Monthly Archives: June 2008

Thanks for the cleaning supplies, Ecologic Solutions!

This month we received an eagerly anticipated donation of environmentally friendly cleaning supplies from EcoLogic Solutions.

The Brooklyn-based company specializes in producing ecofriendly, bio-based cleaning products as well as providing environmental sustainability consulting.

Cleaning supplies routinely comprise a major component of our wish list.

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Tickets now available for star-quilt raffle

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, has announced that its volunteers are selling raffle tickets for a queen-size, handmade star quilt called “Shades of Spring Green.”

The fundraiser is already under way; tickets are priced at $1 each and will be available until the end of the business day on Thursday, July 17. The raffle drawing will take place on Friday, July 18.

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CRYP hosts Peace and Dignity Journey runners

Peace and Dignity Journeys 2008 touched the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation on Thursday, July 3, when this year’s journey runners visited CRYP en route to their final destination in Panama.

Peace and Dignity Journeys began its spiritual runs in 1992. The run takes place every four years and starts with indigenous runners on opposite ends of North and South America. These runners continue onward for six months, running through hundreds of indigenous communities in North, South and Central America, and ultimately meet at the Kuna Nation in Panama City, Panama. Their meeting at the center of the hemisphere symbolizes the joining together of all indigenous peoples.

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Summer programming on the way

Summer has officially arrived for the children of the Cheyenne River reservation in north-central South Dakota. The Cheyenne River Youth Project® in Eagle Butte has announced the start of its summer programming, which includes popular annual activities such as Summer Literacy, Garden Club, several seasonal parties and Midnight Basketball. It also includes new initiatives: a Recyclable Arts program, Cheerleading/Dance Club and a four-week intensive Dance Workshop.

Programs at The Main

CRYP officially kicked off the summer season on June 2 with an open house at The Main, a youth center for 4- to 12-year-olds, and a book giveaway. The giveaway also served as an official launch for Summer Literacy, a popular four-week program that allows participating children to choose four books, write book reports on the selected titles and then participate in a special event that is exclusive to Summer Literacy participants. Past rewards have included sleepovers at The Main and, weather permitting, camping trips along the Moreau River.

“We usually try to have at least two sessions of Summer Literacy each year,” said Alexandra Meador, CRYP’s youth programs director. “That way, kids who miss the first one can still join in the fun during the second session. I would encourage interested parents to contact us for dates. The second session usually starts in early to mid-July.”

Meador explained that the program is designed to get the children excited about reading and writing. She noted that even the children who can’t attend the final special event are eager to participate, and past volunteers have noted competition between children to see who can read more books and turn in the best reports.

“It’s such an important program for us,” she said. “Many of the kids who join Summer Literacy are repeat participants, and they are continually improving their skills. The older kids see their reading, writing and comprehension getting better with each book report. Small children will start with having books read to them, and then they’ll read aloud with volunteers. Finally, they’ll begin working independently, and they’ll be developing their confidence along the way.”

During the second week of June, CRYP launched another favorite among “Mainers” — the Garden Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday, Garden Club participants join volunteers in Winyan Toka Win, the youth project’s 2.5-acre, naturally grown garden. They assist with planting, watering, weeding and harvesting, and after each 45-minute garden session, they add entries to their own garden journals. Project leaders choose a “Gardener of the Week” each Friday.

“Not only do the kids learn a lot in the garden, they get to sample the fruits of their labors in daily snacks and meals at The Main,” Meador said. “They also are helping to supply the Cheyenne River Elderly Nutrition ® Cheyenne River Youth Project®Center with fresh produce, which forges a rewarding connection with the community’s elders.”

New this year is the Recyclable Arts Program. Held every Tuesday and Thursday in conjunction with Garden Club, volunteers and children will find any available recyclable materials and use them in arts and crafts, learning about the environment in the process.

“For example, we saved popcorn boxes and made them into treasure chests,” Meador explained. “We reused cans and made them into flower vases. Next week, we’ll use milk jugs to make a garden tool carrier. We have a special recyclable craft closet in which we keep all of the items… things like bottles, cans, plastic jugs, canisters and cereal boxes.

“It’s a great way for us to ‘go green,’ since there isn’t a recycling program on the reservation,” she added. “We’re teaching the kids how to help take care of the earth.”

Another new program is the Cheerleading/Dance Club, also for 4- to 12-year-olds. Held every Monday and Wednesday and run by Natalie Davila and Rachel Purser, the club will teach children about stretching, tumbling and beginning dance techniques. Davila was a cheerleader in primary, middle and high school, while Purser is an experienced dancer that has taught ballet, tap and jazz.

Then there are the parties: the “Luau” in June, the annual Fourth of July festivities and the “Carnival” celebration. All are hosted by CRYP staff and volunteers for local children and their families; please contact the youth project for dates and times.

Programs at Cokata Wiconi

CRYP has also begun its seasonal teen programming. Especially popular among Cheyenne River teens is Midnight Basketball, which kicked off June 6 at Cokata Wiconi. Held every Friday night from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the teen center gymnasium, it is open to children ages 13 to 18 and includes music and refreshments.

According to Meador, a former volunteer came up with the idea for Midnight Basketball, and it was founded more than 10 years ago with the enthusiastic support of area schools and the local police department.

“Midnight Basketball provides teens with a safe, fun evening activity, and it allows them to stay out past Eagle Butte’s 10 p.m. curfew,” Meador said. “With the cooperation of the police department, the teens have a 15-minute grace period after sign-out to get home.”

The season will culminate with a three-on-three tournament, and the top three teams will win prizes. A new program is the intensive four-week Dance Workshop for 13- to 18-year-olds. Held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the class is designed for any teen interested in improving his or her dance skills. The workshop will be taught by Rachel Purser, who encourages teens of all abilities — beginner to advanced — to participate. In addition, the Cokata Wiconi Internet Cafe and gymnasium will be open to teens from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Thursday. Wednesday evening hours include karaoke in the Internet Cafe from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.. The Internet Cafe also will be open from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday evenings prior to Midnight Basketball. Meador said CRYP is planning to add more teen programming as the summer progresses, as the youth project is in the process of hiring interns to support its staff and is seeking additional volunteers — from within and outside the community — to join the existing corps.

“We have plans in the works for a Battle of the Bands and a teen dance,” she said. “We will be implementing these and other new teen programs soon, and I would encourage the local community and interested participants from our neighboring communities to keep their eyes open for our flyers. They should also feel free to contact us if they have questions or to confirm dates and times.”

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Edinburgh Marathoner Ben Cranham raises more than $2,000 for CRYP

History Wall creator Ben Cranham, a former long-term CRYP volunteer, raised more than $2,000 in sponsorships for his recent run of the Edinburgh Marathon in Scotland. He donated all the proceeds to CRYP.

As he prepared to run the 26.2-mile race on May 25, the London resident received donations from Australia, Britain and the Netherlands, as well as from around the United States.

“I had approximately 40 sponsors,” Cranham reported.

In addition to the money he raised to benefit CRYP, Cranham also experienced personal success on the race course. The first-time marathoner finished in four hours, 14 minutes.

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