CRYP Launches 2017 Bike Club at The Main

For nearly three decades, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® has been dedicated to fostering wellness among the Cheyenne River Lakota reservation’s young people. And to Executive Director Julie Garreau and her staff, that means more than simply providing meals, snacks and safe spaces to learn and play—it means teaching children how to make healthier choices in every aspect of their lives.

To that end, the nonprofit youth organization is kicking off its annual Bike Club for the 4- to 12-year-olds who attend youth programming at The Main, CRYP’s youth center. The club officially starts meeting today, Apr. 24, and will meet every Monday and Thursday throughout the spring, summer and early fall months.

CRYP will provide bikes, helmets and pads for all participants. Its teen wellness interns will serve as the bike club’s instructors, teaching the younger children how to prep their bikes and educating them about bike safety.

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RedCan 2017: CRYP Releases New Details and Teaser Trailer

RedCan is rising: This summer, graffiti artists from around the world will converge once again in a small town on the South Dakota prairie for a groundbreaking, one-of-a-kind arts celebration: the third annual RedCan graffiti jam at the Cheyenne River Youth Project®. The nonprofit organization has just launched a new teaser trailer for RedCan 2017, available here on the CRYP website and on YouTube.

The RedCan gathering, scheduled for June 29-July 1 at CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Art Park and at sites throughout the Eagle Butte community, is unlike any other public graffiti event in the country. Here, on the remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Lakota reservation, graffiti culture and Lakota culture come together in an explosion of culture, artistic innovation and creativity, and multicultural fellowship.

Featured artists this year are Estria from Hawaii; East from Denver; Serval from Switzerland; Scribe from Kansas City, Missouri; Scape Martinez from San Francisco; Kazilla and ER from Miami; Dwayno Insano from Tucson, Arizona; and Biafra Inc., Cyfi and Wundr from Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

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CRYP Schedules Community Activities to Celebrate Earth Day

For the team at the Cheyenne River Youth Project®, a strong connection to the earth means a strong connection to traditional Lakota life ways, a critical component to holistic wellness and healing. That’s why Earth Day is a significant date on the CRYP calendar, and the nonprofit youth project is already gearing up for a weekend of special activities.

On Saturday, April 22, CRYP will host an eight-team, double-elimination basketball tournament for grades 6-8 in the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center’s full-size gymnasium. The tournament is a CRYP fundraiser, so all proceeds from the $10 entry fee will support youth programming and services; each team can have up to 10 players and must wear like-colored shirts or jerseys to participate in the competition, with medals and prizes for first through third place.

The tournament will incorporate half-time spectator challenges and raffle tickets for a 50/50 drawing. Doors open at 8:30 a.m., and the tournament will begin promptly at 9 a.m.

Also that day, CRYP will lead a series of special Earth Day activities. Starting at 8:30 a.m., CRYP will lead a “March for Science,” which focuses on the effects of global warming. Staff members also will lead a trash pick-up effort in the community, followed by a grill party outside The Main youth center on East Lincoln Street. These events are open free to the public, and guests of all ages will be able to participate in a variety of outdoor fitness and sports challenges.

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RedCan is a Final Nominee for the Robert E. Gard Award

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced that its RedCan graffiti jam is one of just 10 finalists for the prestigious Robert E. Gard Award this year. This award, which celebrates exemplary work at the intersection of the arts and community life, is one of seven national awards given out each year by Americans for the Arts.

“We’re honored that our RedCan graffiti jam is being considered for this award,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “We launched RedCan in 2015 as a way to expose our young people and our entire community to the world of graffiti and street art, and to provide them with new tools to explore their identity, share their stories, find their unique voice and pursue healing. We couldn’t have known how deeply this merging of Lakota culture and graffiti culture would resonate, nor how the event would grow in just two short years.”

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Nearly 70 Teens Attend Passion for Fashion in March

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced that 68 young Lakota women attended its annual Passion for Fashion event on Saturday, March 25. CRYP staff anticipate that another 20 to 30 teens will participate in the program this month, as the nonprofit organization is accepting individual appointments to look at dresses, shoes and accessories until Wednesday, May 3.

The highlight of this year’s Passion for Fashion was keynote speaker Cecilia FireThunder, the first woman to serve as president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. She spoke to the gathered Lakota teens about her personal journey and learning to walk in two worlds, finding the tools to function in both Lakota culture and contemporary society, taking care of themselves, and learning to say no.

“She was so honest and real with the girls,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “She spoke to them about being the leaders for the next generation, and the importance of taking care of their children and families. She also reminded them how powerful they are, advising them to always stand up for themselves, protect themselves and, most importantly, love themselves.”

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March Hall of Fame: Genevieve Iron Lightning

When the Cheyenne River Youth Project designed its innovative teen internship program, it created four distinct internship areas to appeal to a diverse range of interests. Yet staff members are discovering that many teens choose to participate in all of them. Once the kids start learning, it seems, they don’t want to stop.

Genevieve Iron Lightning, 16, is one of those kids. She has participated in all four internships—sustainable agriculture, social enterprise, art, and wellness—and she says she appreciates the many different skills she has acquired through those opportunities.

“In the Keya Cafe, I liked making drinks and stocking the pastries and desserts,” she recalls. “The social enterprise internship taught me a lot of customer service skills, like how to address people and deal with issues.

“I also liked learning about public speaking,” she says of her internship experiences at CRYP. “I’m very vocal already, so it’s helpful to learn how to really draw people into what you’re saying.”

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Sponsor a Birthday Celebration at The Main

In recent years, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® has garnered significant attention for innovative new initiatives like the RedCan graffiti jam, the Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Lakota Arts Institute, and the teen internship program. Yet the nonprofit organization’s perhaps most significant efforts actually take place in the littlest building on campus — The Main youth center.

Since 1988, The Main has been a positive, safe place for 4- to 12-year-olds to enjoy healthy meals and snacks, do their homework and play with friends. Over the years, programming has expanded to allow them to explore their creativity through arts and crafts; learn more about nutrition, fitness and other forms of wellness; and strengthen their connection to the earth and to their own Lakota life ways through the Winyan Toka Win (Leading Lady) garden.

“The Main provides our first opportunity to reach Cheyenne River’s young people,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “It gives us a chance to demonstrate to our kids that they can trust us to be there for them when they need us, and to give them what they need. We deeply care about our little Main, because our roots lie in that building. It’s how we started nearly three decades ago, and thanks to what we’ve done there, we’re now serving our second generation of children.”

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CRYP Hosts Cooking Classes for Kids of All Ages

This month, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® has invited children of all ages to participate in cooking classes at the nonprofit organization’s Eagle Butte campus. The younger children from The Main youth center were able to participate last Friday, March 10, while the teens have their night scheduled for this Wednesday, March 15.

Last Friday, the 4- to 12-year-olds who participate in activities at The Main were able to create their own homemade pizzas. The older children helped make the pizza dough while the younger ones participated in a “wellness hour,” then all the children finished the pizzas with their favorite ingredients and enjoyed a daily activity while the pies were in the oven. The older children served the pizza and called tables for everyone to be seated.

This Wednesday, youth programs assistants Wendell Nezzie and Danny Grassrope will host the teen cooking class at the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center. The event will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m., and it’s open free to any area teens who wish to attend.

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    CRYP Teaches Children to Grow Their Own Food Through Garden Club

CRYP Teaches Children to Grow Their Own Food Through Garden Club

Winter doesn’t stop the Cheyenne River Youth Project®. Although the growing season is still many weeks away, the nonprofit youth organization is already engaging children with the concepts of sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty—even the youngest children.

Last month, CRYP kicked off a new session of its Garden Club, inviting 4- to 12-year-olds who attend The Main youth center to learn more about gardening and healthy eating. From 4 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through April 1, these children will work on creating their own herb gardens, with classes scheduled both in The Main’s kitchen and in the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center’s classroom.

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    Cecilia FireThunder to be Keynote Speaker at This Year’s Passion for Fashion

Cecilia FireThunder to be Keynote Speaker at This Year’s Passion for Fashion

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced that Cecilia FireThunder, the first woman to serve as president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, will be keynote speaker at this year’s eagerly anticipated Passion for Fashion. The event is scheduled for 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 25 at the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center in Eagle Butte.

“We’re honored to welcome Cecilia FireThunder to our community and to our 2017 Passion for Fashion event,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “This event is all about lifting up our young Lakota women, in every aspect, from supporting their wellness to strengthening the connection to their culture. Cecilia has an impressive background in native health, wellness and education, with a particular emphasis on healing. We’re very much looking forward to giving our youth this opportunity to hear her speak.”

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