youth Center, or Mīyō for short. This translates to "Good Life Lodge."
"I talk about prevention. We're planting a tree in the plains. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago," Rocky Boy Health Center CEO Joel Rosette stated. "We're building this lodge for our youth so they have a safe place to learn, grow, build resilience in our community, and also to foster a healthy lifestyle. We're really excited about the "Mīyō" center."
As Rosette noted, the plan took 20 years. While the process wasn't easy, they are looking forward to building a safe haven for youth in the area, setting them up for success in the long run.
"It's a testament to our tribe," Rosette said. "This goes back to '74 when we first started our journey in healthcare. To 1994 to our self-governance, and years of leadership. It was also knowing we have a true need to provide a place for our youth besides the schools. We needed to provide a safe place and build community. This is a part of building that community."
The preliminary program for the Mīyō includes a 25,000 to 30,000-square-foot building with offices, exam rooms, multi-purpose classrooms, a commercial kitchen and a cafeteria. Additionally, there will be a gymnasium sized for two basketball courts without bleachers, a fitness instruction room, open gathering, and much more.
Box Elder resident Angelica Ochoa explained the benefits she hopes this center will serve.
"I hope it serves as a place for a lot of people to go," she said. "What I hear from a lot of people that are from here, is that they derail from a good, positive path because there's nowhere to go and nothing to do. I feel this will benefit people by giving them a purpose, feeling like there is something, and that there is a place to go for youth."
"We have another fitness center way up in the agency," Havre resident Giovanni Alvarez said, "A lot of other kids don't have the capabilities of driving from all the way to Box Elder from Big Sandy to go up to the agency for a decent fitness center. I'm hoping a lot more kids will be able to use that."
When speaking on the importance of setting youth up for success, Rosette aims for this facility to build a sense of community while understanding the importance of education.
"We want it to be a safe space for our youth, but also to build our community here in Rocky Boy and our nation. We're really excited to get the ground moving on it and to see it up here."