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Winyan Toka Win Garden

  • Winyan Toka Win 1
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    Help CRYP Win a Wellmark Foundation Community Kickstarter Grant!

Help CRYP Win a Wellmark Foundation Community Kickstarter Grant!

This month, the Cheyenne River Youth Project is competing to win a $10,000 Wellmark Foundation Community Kickstarter grant. From now through October 7, members of the public can vote for CRYP’s grant project once per day at www.facebook.com/WellmarkBCBS.

To date, the Wellmark Foundation has received approximately 120 qualified applications. Although public voting is just one part of the overall scoring process, it demonstrates which projects have the most community support.

If CRYP wins, this grant funding will allow it to provide critical infrastructure for youth at the East Lincoln Street campus in Eagle Butte. For example, CRYP staff hope to build a greenhouse in the 2-acre, naturally grown Winyan Toka Win (Leading Lady) garden so they can jumpstart the all-too-short growing season in north-central South Dakota. Also on deck: the installation of new safety pads in the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center’s full-size gymnasium.

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July Hall of Fame: Lisa Littleton

When the Cheyenne River Youth Project first launched its innovative teen internship programs in 2014, its primary goal was to give Cheyenne River’s young people new opportunities to learn job and life skills that would serve them well into adulthood. That goal is now being realized, as some of their more experienced interns are entering the workforce with talent, ability and enthusiasm.

Lisa Littleton, 18, started attending CRYP’s programs in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, when she was a young child. Three years ago, she decided to tackle the first-ever Sustainable Agriculture internship. She served as a intern for three years, becoming intimately familiar with the youth project’s 2-acre Winyan Toka Win (Leading Lady) garden.

Then she heard CRYP needed a staff gardener for summer 2016. Lisa says it was an easy decision to apply for the job.

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    CRYP Hosts Garden Blessing, Launches 2016 Growing Season in Winyan Toka Win Garden

CRYP Hosts Garden Blessing, Launches 2016 Growing Season in Winyan Toka Win Garden

On Friday, May 6, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® formally blessed the 2-acre, naturally grown Winyan Toka Win (Leading Lady) garden for the 2016 growing season. Richard Charging Eagle conducted the garden blessing, and 12 young people joined staff members in planting corn for the season.

Next on deck: planting potatoes; getting the starter squash in and covering them with squash guards; and, once the garden’s landscape plan is complete, planting fruit trees and kiwi bushes along the fence at the end of Winyan Toka Win’s north-facing rows. There, they’ll receive plenty of sun and eventually will serve as a windbreak. A watering system will give each tree and bush a root well and drip line.

Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director, said staff and youth alike are eager to plant the fruit trees and bushes, which will be espaliered.

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Winyan Toka Win Garden Continues to Grow

This month, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® is closing out another successful growing season in its 2-acre, naturally grown Winyan Toka Win (“Leading Lady”) garden. Despite a few challenges, the garden is continuing to thrive and expand, thanks to a South Dakota Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant, a Native Agriculture and Food Systems grant, additional garden grants from Honor the Earth, Running Strong for American Indian Youth, the Wellmark Foundation and the J.R. Albert Foundation, and generous contributions from a variety of individual supporters.

In 2015, CRYP harvested thousands of pounds of crops that staff members can incorporate into daily youth meals and snacks, regular and specialty menu items in the Keya Cafe & Coffeehouse, and dried and canned food items for sale through the Keya Gift Shop. The 27-year-old youth project also has been able to hold its weekly Leading Lady Farmers Market throughout the summer and fall seasons, and it recently hosted more than 60 community members at its annual Harvest Festival dinner.

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3rd Annual Harvest Festival Dinner is This Friday!

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® will host its 3rd annual Harvest Festival dinner this Friday, September 25, at the Cokata Wiconi teen center in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. A community-wide celebration of a bountiful season in the 2-acre Winyan Toka Win garden, the Harvest Festival meal is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. and is open free to the public.

The evening’s festivities will include a large-scale community feed, board games, fun and fellowship. On the the menu: cucumber and tomato salad, melon salad, roast bison, harvest vegetables, veggie panini, peach and banana smoothies, and baked goods such as peach pie, chocolate zucchini cake and banana bread. Recipes will be available, and as always, CRYP staff and volunteers will incorporate fresh, nutritious, organically grown produce from the youth project’s 5-acre Winyan Toka Win garden into the various menu items.

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“Family Week” Programming Scheduled for Sept. 21-25

“When you give a little of yourself to a child, you give a little of yourself to their future,” More4Kids CEO Kevin Heath once noted. He also has advocated the importance of being a role model, advising, “If you want your kids to dream more, then dream more; to learn more, then learn more; to do more, then do more. Be their inspiration.”

To that end, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® has created a weeklong roster of special family-friendly events that staff and volunteers hope will encourage parents, extended family members and guardians on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation to spend quality time with their children. Family Week programming will take place Monday, September 21 through Friday, September 25. (The Harvest Festival dinner, pictured above, will conclude the week’s activities at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.)

“We have served the Cheyenne River community for nearly three decades, and in that time, we’ve learned that one of the best ways to care for our children is to support their families,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “We work hard to design programs and special events that bring families together, allow them to make precious memories, and encourage them to pursue a healthier lifestyle together.”

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    CRYP Receives $25K Grant from First Nations Development Institute

CRYP Receives $25K Grant from First Nations Development Institute

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has received a $25,000 Native Agriculture & Food Systems Grant from the Longmont, Colorado-based First Nations Development Institute. These funds will allow the nearly 27-year-old, not-for-profit youth organization to continue developing its Winyan Toka Win (“Leading Lady”) micro farm operation.

CRYP is one of nine tribes and Native American organizations to receive grants through the First Nations Development Institute’s Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative for the 2015-16 funding cycle. NAFSI is designed to help tribes and native communities build sustainable food systems such as community gardens and kitchens, traditional farms and ranches, and other agriculture- and food-related projects that will help eliminate food insecurity and enhance economic development in rural and reservation-based communities.

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July Hall of Fame: Khalid Garreau

When CRYP opened the doors to its Cokata Wiconi (“Center of Life”) teen center in August 2006, its mission went beyond simply providing a safe place for teens to socialize, enjoy meals and snacks, do homework, watch movies and play sports. The center also was designed to provide a venue for learning valuable job and life skills.

That vision became a reality with the CRYP internship programs. Today, nine years after Cokata Wiconi’s dedication, the youth project offers art internships as well as internships in the 2-acre, naturally grown Winyan Toka Win (“Leading Lady”) garden, in the Keya (“Turtle”) Gift Shop and in the farm-to-table Keya Cafe & Coffeeshop. And it turns out, the kids are as excited about their opportunities as we are.

Meet Khalid Garreau, a Rapid City, South Dakota-based teen who has family on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. The son of Sonny Wayne Garreau and Heather Taken Alive, Khalid was a frequent visitor to CRYP’s The Main youth center as a small child; he says the fun activities and interesting people always kept him coming back. Then he found out about the internship programs at Cokata Wiconi.

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Winyan Toka Win Garden Evolves Into Micro Farm

When the Cheyenne River Youth Project® first began its organic garden in 1999, staff members at the 26-year-old, not-for-profit youth organization scarcely could have imagined where that little garden would take them. Now, 16 years later, the thriving 2-acre Winyan Toka Win (“Leading Lady”) garden is the beating heart of the youth project — and it’s quickly becoming a veritable micro farm.

Today, sustainable agriculture at CRYP supports nutritious meals and snacks at the Main youth center for 4- to 12-year-olds and at the Cokata Wiconi teen center. It provides fresh ingredients for the farm-to-table Keya (“Turtle”) Cafe, and merchandise for the Keya Gift Shop and seasonal Leading Lady Farmers Market. To continue pursuing its long-term vision for the initiative, CRYP has invested in a new irrigation system, a garden redesign, and a composting system.

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“Thanks for Kids” Dinner Coming up on November 25

CRYP will be hosting a special Thanks for Kids Dinner for the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation community on Tuesday, November 25 at its Cokata Wiconi teen center. The free public meal and celebration will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the festively decorated Morgan Yellowhead Gymnasium.

Youth, their families, and all members of the community are invited to join CRYP staff and volunteers for a traditional holiday-inspired dinner. A visiting volunteer group from Wisconsin’s Marquette University High School will be assisting with preparing the buffet-style meal.

The youth project also has announced an exciting addition to this year’s festivities: They are extending a special invitation to Cheyenne River elders.

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