Summer has officially arrived for children on the Cheyenne River reservation in north-central South Dakota. The Cheyenne River Youth Project® in Eagle Butte has announced the start of summer hours at its Cokata Wiconi Teen Center and Billy Mills Youth Center, known affectionately as “The Main.” “Beginning Tuesday, May 31, The Main will be open daily from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.,” said Laure Lachaud, CRYP’s youth programs assistant. “Cokata Wiconi will be open 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Both will remain closed on Sundays.”
The week of May 31 also marks the return of two immensely popular summer programs for children ages 4-12 at The Main: Summer Literacy and Garden Club. Each summer, CRYP hosts two four-week Summer Literacy sessions. In each session, participating children each select four books to read and write book reports on their chosen titles. Older children work at their own pace, while volunteers assist the younger children. All children who complete the four-wee session may participate in a special event; past rewards have included sleepovers at The Main, dinner-and-a-movie field trips and, weather permitting, overnight camping trips along the Moreau River.
“We usually try to have at least two sessions of Summer Literacy each year,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “That way, kids who miss the first one can still join in the fun during the second session. We usually start the second session in early to mid-July, so we encourage parents to contact us for dates if they know their children might have to miss this first round.” CRYP created the Summer Literacy program years ago as a way to get children excited about reading and writing outside of school.